State violence against Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro in the name of the surrender campaign, no different from the experiences of hundreds of thousands of civilians coerced to surrender in Bikol and the entire country
National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)’s own arrogance and desperation blinded them to fall flat on their own lies and become subjects of public ridicule and ire. During their very own press conference where they attempted to parade two youth fisherfolk organizers from Bulacan as surrenderees, Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro declared that they were abducted and tortured and did not ‘voluntarily surrender’.
Now, NTF-ELCAC and other forces of fascism hurries to contain the damage on their already shoddy reputation. But they will find it difficult to control the fire. Jhed and Jonila’s fierce statements set off another spark to the long blazing awareness of the Filipino people of the reactionary government’s surrender campaign’s true forms – it is nothing but a senseless, anti-people and repressive profit scheme for those in power and shamelessly targets civilians as pawns for their dirty propaganda and smear campaign against the revolution.
What the two endured are no different from the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of civilians, progressives and activists threatened, harassed, abducted and deceived in the name of fake and bloated data that the government can show off. Rampant human rights violations especially civilian rights are what’s behind the figures the NTF-ELCAC boasts to the public. In Bikol as well as other parts of the country, the masses have repeatedly exposed the non-stop threats and coercion that the military, police and even some local government officials do to them even though they face no crimes.
Jhed and Jonila’s decision to speak up even amidst intense pressure and threats to their lives is noteworthy. Their exposition of the abuses they suffered also serve for all the other victims of the massively repressive forced surrender campaign. This is an inspiration and challenge to the others to bare their own experiences publicly, overcome fear caused by state violence, repudiate and frustrate the surrender campaign and anti-people’s war of this reactionary government.
True to their terrorist nature, the disgraced NTF-ELCAC and fascist state will surely find ways to take revenge. But the masses have nothing to fear if they are united. NDF-Bikol calls on the entire nation to fortify their unity, be ever vigilant and ready to defend their rights against all attempts of agents of fascism to infringe these. It is only just to support Jhed, Jonila and all the other numerous victims of state violence in every way possible. At a time when the state itself attacks the rights of its citizens, it is everyone’s right and duty to fight and defend the people’s ranks.