Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) marched on the United States embassy on the anniversary of People Power before joining other progressive groups at EDSA. The urban poor group led a contingent of thousands that assailed the All-out war and Drug war which they say has invoked Marcosian policies and gained ground because of its backing from the United States government.
KADAMAY says that poor Filipinos and their aspirations for genuine change will bear the brunt of these attacks on the people which has wasted no time in clicking into gear especially with the cancellation of the peace talks and the military’s ceasefire. The group added that both the All-out war and the drug war are becoming virtually indistinguishable as tools for militarization, violently asserting the administration’s power, punishing administration critics and activists.
Carlito Badion, KADAMAY Secretary General said that “Duterte is taking his cue from his newfound friend, Donald Trump. His disgust of American interventionism is apparently only directed at former President Obama and not the policies and militarism they will continue to push for under the Trump administration. Duterte has given the go signal for more than 200 joint military exercises with US troops, along with the Balikatan.”
He added that “All-out war under Oplan Kapayapaan is once again based and supported by counter-insurgency principles of the United States. It echoes the same kind of tactics and targets that inevitably results in human rights violations and state terror. The peace talks should continue. Any Filipino would rather have peace than violence and chaos, the Duterte regime unfortunately feels otherwise. “
Since the cancellation of the Peace Talks a few weeks ago, there have been 19 activists arrested and 9 murdered. Formations of the AFP have also been engaged in purported anti-drug operations throughout the country. There have been reports of military formations using the drug war for occupying communities and targeting progressive community leaders.
The group cited the cases of Isabela and Bukidnon, wherein anti-Drug Operations have been used for intelligence, harassment of locals and setting up bases in communities. Bukidnon’s 8th infantry battalion has even gone so far as to setup the Duterte Drug Squad Movement (DDSM).
“Dalawa lang naman ang pangakong tinutupad ni Duterte ngayon, Gera Kontra-Droga at pagpanig sa mga Marcos. Parehong perwisyo at pasakit sa taumbayan. Ilang dekada matapos ang People Power, nariyan pa rin ang mga senyales ng panunumbalik ng Martial Law. Mga mahihirap na Pilipino ang kawawa at puntirya dito. Ang pulis at militar ni Duterte ang mga tunay na kriminal at adik sa karahasan,” explained Badion.
There have been 7,000 casualties of the drug war, most have come from the urban poor sector and includes activists as well. Badion says that the drug war and Oplan Kapayapaan have been overlapping in a ‘war against the poor and those fighting for the poor.’ ###