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Activists demand end to Philippines death squads

Published Jun 24, 2006 8:41 AM
WW photo: Dave Schecter

On June 14, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) staged a protest in front of the Philippine Consulate in Manhattan denouncing the rise in death squads targeting activists and critics of the Arroyo regime.

The most recent killings include Manny De Los Santos, a BAYAN peasant leader from Nueva Ecija, on June 11 by two uniden tified armed assailants riding a motorcycle. BAYAN MUNA representatives Noli Capulong and Sotero Llamas were also assassinated in June. A new report by BAYAN tallies over 70 killings in 2006 alone.

During the protest, four members of the Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC), of which BAYAN is a member organization, entered the consulate to confront Consul General Cecilia Rebong and Permanent Philippine Representative to the United Nations Laurel Baja over the significant escalation of political killings in the Philippines.

The encounter stretched to an anxiety-filled three hour meeting with Rebong and Consul Ed Badajos as the four protesters also put forth demands such as the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Philippines, withdrawal of the multi-million-dollar U.S. military aid package funding the Arroyo regime, and the release of Philip pine Congressperson Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis, an outspoken Arroyo critic, from illegal detainment.

During the protest and meeting, pictures of slain BAYAN leaders and a miniature black coffin blocked the consulate’s window display.

—Dustin Langley