November 6, 2019

Solidarity: Affirming our commitment to serve the people and our planet

The recent wave of police arrests of activists and raids of their offices, combined with the military’s red-tagging of several development organizations, are cause for alarm for the civil society community in the Philippines as these indicate a broadening climate of government oppression across the country.

The arrest of three activists during a raid in Tondo, Manila past midnight on Tuesday, November 5, under allegations that the groups are in possession of firearms, highlights a trend of political harassment grounded on the suppression of people’s rights and freedoms.

Among those arrested was Ram Bautista, a grassroots organizer and anti-coal advocate who was part of the community calling for the closure and removal of Rock Energy International Corporation’s coal stockpile facility just across Happyland, Barangay 105 in Tondo, Manila.

These acts of political persecution do more harm than good as it stalls the delivery of assistance that these organizations render to the marginalized sectors they are serving. Community organizers and development workers should be able to do their work without fear of harm or persecution.

We stand in solidarity with activists, environmental defenders, grassroot community organizers who continue to live the value of democracy and continue to work with the most vulnerable groups and communities, despite threats of intimidation and violence. Amidst this political climate, we remain steadfast in our commitment to serve the people and our planet, to work for climate justice, to strive to reflect our fundamental respect for democratic principles and to seek solutions that promote global social equity.