Sunday, March 13, 2005

NR0313: Priest gunned down in Tarlac

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 13, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Another Hacienda Luisita sympathizer killed: Priest William Tadena gunned down in Lapaz Tarlac; Rep. Beltran denounces Govt for inaction on military's political killings

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that that since January, 13 civilians, members of peasant organizations in Central Luzon have been killed since February 18 and the perpetrators are strongly suspected of being from the military, belonging to the 56th Infantry Battalion, 24th IB, 48th IB, 69th IB and elements of the Citizens Armed Forces Group or CAFGU.

Among those killed in Bulacan are Roger Viray, 42, vice-president of the fisherfolk group PAMALAKAYA; Rodel Pelayo, 30 years old, and Joey Abraham, 28, both members of the Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA); Renato Espino, 40, a worker and Anakpawis Coordinator; Rodrigo Lampa, another Bayan Muna coordinator; Noel Garcia, 40 and his father Nicanor Garcia, 60, both members of peasant groups under the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). Only recently, Tarlac councilor Abelardo Ladera was gunned down. He was a supporter of the HLI strike.

Just this afternoon, a priest actively supportive of the struggle of striking farmworkers and workers of Hacienda Luisita was gunned down. Fr. William Tadena was killed in Lapaz, Tarlac. According to initial reports, Fr. Tadena suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the head and the head. Two of his companions were also hurt in the shooting.

"The Macapagal-Arroyo administration should take full responsibility for these killings. By ignoring the reports of the mounting number of murders, it is abetting the cold-blooded assassination of civilians and activists. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the CAFGU have brought hell on earth in Central Luzon, the same way they are wreaking havoc in the lives of civilians in other regions. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration's silence on this killings is contemptible," he said.

Beltran said that the administration keeps pushing the Philippine National Police and the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force (NAKTAF) to capture notorious kidnappers and crush kidnap-for-ransom groups, but it's not lifting a finger to stop the AFP from butchering civilians.

"The AFP is killing non-combatants, civilians and activists left and right because they think they're finding it hard to defeat the New People's Army. It's the brutal tactic of the AFP to slap the label "NPA" on civilians supporting activist ideals - worker and peasant rights, human rights advocacy, patriotism - and kill them to project the image that it is winning the war against the NPA whom it also libels as a terrorist group," he said.

The veteran labor leader said that the Malacanang continues to push for the passage of an anti-terrorism law and a national ID system as further means to crush political dissent. "There are blatant signs that the administration is stepping up its political repression campaign, and even developing into an outright fascist state. Using the catchphrase "anti-terrorism," the government is putting together a more efficient and comprehensive system of silencing its critics and opponents, particularly those who denounce the administration's economic policies and political compromises that attack the welfare of the poor and working people," he said.#


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