Sunday, March 20, 2005

NR0319:Regional press under fire for covering leftist groups

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 19, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Military taking "Take no prisoners" attitude when it
comes to attacking progressive party-lists; provincial media warned against covering activities of militant groups - Rep. Beltran

In the light of the rcent killings of activists and members of progressive party-lists, Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today led the opening of Anakpawis first' National Council(NC) meeting for the year in Quezon City, where some 50 of Anakpawis' national leaders representing Anakpawis provincial and regional chapters are attending. As of last count, three Anakpawis members have been killed in the last week, the last being Victor "Tata Ben" Concepcion, 66, Anakpawis municipal coordinator in Pampanga.

"This is already an emergency situation for Anakpawis and its sister political parties, namely Bayan Muna and Gabriela W omen's Party. There are reports pouring in from all over the country regarding the campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to track down and liquidate not only provincial and regional coordinators and party officials, but even rank and file members of the party," he said. "The military appears to be adopting a "take no prisoners" attitude when it comes to attacking Anakpawis and sister parties - they mean business, and it 's loaded guns that are conducting the work for them."

Anakpawis has 400,000 card-carrying members all over the country and, Beltran said, it's not an exaggeration to say that all these members are potential targets of the AFP's liquidation campaign. "Already, our regional and provincial coordinators are receiving death threats, and our various headquarters are the subject of stake-outs of the military," he said.

The veteran labor leader said that in the provinces, it's much easier to pinpoint the military. "They have detachments and precincts everywhere. The AFP have established more detachments than the Philippine National Police (PNP), and in many areas, they have even seized control and jurisdiction away from the PNP when it comes to civilian and public security," he said.

Beltran also said that there were also reports coming in that regional and provincial radio stations and local newspapers were being pressured by the AFP to stop interviewing members of militant groups, including the party-lists. "This, I assume, on pain of death for the journalists who dare to stand up to the gag order the military is imposing," he said. "The media coverage of the protest rallies and political stands being issued by the progressive groups is slowly being throttled, and journalists are being warned against getting the side of the militants when it comes to crucial economic and political issues of the day such as the value added tax, the oil price hikes, and the continuous Balikatan exercises," he said.#


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