MANILA – Last Sunday’s bloodbath in the four provinces of the Southern Tagalog that resulted in the killing of nine activists and arrests of three has brought to fore how this region has been one of the targets of the government’s counterinsurgency program.
Under the Duterte administration, the Southern Tagalog was among the regions placed under intensified military operations, per Memorandum Order No. 32. The Communist Party of the Philippines, in its statement in December, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines, along with the Philippine police, created 27 new maneuvers battalions and concentrated its forces in eight regions, including Southern Tagalog.
It did not help that early in 2020, General Antonio Parlade Jr. was appointed to head the Southern Luzon Command, which covers the regions of Calabarzon, Bicol, and the island provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque, and Romblon. While he is known for his online posts red-tagging and threatening many activists and government critics, the Philippine Army’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) has also carried out deadly attacks on communities rising to demand better lives and future.
Bulatlat looks back on Parlade’s bloody rule in Southern Luzon.
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Text by Janess Ann J. Ellao
Graphics by Dawn Cecilia Peña