“Our struggle isn’t distinct from the struggles of the nation” was a line he would often say during mobilizations, “which is why the working class must always rise up in solidarity with the rest of the nation.”
“Unionists are not terrorists. Terrorists do not fight for wages, decent conditions, and workers’ rights. Terrorists are those who intimidate, arrest, and kill people who stand up for justice and the common good.”
PAMANTIK-KMU has stated before that the Duterte administration is specifically targeting labor activists and unionists. These attacks, the group claims, intensified since the start of lockdown due to COVID-19 on March 17, 2020.
“How can [the judiciary] distance themselves [from the police action] if they themselves signed the documents used to make the operations seem legitimate?” – Defend Southern Tagalog
Manny Asuncion was the very definition of an organizer: patient with the masses, always willing to serve the people, and filled with righteous anger against injustice.
“Civilians must be treated humanely in all circumstances. They must be protected against all forms of violence and degrading treatment including murder and torture.”
The stories in Sitio Compra and Sitio Buntog share many sad parallels. They are both stories of land-use conversion and violence against the nation’s dwindling agricultural communities. While peasants clamor for land reform, the Philippine government has deemed land-use conversion by large corporations as an acceptable substitute.
“The only thing we can pass on to our children is our land. We already lost everything else. We have nothing left to lose. Why should we be afraid?”
“Although Vilma Salabao’s remains have been released, this does not absolve the AFP and PNP’s barbarity.”
Farmers in Buntog have been struggling for decades to assert their rights to the land, which they and their ancestors have lived in since 1911.
“Is [Año] justifying the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and PNP’s [Philippine National Police] massacre of five farm workers and caretakers? The mutilated genitals and broken fingers of Jhonatan and Niño Alberga? Is he justifying how the PNP Baras and the AFP’s 2nd Infantry Division are fermenting Vilma Salabao’s remains and continued refusal to turn them over to her family after three weeks, seven requests, and superficial requirements?” the group asked.