Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) welcomes UN Special Rapporteur Irene Khan’s recommendations to the Philippine government after her 10-day country visit to investigate the status of freedom of expression in our country.
We unequivocally support her position to abolish the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which has made the prospect of just and lasting peace impossible due to its relentless red-tagging, vicious smear campaigns that preluded attacks on civilians and activists.
Even amidst the task force’s supposed rebrand towards promoting “unity, peace, and development,” we remain steadfast that the operations of such a rotten agency with an anti-people framework should be finally put to stop. The “transition” is an attempt to cleanse the task force’s image, now that Ms Khan called it “outdated and obsolete” in the wake of peace negotiations.
We also welcome her view that the Anti-Terror Law has led to abuse of power, as many of our workers and labor leaders have been subject to harassment, forced disaffiliations, espionage, arrests, and even killings all traceable to said legislation.
We are pleased that UNSR Irene Khan brought the issue of civilians being unjustly incarcerated to light. In the labor sector, some examples are the cases of Maoj Maga, Steve Mendoza, Adelberto Silva, and countless others who simply advocated for decent work, higher wages, and other workers’ rights.
We thank the honorable UNSR Irene Khan for welcoming us to discuss with her our situation during her time here in Manila. We hope for continued support in the fight for our freedom of expression and against all forces that pose a threat to it.
We call on all peace-loving Filipinos and citizens of the world to intensify our protests against those who seek to diminish our freedom of expression. We must continue to rally in defense of our rights amid increasing global support for their protection.