/ 29 July 2021

SEVERAL youth groups denounced the killing of two activists in Albay who allegedly shot the policemen who caught them spray-painting a public property with a protest slogan.

Defend Bicol Stop The Attacks Network identified the victims as Jemar Palero from Organisasyon ng mga Magsasaka sa Albay and Marlon Naperi of Albay People’s Organization.

The two were reportedly painting “DUTERTE IBAGS” when police shot them in Banao Bridge along Maharlika Highway last Monday.

Maj. Joseph Jarabejo of the Guinobatan Municipal Police Station said that Palero and Naperi fired on the police, prompting them to fight back.

Jarabejo said they recovered one caliber .45 gun, one .38 revolver, an unregistered motorcycle, and empty slugs.

“The brutal and unjustified killings of Palero and Naperi just hours before Duterte’s last SONA only prove how desperate the regime is to silence the people’s call and a testament of how deadly Duterte’s shoot-them-dead order is,” said Youth Act Now Against Tyranny-Bicol spokesperson Justine Mesias.

“The call to oust Duterte is a legitimate call of the Bicolano people because of his 5 years of criminal negligence and fascist rule especially in the region where intensified militarization continues to ravage peasant communities, drenching their lands with the blood of innocent peasant civilians,” he added.

Mesias refuted the “nanlaban narrative,” stressing that such reports only justify the killings of the Filipino people.

“We are tired and fed up with police’s lies and deception! How can they claim the ‘nanlaban’ narrative when Jomar and Marlon were only holding spray-paints?” he said.

“We are all Jemar and Marlon who are frustrated and angry over the indifference of Duterte to the calls of the poor and the oppressed, and thus we resort to ways for our calls to be heard such as through graffiti and protest arts. Whatever platform we use to register our dissent, be it graffiti, joining rallies, writing, theatre, social media, etc. we are vulnerable to state fascism and terrorism,” he added.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines lamented that “Duterte answered the people’s dissent with violence.”

“CEGP vehemently condemns this brazen attack on human rights and against activists. We reiterate that heeding the people’s demands for their right to land, education, and public services is the way the government should respond to their calls. We call for justice for the death of the two activists and all victims of this fascist regime,” it said.