The Duterte government continues its war on peasants with the arrest of murdered Anakpawis Chairman Randy Echanis’ daughter, Amanda Echanis. Amanda was arrested with her one-month old baby during a military-police raid in Cagayan, on trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms/explosives.
Dozens of activists have been arrested in the past two years on virtually identical charges, listing virtually identical weapons. Duterte seems determined to perform a miracle. Rather than feeding 5000 people with loaves and fish, he plans to arrest 5000 using one M16 and two grenades.
Cagayan is increasingly the target of political repression, with 6 extra-judicial killings and more than 20 political prisoners under Duterte. With the passage of the Anti-Terror Law, we can expect state violence to spread from the focal points in Mindanao and Visayas, to cover the whole of the Philippine nation.
We join the call from Anakpawis for the immediate and unconditional release of Amanda Echanis on humanitarian grounds. Only two months after the death of baby River, separated from her unjustly imprisoned mother Reina Mae Nasino, the government risks the death of another infant due to its rabid persecution of activists serving the poor and peasants.