November 22nd, 2023 marks five years since former president Rodrigo Duterte declared Memorandum Order 32 (MO32) and which is upheld to this day under current president Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, all under the guise of curbing “lawless violence”. This has allowed the government to put the areas of Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Bicol under a ‘state of emergency’.
MO32 is known as the “act to attack activists” as it allows ever increasing militarized police and as well as the military into these areas. Under this de facto martial law, there have been intimidation of rights defenders and civil society, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, bombings, and the red-tagging of peasants and activists. MO32, which gave almost complete immunity to any aggression and violation committed by the police and AFP was signed almost in tandem with Executive Order 70 (EO70) which gave rise to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
These declarations have made many of these regions hotspots for human rights violations. Within Negros Occidental alone in 2022, there were at least 81 deaths attributed to the AFP and the PNP, under the auspices of the NTF-ELCAC. MO32 is used as a weapon against the peasants and activists in their struggle for real land reform and true national democracy. Yet no amount of red tagging, harassment, and violence done by government forces against people resisting and organizing will stop the people of the Philippines from fighting for their own liberation.
CPSO stands in with the masses organizing and fighting back against these oppressive measures from a reactionary government determined to crush any resistance to the exploitation of the Philippines by foreign capitalists and their local comprador allies.
It is of utmost importance that we in the imperialist core stand with the Filipino masses in their fight against the US-Marcos regime, in order to overthrow a system rotten to its core, and establish a genuinely democratic and just system to achieve lasting peace.