2006 Worst Year for Human Rights in Davao Regions — 6. Curtailing Civil Liberties

Dec. 03, 2006

6. Curtailing Civil Liberties

The Arroyo administration has been trying to curtail civil liberties since last year when its crisis of legitimacy reached a breaking point dividing the nation and almost toppling it from power. Clinging to power by the skin of its teeth, the Arroyo regime issued successive repressive orders by the second half of the year.

To curtail the freedom of assembly and halt the increasing tide of protest actions calling for its ouster, it enforced the Calibrated Preemptive Response policy. It issued a gag order on government officials, Executive Order 464, to neutralize Senate and House investigations looking into corruption and electoral fraud cases involving the Arroyo administration. It pushed for the National Identification System to tighten its watch on the population especially on those opposed to the regime.

The declaration of a state of national emergency, through PP1017, completed the return to martial rule. Copied from Proclamation 1081 of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, PP1017 ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all decrees, orders, and regulations It issued General Order no.5, which empowered the government to take over any institution in the interest of national security.

The Regional Offices of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) and KARAPATAN base here in Davao City is under constant surveillance. Unidentified persons lobbed grenade at the office of Anakpawis in Kidapawan, North Cotabato.

The militant leaders also observed being surveyed by the state agents. Peasant leaders in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur were harassed by the military elements and are constantly monitored on their whereabouts especially during the red dates mobilization in Davao City.

Continue reading: The People’s Response

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