In memory of Rebelyn Pitao on International Women’s Day 2009

Mar. 15, 2009

In memory of Rebelyn Pitao on International Women’s Day 2009

The news of the abduction, torture and killing of a 20-year-old teacher, Rebelyn Pitao, in the southern Philippines demonstrates just how low the regime of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has sunk.

Desperate to hang onto power, sensing a growing dissatisfaction with her rule among the Filipino people, and unable to come to grips with an armed liberation movement fighting for true justice and democracy, the Arroyo regime’s brutal military thugs have murdered another innocent civilian.

We are outraged and disgusted by this cowardly killing and point the finger directly at the Philippine President and the government. They are responsible, along with the government’s backers in Washington, Ottawa and other imperialist capitals.

When she left school in a tricycle cab on the evening of March 5, 2009, Rebelyn, the third child of Lencio Pitao, a guerrilla fighter in the New People’s Army wanted by the military, had no idea she would end up the next day a lifeless body in a creek having been raped and stabbed five times.

We imagine her smiling and laughing as she headed home for dinner in Bago Aplaya, Talomo, Davao City, before a white van blocked the way and two unidentified men, in full view of witnesses, shoved the young teacher, crying and shouting, into the vehicle.

After her daughter was abducted, Rebelyn’s mother appealed to the authorities saying her daughter is not involved with the armed option and revolutionary actions being undertaken by her father. When her appeal was unheeded and her daughter’s body was found, she blamed the military for the atrocity since only they could have had a motive for abducting her daughter. It was only last June, 2008 that Rebelyn’s uncle, Danilo, was also abducted and killed in Tagum City.

Luis Jalandoni, of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, likewise blamed the Arroyo government for the killing. In a statement, Jalandoni said, “We hold Mrs. Gloria Arroyo and Executive Secretary General Eduardo Ermita responsible for this dastardly violation of Rebelyn Pitao’s right to life.” Previously, the Special Rapporteur from the United Nations, Philip Alston, and the eminent judges of the Permanent People’s Tribunal also concluded that the Philippine military, the police and by extension their commander-in-chief, President Arroyo, are implicated in the hundreds of extra-judicial killings taking place in the Philippines.

Rebelyn’s death came just before International Women’s Day, a reminder that women are not safe and cannot expect justice from the government of Philippine President Arroyo. When civilians can be snatched from their everyday routines and eliminated, when the perpetrators can act in total impunity, then something is terribly, terribly wrong.

We invite you to join the international campaign to put an end to the now almost 1000 killings in the Philippines since 2001. The injustice and impunity must stop now.

Stop the killings in the Philippines!

Justice for Rebelyn Pitao!

Bring to justice immediately the perpetrators of the killings in the Philippines !

For reference:

Philippine Solidarity Network Canada

(with member groups in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria)

for more information:

Centre d’appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC)

25 ans de solidarit / 25 years of solidarity

6420 Victoria Avenue, Suite #9,

Montral, Qubec, Canada

H3W 2S7

Tel: +1 514 342-2111

Member – International League of Peoples’ Struggle / La ligue international de luttes des peuples (ILPS)

Associate member – International Migrants’ Alliance / Alliance internationale des migrants (IMA)

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