Students from the Far Eastern University (FEU) condemned the killings of at least nine activists and arrest of seven others in a series of raids conducted by police in Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, and Cavite provinces.
The crackdown came two days after President Rodrigo Duterte told state forces to “kill” and “finish off” communist rebels in an encounter.
In a statement Sunday, March 7, FEU Central Student Organization decried the existing red-tagging and “inhumane treatment” of the critics of the government.
“We strongly condemn such attacks against activists, human rights defenders, and progressives. Activists were questionably arrested from their homes in this state sponsored crackdown in difference places in Southern Tagalog,” its statement read.
“This government has heartlessly desensitized not just human rights but also human lives. Instead of targeting the root causes of the systemic problems in the country. they have chosen to terrorize anyone who goes against their oppressive practices,” it further read.
Among those killed were BAYAN-Cavite Secretary General Manny Asuncion; fisherfolk leaders Chai Lemita-Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista; and Michael Dasigao and Mark Lee Coros Bacasno of urban poor group Sikkad Montalban, according to human rights group Karaptan.
Meanwhile, those arrested included labor leader Steve Mendoza, Kilusang Mayo Uno-Ulalia spokesperson Elizabeth “Mags” Camoral, Karapatan paralegal Nimfa Lanzanas, and Eugene Eugenio of COURAGE-Rizal.