The Assert Socio-Economic Initiative Network in the Philippines (ASCENT) condemns the violent dispersal of national minorities committed in the Philippines by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the morning of October 19, 2016.
The right to self determination is guaranteed under International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and, as such, should be enjoyed by national minorities in the country. Their call for an independent government foreign policy free from external intervention is an expression of the support not only for national minorities but also to the government’s attempts to steer a course for the country that is free from agreements and treaties that are detrimental to the Filipino people.
Yet this call by national minorities for self determination and against foreign intervention was met harshly by State security forces. Unnecessary force was used against protesters and lives were endangered because ranking police officials would rather place greater importance to protecting the seal and embassy of a foreign country rather than the lives of the citizens they have sworn to serve and protect.
We laud the government’s initiative to temporarily relieve nine (9) police officials who were involved in the said incident, yet ASCENT believes this is not enough. State agents responsible for the bloody clash must be held accountable and justice for the national minorities should be served.
ASCENT and its member organizations have for years worked with different national minority groups in implementing development projects that uphold their right to self determination. ASCENT continues to support this call of national minorities, as well as the push for an independent foreign policy so that the Filipino people may be truly free to chart their own course for development. ###
Renmin Crisanta Vizconde