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KMU-SMR Secretary General Threatened

by Pesante-USA Thursday, Sep. 14, 2006 at 12:34 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Kilusang Mayo Uno¡VSouthern Mindanao Region secretary general Omar Bantayan received threats to his life as he was about to leave his residence at around 10:00 this morning. Bantayan was on his way to a meeting when three unidentified men were seen surveilling his residence in Brgy. Ubalde, R.Castillo. Bantayan was with a companion who went out first and was the one to notice two men standing some feet away on either side the gate. The third man was posted at the corner of the street about 20 meters away. The companion also spotted a bulge around the waist of one of the men. He surmised it could only be a firearm as the latter moved his hand toward it when Bantayan came out of their gate.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)

Tagapamandila Ng Tunay Na Unyonismo

22B Aala Bldg, Anda St , Davao City Tel (63082)305.4962 kmusmr@yahoo.com





PRESS RELEASE

September 12, 2006



KMU-SMR secretary general gets threat to life

Kilusang Mayo Uno¡VSouthern Mindanao Region secretary general Omar Bantayan received threats to his life as he was about to leave his residence at around 10:00 this morning.

Bantayan was on his way to a meeting when three unidentified men were seen surveilling his residence in Brgy. Ubalde, R.Castillo. Bantayan was with a companion who went out first and was the one to notice two men standing some feet away on either side the gate. The third man was posted at the corner of the street about 20 meters away. The companion also spotted a bulge around the waist of one of the men. He surmised it could only be a firearm as the latter moved his hand toward it when Bantayan came out of their gate.

Alarmed with the presence of the men, some neighbors came to the Bantayan residence and confirmed that the three were not from their barangay. One neighbor also confirmed that the men were tucking guns around their waists. Some ten to fifteen minutes later, the two men in front of the house moved toward a small store about ten meters away and later retreated to the corner where the third man was.

When other neighbors began to come out of their homes, the three men moved away. Immediately, one neighbor offered a ride for Bantayan and his companion as the unidentified men left the vicinity. The neighbors were aware of Bantayan's active leadership in the trade union and mass movement and sure that the three men were after him. "Had they gotten the chance," said his companion, "who knows what they could have done since initially, there were no one around."

Bantayan is among the "Davao 8," coined for eight leaders of progressive mass organizations and partylists in Davao City whom the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group linked with Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador in his rebellion charges.

Asked who the perpetrators could be, Bantayan said, "We know of only two possible scoundrels in alliance who will stand to benefit from this widespread political terrorism. On one hand, the fascist Gloria Arroyo and her dogs from the Armed Forces of the Philippines have the motives to terrorize leaders and members of progressive organizations critical of her illegitimate administration. The modus operandi can only point to the pattern being carried out by her ruthless Oplan Bantay Laya.

"On the other, the AFP and its paramilitaries are notorious in their mercenary tradition in coalescing with profit-hungry capitalists to decimate the morale of struggling workers by killing their leaders and members," he said. A number of KMU-SMR's local unions, which Bantayan regularly frequents, are currently staging strikes and other mobilizations against their capitalist employers to assert their rights for wages, job security and labor rights.

This is the second case of threats and harassments perpetrated by unidentified men believed to be members of the AFP against mass leaders in Davao City . In August 17, the house of peasant leader and AnakPawis Vice President for Mindanao Antonio "Ka Tonying" Flores was ransacked by armed men. Other mass leaders continue to experience surveillance in their houses and offices.

"We greatly condemn these intensified threats by the Arroyo administration and the AFP in cahoots with capitalists against our leaders," KMU-SMR Chair Romualdo Basilio said. "This only shows the fascist character of Arroyo because in her narrow dictionary, all those who oppose her, all those who are against her subservience to imperialist America, and all those who are fighting for democracy are considered terrorists and must be wiped out. This is the policy that Arroyo is peddling to Filipinos in lieu of economic relief and resolution to the harassments and political killings of activists."##

For reference: Nelson Bautista, Media Officer 0918.649.5881

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