Sara Duterte steps up drive vs leftist party-list groups

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Tuesday, October  23, stepped up her campaign against party-list groups under the leftist Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, as she urged voters not to support them in the May 2019 elections.

Duterte issued the call following a roadblock of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Barangay Lasang in Bunawan district here on Monday which, she said, "was an example of how these groups intend to govern should they be given the power to lead our government and the country."

“They terrorize, engender lawlessness, create confusion, disrespect fellow human beings, put lives in danger, and disregard any authority altogether,” she said in a statement.

Duterte said voters should "be reminded of what happened yesterday and the previous incidents involving these militant groups" when they go to their polling precincts in May.

"Do not support the party-list groups under the Makabayan bloc – these are Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers or ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, and Migrante," she added.

The roadblock had stalled traffic in the Lasang section of the Davao City-Panabo City highway for several hours.

KMU said, however, that it was not at fault. It said at least 600 banana plantation workers and peasants from Compostela Valley were headed for the city when they were barred by Task Force Davao.

Paul John Dizon, chairman of  KMU affiliate Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (Namasufa), said the workers and peasants were on 6 buses headed to Davao City for a dialogue with the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) but they were barred from entering for no apparent reason.

Namasufa had been protesting what it called the continued refusal Japanese banana firm Sumifru to forge negotiations for a collective barganing agreement with workers in its plantation in Compostela town in Compostela Valley. 

About two weeks ago, Namasufa members clashed with pro-Sumifru workers in Compostela, which left at least 7 protesters injured. DOLE stepped in to resolve the labor problem on the 2,000-hectare banana plantation. (READ: AFP sends soldiers to 'prevent chaos' at Japanese-owned banana plantation)

Dizon said they staged the barricade after soldiers stopped them from entering the city but Duterte said the roadblock caused "extreme inconvenience" to the public. She lauded TF Davao, the police, and Lasang residents "for showing these groups the lunacy of their act."

“(That) was the reason why they get no support from the Dabawenyos. We all know now that these militant groups, who masquerade themselves as pro-people, only want to sow hostility and chaos, especially to those who reject them and the terrorist groups they support – the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),” she said. 

Duterte made her latest tirade against militant party-list groups two weeks after she called on Congress to expel members of the Makabayan bloc.  – Rappler.com