We are shocked and appalled with the violent manner the protesters were dispersed at the rally of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and their supporters in front of the US Embassy Wednesday afternoon.
It was pure insanity.
No amount of justification can cover up for the harsh and bloody breakup of the rally.
We will not condone these unjustifiable acts and we expect expeditious actions.
We put to task the ground commander of the police who failed to employ maximum restraint and pursue peaceful tact in dealing with the protesters.
We commiserate with all those who were hurt and wounded during the violent clash – protesters and policemen alike – which could have been prevented had cooler heads prevailed and reason reigned over heated passion.
It was not too long ago when leaders and delegation of similar mobilizations were even invited by no less than the president to a dialogue to his office.
As President Rodrigo Duterte proved in his State of the National Address when he invited protesters inside the House of Representative lounge for a tete-a-tete after no less than PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa personally meet with them outside the perimeter of Batasan Pambansa, non violent approaches and sincere dialogues are far superior approaches to legitimate dissent rather than vicious confrontations.
It is not the policy and character of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to use unnecessary and excessive force to deal with legitimate forms of dissent of the people.
It was unfortunate and reprehensible that police officers on the ground failed to distinguish legitimate forms of protests and appreciate the context, conditions and atmosphere prevailing.
We are in the process of finding lasting, just and principled peace to end the war in the countryside. Through the peace processes the Duterte administration is pursuing, we aim to address the issues behind these protests. It will be unfortunate if we will fail to achieve peace because of the propensity of others to use excessive force in dealing with dissent.
We demand immediate, thorough and impartial investigation. At the same time, we exhort protesters to be reminded that the government is addressing their issues. We call on them to also exercise restraint and refrain from provoking our policemen who, like them, also come from their own ranks. Lastly, let not this incident prevent us from pursuing our goal of achieving elusive peace in our motherland.###