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Bayan Negros slams Israel Ambassadors’ visit

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Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson and other elected officials have bared their complicity to the ongoing genocide at Gaza by welcoming with open arms Israel Embassy ambassador Ilan Fluss during a courtesy visit last June 4 in Bacolod City, a press release from Bayan Negros said.

Governor Lacson, who chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council in Western Visayas, has since been vocal about its unrelenting support of the bogus programs of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). As in the apartheid state of Israel, Negros also faces a government equipped by United States arms to displace, bomb, and massacre whole communities in the guise of fighting off “rebels”.

Amidst the IDF’s continuous bombing of the Rafah refugee camp, US Blackhawk aircraft manned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines also bombed rural communities in Escalante earlier this month, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate and damaging crops and the environment. The area has since been cordoned off and underwent strict military encirclement, the statement said.

In many instances, like during the state-sanctioned murder of the Fausto family in June last year, Lacson himself affirms the military’s white-washed narratives which transfer blame to supposed rebels in the state forces’ own massacre of civilians. Akin to Israel alleging Hamas using civilians as shields and fabricating stories of rebels committing violence against children, the NTF-ELCAC falsifies encounters with the NPA to justify their attacks on innocent and unarmed farmers, workers and activists. Rebellion and terrorism, for them, are boogeymen to continue hamletting and militarizing rural communities to pave way for predatory incursions by foreign and local compradors.

The Israeli envoy also was audacious enough to plead with attending officials to send in Filipino workers to Israel. They did not even disguise their intent at harvesting cheap labor from us.

Governor Lacson claims to have been deeply sorry for the death of Negrense OFW Loreta Alacre in Israel, and yet does not seem to see that such death is enabled by the labor export policy imposed on us by US and its allies.

Last March, Governor Lacson chaired the committee that approved the stable internal peace and security (SIPS) status of Negros Occidental and now awaits approval of Pres. Marcos. Local officials and the military all hasten to declare this to further attract investors and paint an illusion of stability in the province.

The press release comments that with the passage of Negros Island Region bill in senate, local landlords and compradors are salivating over prospects of letting in neoliberal projects, privatizing basic services, and building eco-tourism infrastructures that will displace farmers and indigenous peoples. This makes it deeply sinister that the Israeli envoy held a symposium on supposed Israeli innovations on agriculture.

Who are they to discuss with our local officials on the subject, other than to speak of so-called “innovations” on waging war in their conquest for land and resources? Our farmers have yet to recover from the El Niño, and now our provincial government is opening the door for Israel’s opportunism. There is no use appealing to the “moral conscience” of these leaders, as if shaking hands with the Israeli ambassador was merely an act of diplomacy. These leaders, including Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer and Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez, conscientiously approve of the bombings and the murder of our own fellow Negrenses in the name of maintaining the bloody status quo of landlessness and subservience to US interests, the group stressed.

The biggest expression of our solidarity with the Palestinian people as Negrenses is to weaken US hegemony in our province and our country. We must become actively part of the broader mass movement that struggles toward genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization – the triumph of which is a big stake at the heart of the empire.

As we call on the immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, we must also call to stop the bombings and an end to the militarization of rural communities in Negros. In Gaza and the Philippines, there can be no peace without justice. The US is a crumbling empire that will soon have to pay for its crimes, including the local puppet bureaucrats, at the hands of the toiling masses, the press release concluded.*

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