A storm of condemnations and protests followed the simultaneous killings and arrests on 7 March 2021 perpetrated by Duterte's armed security forces in four provinces in the Southern Tagalog region. Brandishing almost identical search warrants, elements of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines broke into the homes and offices of unarmed social activists, abducted some and killed nine of them, while planting guns and explosives as fake evidence.
Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that they are “appalled by the apparently arbitrary killing of nine activists in simultaneous police-military operations last Sunday.”
Shamdasani recalled that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet already warned in June 2020 that red-tagging, meaning being accused of being fronts for the NPA and the CPP, has proved to be extremely dangerous to the activists.
Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director said, “these raids appear to be part of a coordinated plan by the authorities to raid, arrest and even kill activists in their homes and offices” and were “clearly part of the government's increasingly brutal counter-insurgency campaign.”
In the Philippine Senate, Senator Ralph Recto called for the Duterte government to end its “dirty war”. In the House of Representatives, the Makabayan bloc together with other opposition parliamentarians criticized the Duterte government and pointed out the killings came just a couple of days after Duterte ordered his forces to kill communists and “don't mind human rights”.
Philippine human rights organization Karapatan condemned the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the massacre of innocent civilians on what it called “Bloody Sunday”. It decried that the families of the victims are being tortured twice over, from the killing of their loved ones and then being forced to “suffer dehumanization, threats and harassment” just to retrieve their loved ones' remains.
The Communist Party of the Philippines condemned in the strongest terms the spate of extrajudicial killings and arrest carried out by the AFP and PNP across the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions. The CPP further said the attacks followed the pattern of coordinated attacks in other regions across the country over the past years.
The CPP called on the Filipino people “to manifest their indignation and protest these atrocious crimes of state terrorism and gross violations of human rights.”
It added, “We urge the friends of the Filipino people abroad to condemn and help expose the brutal attacks and the Duterte regime’s growing list of fascist crimes.”