LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - "We call on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to walk the talk and decisively terminate one-sided military agreements with the United States government, such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). If this administration is serious in asserting Philippine sovereignty against the US, it should start by doing away with treaties and deals that trample on the nation’s sovereignty. We also challenge Duterte to veer away from neoliberal policies being pushed by the US – policies that have caused widespread and systematic poverty in the country, allowing big corporations to gain profits at the expense of the people’s welfare,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, in a rally led by the International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) outside the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, California, US, to protest the implementation of EDCA for the past three years.
“It has been ten (10) years and Jonas Burgos is still missing. Though cases have been filed, perpetrators have remained unpunished. From the Arroyo regime to the current administration, the disappearance of Jonas remains a continuing proof of the climate of impunity in our country. It will continue to be a stark reminder on the prevalent injustice and lack of accountability of State security forces responsible for rights abuses, and government negligence,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Jigs Clamor during a protest held outside the Department of National Defense (DND) on April 28, 2017 to mark the 10th anniversary of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.
“Continuing assaults on people’s rights indicate the urgency for just and lasting peace in the Philippines. There is a need to make the Benigno Aquino III regime accountable for the crimes it has committed against the people, while pursuing the call for the Duterte government to stop dismissing and start addressing issues on rights violations and the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor, in a press briefing of human rights defenders set to participate in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland on May 8, 2017.
“After thirty two (32) years, political prisoner Jose Ceriales was finally released on April 19, 2017, after serving sentence for false charges of multiple murder and double frustrated murder. Peasant Ceriales was arrested on May 3, 1985 in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental when he was only 22 years old. Now, he is 54 years old. That is 32 years of injustice which spanned different regimes,” said Clamor on the release of the longest-detained political prisoner in the country.
(Photo: Jose Ceriales finally freed after 32 years in prison. He was only 22 years old when he was arrested; he is now 54 years old)
“The arduous struggle for land distribution of Hacienda Luisita is just and legitimate, as landlords Cojuangcos and Aquinos continue to deny the return of land to its tillers, a condition which constituted the original agreement between the Cojuangcos and the Magsaysay government way back in 1967,” said Jigs Clamor, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General, on the “bungkalan” and land occupation of peasant farmers and farmworkers dubbed as #OccupyLuisita campaign.