May, 2018

Mindanao Under Martial Law, A Year of State Terror - Karapatan

Days before the first year of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2018, Karapatan received reports on the killing of an industrial worker of a banana plantation and the arbitrary arrest of a trade union organizer, both in the Southern Mindanao region.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that “these two latest reported cases are emblematic of the type of human and people’s rights violations perpetrated by state forces in Mindanao under martial law - brazenly committed with impunity targeting civilians considered ‘enemies of the state.”

Mindanao Under Martial Law, A Year of State Terror: A Report on the First Year of Imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao

Mindanao Under Martial Law, A Year of State Terror

A Report on the First Year of Imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao 

May 23, 2018

The year 2017 unfolded Duterte’s true nature, a greedy and cruel war-mongering president who uses his power to perpetrate a killing rampage against the Filipino people through his war on drugs and his own brand of war-on-terror through the imposition and extension of martial law in Mindanao and his continuing implementation of government’s counterinsurgency program presently Oplan Kapayapaan which primarily targets Southern Philippines. 

Mindanao Under Martial Law, A Year of State Terror

Mindanao Under Martial Law, A Year of State Terror

A Report on the First Year of Imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao 

May 23, 2018

Uphold the Right of Return of the Palestinian people! End the US-Zionist Israeli regime!

Uphold the Right of Return of the Palestinian people!
End the US-Zionist Israeli regime!

Institutionalized torture

Emboldened by martial law in the whole island of Mindanao, soldiers can accost anyone they fancy, especially if they are poor peasants or small scale miners. These soldiers can bring them to the police station on trumped-up charges of thievery. If the “suspects” don’t interest the police, the soldiers can bring the “suspects” to their military camp, under the nose of their commander, and unquestioned by their superiors. The soldiers can tie them up, beat them up and put them up in an unused, broken down ambulance for nine days, but only feed them six times.

After which the soldiers can now get rid of the “suspects.” They make them wear military uniforms, and, escorted by twenty soldiers, the “suspects” are brought to another town on a 6x6 military vehicle. On a forested area, the “suspects” can be made to dig their own graves. As a send-off, the soldiers can rain blows on the suspects’ bodies before strangling them to death and throwing their bodies in the pit. Not content with their deed, they can pour crude oil on the bodies and throw in wood chips to initiate the fire, and proceed to watch their bodies burn.

Massacre of Lumad in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

On December 3, 2017, just minutes after the village chief of Sitio Bonglaon, Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu and his companions left, a hail of bullets came from the hilly side of the community’s day care center.

Instinctively knowing the sound of gunfire, the children stopped playing, and their mothers and their teachers cried out. Everyone heeded the call of Datu Victor Danyan to go to his house for safety. In the corn fields nearby, Pato Siralbo, Samuel Angkoy and Datu Victor’s two sons, Artemio and Victor, Jr. - all members of the all members of the T’boli Manubo Sdaf Claimants Organization (TAMASCO) - fell in the first volley of fire. Datu Victor, attempting to rescue his sons, was himself felled by bullets as soon as he stepped out of his house.

From noon to up to 4:30 in the afternoon intermittent gunfire sought out the Lumad. In the end, eight T’boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers were dead, and five persons, including children, were shot at but survived. The whole of Sitio Bonglanon evacuated to other places, and two Lumad were later arrested on trumped-up charges.

Soldiers killed civilians in Marawi

On May 23, 2017, Abol Amatonding, left their house in Basak, Malutlut, Marawi to go to his relatives in Binidyang, Marawi. Abol’s mother, Racma Amatonding, decided to evacuate the next day, on May 24. Racma, unaware of the whereabouts of her son, assumed he had also evacuated with their relatives. 

It was on May 25 when reports surfaced that a picture of Abol’s body was circulating in social media; the body was found in Basak, Malutlut, in the area where the family lived. Abol wore a black shirt and brown pants. Wearing black automatically aroused suspicion from the military, as their initial reports stated that members of the Maute group were wearing the same color. The body of Abol was recovered by their relatives in Binidyang, but the family was not able to bury their son because they could not afford the trip. Abol’s family is in an evacuation center in Baloi, Lanao del Norte. 

On May 24, 2017, the body of Ramos Malik, 35, was found at the Banggolo bridge in Marawi. His family – father Mangod Malik, 63; siblings Jabbar Malik, 30, Aida Malik, 25, Esnairah Malik, 20, and Montiya Malik, 10 – evacuated on May 26, 2017 from their residence in Brgy. Cameri, Marinaut, Marawi. 

Karapatan Monitor January to March 2018

Choke all dissenting voices 
and strangle any semblance of democratic rule:
the malevolent mantra of Duterte’s leadership

Bombs and bullets rained on Moro communities outside Marawi

Two days after the declaration of martial law, on May 25, 2017, from 5:30am to 10pm, around 240 elements of the 39th and 72nd IBPA conducted a series of aerial bombings and fired at the Moro communities in sitios Pedtobawan, Campo, Apulan, and Centro Salat in Brgy. Salat, and in sitio Libpas in Brgy. Tuael, President Roxas, North Cotabato.

Aerial strikes were also reported in the barangays of Tangkulan, Anggaan, and Damulog in Bukidnon. These areas are at least 100 kilometers away from Marawi City. 105 howitzer cannons were mounted at Brgy. Kisupaan, Pres. Roxas, North Cotabato. More than 1,000 residents fled due to fear.

PCGG abolition a treacherous move to block the recovery of Marcos ill-gotten wealth - SELDA

Rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) condemns the passage of House Bill 7376 by the House of Representatives abolishing the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and transferring its powers and functions to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Karapatan calls for the immediate release, humane treatment of hors de combat Zaldy Cañete

Human rights group Karapatan today echoed the calls of the family of wounded combatant Zaldy Cañete, reportedly an official of the New People’s Army Pulang Bagani Command, and that of the Exodus for Justice and Peace for his immediate release and humane treatment.

Rights group slams acquittal of police officers in illegal arrest, torture of security guard Rolly Panesa

Karapatan expressed disappointment on the ruling of the Regional Trial Court Branch 36 of Calamba, Laguna yesterday, May 16, 2018, on the criminal cases filed by security guard Rolly Panesa against four police officers and other John and Jane Does.

A Tale of Three Mothers

Today, mothers’ day, the shops and malls put out all the stops to entice families to celebrate that one day of the year to honor mothers, while 3-year old Luis* is probably oblivious to all these commercial celebrations of mothers’ day.

Luis doesn’t live with his mother, yet he is being reminded of his mother all his life, all the time, by his father, grandparents, friends and colleagues of his mother, or even strangers who come in  for a visit. And whenever family finances allow, Luis visits his mother at the Taguig City Jail Female Dorm in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Duterte’s “strongman” image, a facade of cowardice

“Strongmen” like Rodrigo Duterte exercise power through State terror and violence with impunity, couched in populist language that misleads the public and trains the guns of his armed forces and police on his perceived enemies - the people. His “strength” comes from dehumanizing the urban poor and workers by calling them “drug addicts” and “lazy criminals,” by tagging activists and political dissenters as “terrorists,” and by branding any and all criticism to his anti-people policies as forms of “destabilization.”

Duterte uses BS Aquino’s repressive immigration policy to suppress rights

“Two wrongs do not make a right. Both the Duterte and the Aquino governments are accountable for the creation and continued use of repressive policies, no doubt for their own gains. In any case, regardless of this useless and ludicrous blaming game, the fact is that this BI order is already being put to use to persecute a nun who has spent almost three decades of her life serving poor communities in the country," said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay in response to Duterte's speech Sunday, April 29, on the basis of the Bureau of Immigration’s decision regarding Sr. Patricia Fox.