On the quick reaction mission led by Karapatan Southern Tagalog in Rizal

Yesterday, March3, 12nn, the 75-person quick reaction mission led by Karapatan Southern Tagalog went to Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo, Rizal and Brgy. Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal, to probe reports on the killing of two Dumagat farmers, in the course of military operations of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and their reported encounter with the NPA on March in the area. Gloria "Oya" Rodriguez of Karapatan Rizal and Georgelyn Rafael "Gigi" Millizo of Karapatan Southern Tagalog led the QRM.

Mission members were held by elements of 2nd IDPA (initially reported as 80th IBPA) at Brgy. Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal (initially reported as Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo, Rizal) at around 4-5pm. Since then up to this time, contact has yet to be established by Karapatan national and regional office with the mission members. The mission members were reportedly "escorted" by 2nd IDPA to the area where the alleged encounter happened, according to unconfirmed reports from the community.

Another team was dispatched today, March 4, at 8am to ascertain the status of the 75 individuals. The second team has yet to report as of this time. Peasants leaders are en route to the PNP Rodriguez Rizal to file a blotter report on the QRM members and to seek an urgent meeting with Rodriguez Mayor Cecilio Hernandez regarding the QRM and the status of the Dumagat in the community.

Numerous cases of harassment, threats, and even killings of human rights workers, while on factfinding or humanitarian missions, were documented by Karapatan during the Arroyo and Aquino regimes and in the past months of the Duterte administration. Under Arroyo, Karapatan Southern Tagalog Secretary General Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy were abducted and killed by soldiers under Gen. Jovito Palparan while on a factfinding mission in Mindoro. During the Aquino administration, members of factfinding missions in Quezon province in 2014 were fired at by soldiers. Also in 2014, a factfinding mission to Kapalong, Davao del Norte was aborted due to reports that members of paramilitary group Alamara were on ambush position, waiting for the FFM members. In February 2017, members of a National Medical and Solidarity Mission in Talaingod, Davao del Norte also received threats from Alamara.

Karapatan reiterates its call to government authorities to stop the harassment of human rights defenders investigating human rights abuses of State security forces. Karapatan also calls on President Duterte and the AFP to stop military operations in communities thru Oplan Kapayapaan and the all-out war declaration, and to continue the formal peacetalks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.