March, 2013

Aquino govt should ensure Baliaga, Año, etal punished

"The Court of Appeals (CA) ruling on the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos confirms our position since Day One -- that the military is behind the act as shown by evidences and testimonies. Sadly it took six long years for the government to acknowledge this," Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said on the CA decision on the petition for the Writ of Amparo that points to the responsibility of Maj. Harry Baliaga and the accountability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). 

Campos arrest is blatant political harassment! – Karapatan Caraga

“Jalandoni Campos’ arrest is blatant political harassment against progressive people’s organizations and partylists,”, states Dr. Naty Castro, secretary general of Karapatan Caraga.

Open Letter to the Tejada Family

March 21, 2013

To the Tejada Family,

We would like to express our sincerest condolences on the loss of your family. 
We see Kristel's death as an epitome of a hundred broken promises of this government to its people.

Call for transparency in the selection of HRV Claims Board members

Karapatan called on the Aquino government for a transparent and credible process in the selection of the members of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board. The Claims Board is mandated by RA 10368 (Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013) to formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the said law; and to process the claims of victims of human rights violations during martial law. 

AFP uses delaying tactics to keep the wrong man in jail

“Not one day more!” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, on the continued detention of Rolly Panesa, a security guard mistaken by the AFP to be a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).  Panesa has been in detention for 164 days since his arrest in October 2012.

Karapatan backs Church call for resumption of GPH-NDFP peace nego, release of peace consultants

Karapatan joins the Pilgrims for Peace as it calls for the continuation of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the release of all detained NDFP consultants to the peace process, and in standing by the four substantive peace agenda as stipulated in theHague Joint Declaration especially the agenda on social and economic reforms.

Karapatan supports Selda, Tanggol Bayi nominees for Martial Law Victims Claims Board

Karapatan supports the nominees of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) and Tanggol Bayi for the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, a body mandated by RA 10368 (Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013) to work on the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) and to process the victims’ applications for compensation.  

The two organizations submitted the following names of nominees to the Office of the President on March 12: 

Tribute to Cristina Jose, leader and servant of the people of Compostela Valley

Cristina Jose

With pride, Karapatan pays tribute to Kagawad Cristina Jose, a true leader and servant of the people of Compostela Valley.  

Cristina Jose’s life and struggle embody those of the poor majority of the Filipinos who are exploited and oppressed. But more importantly, Cristina Jose epitomizes the poor Filipinos’ pursuit for justice, and the assertion of their national and democratic aspirations.  

Cristina Jose represents those who were victimized by landgrabbing in favour of the business interests of loggers and transnational mining companies that operate in their communities;

Cristina Jose represents the vulnerability of the poor people to disasters, not only because of natural calamities but also because of environmental degradation that was a result of the plunder of our resources by big business;

Cristina Jose represents  those who were victims of government discrimination and neglect, bureaucratic red-tape, inefficiency and corruption in providing assistance to victims of calamities and disasters, using the communist bogey as an excuse; 

Cristina Jose represents the victims of the government’s tactic of victim blaming when people assert their right to take what is rightfully theirs; 

Cristina Jose represents the many other victims of human rights violations, those who were killed, disappeared, arrested and tortured for asserting their rights; 

Testimony of Cadapan’s mother-in-law, additional proof of military role in UP students’ disappearance

“The testimony of Adoracion ‘Nanay Adoring’ Paulino, Sherlyn Cadapan’s mother-in-law, clearly corroborates other witnesses’ statements that Sherlyn and Karen Empeño were abducted by the military.  The disappearance of the two UP students happened almost seven years ago. The warrant of arrest issued against Gen. Palparan is more than a year now and the anti-disappearance law had just been enacted. Yet, the Aquino government remains a failure in rendering justice, with the continued non-arrest of Palparan,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said.

Malaysian and Aquino govts accountable for rights abuses in Sabah

Karapatan  deplored the reported wave of arbitrary arrests, detention, killings, and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment of Filipinos in Sabah, as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to stop military operations despite the call for a ceasefire by the Sultan Kiram of Sulu. 
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said “whether they are civilians or supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalulu Kiram III, the reported acts of the state security forces of the Malaysian government show its total disregard for life and other fundamental human rights. It is not just a matter of ‘grave concern,’ but an issue that should be dealt with decisively by the Aquino government.” 
Palabay said that the Aquino government’s earlier statements served as a ‘go signal’ to the Malaysian government to commit these violations. 
According to news reports, more than 60 Filipinos have been killed by Malaysian forces, while scores were said to have been rounded up in detention and hundreds forcibly evacuated, including women and children. Foreign correspondents report that Malaysia’s Security Offenses Special Measures Act is used as basis to detain and investigate people in areas populated by mainly Filipinos “for committing terrorist acts.”

Karapatan to AFP: Denials won’t stop HRVs

“It no longer comes as a surprise that the AFP’s spokesperson has again denied that there are human rights violations in the Philippines. We’ve heard the line several times in the past. Walang pagbabago. We’re used to these lies and denials but we cannot get use to the violations that are committed against the people,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, in reaction to the statement of Armed Forces spokesperson Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. refuting the human rights group’s assertion on the rising rights abuses under the Aquino government. 

Sabah crisis shows Aquino’s disregard for life and PH sovereignty

Karapatan is immensely saddened by the loss of lives of our Moro brethren in the bloody encounter at Lahad Datu town in Sabah as it finds insensitive and reckless, and therefore unforgivable, the handling of the Aquino government of the issue. 

Instead of interceding for the Filipino Muslims through an urgent and diligent negotiation with the Malaysian government for a peaceful resolution of the issue, Aquino ordered a pullout of the Sultan’s Royal Army from Sabah, saying “surrender now without conditions.”

Karapatan, Tanggol Bayi slam Aquino govt for the killing of typhoon Pablo survivor

Tanggol Bayi

Human rights watchdog Karapatan denounce the killing of Cristina Jose, the latest victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino government.  Cristina Jose was one of the leaders of Barug Katawhan (People Stand Up), an organization of victims of typhoon Pablo in Davao Oriental that led the protest at the DSWD office in Davao City. Jose was killed by three men who were aboard a motorcycle, four days before the world commemorates the International Women's Day.

  March 6 2013 Tanggol Bayi

Terror, impunity and injustice continue

A year after Jimmy Liguyon’s death  

Many things happened after the killing of tribal leader, Jimmy Liguyon, exactly one year ago today. Among them were: his tribe were subjected to threats and harassment by his killers from the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (NIPAR), led by Alde Salusad, forcing them to leave their community and evacuate in front of provincial Capitol in Malaybalay, Bukidnon; two died at the evacuation center, a 24-day old baby and a 67 year-old man, because of ailments; Julia Malus-ag and her four children were taken hostage by the same group on October 7, 2012 to pressure the evacuees to return to their village. 

Statement of Kawagib on the Sabah Issue

Kawagib-Alliance for the Advancement of Moro Human Rights denounces the military action being taken by Malaysian security forces against the followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III in Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia.

The assault carried out Friday, which claimed the lives of twelve of those Filipinos, was deplorable and a complete disregard of diplomatic options that were still at hand. Both Malaysian and Philippine authorities fell short of preventing the needless bloodshed and continue to demonstrate callousness towards the lives of the people at stake. 

Mining Act of 1995, a license for the gov’t and AFP to kill

On the 18th year of the Mining Act of 1995, Karapatan-Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights calls for the immediate scrapping of this law because “it is a direct assault on our sovereignty and patrimony as it emasculates our rights as a people," Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said, emphasizing that most of the human rights violations Karapatan had documented, especially in Mindanao, are related to big foreign businesses engaged in large-scale mining.