July, 2013

CHR Chair acting like PNP-AFP spokesperson should resign

“Ms. Etta Rosales should immediately resign from her post as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights as she is acting more like the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, instead of fulfilling the mandate of her office. Etta Rosales has been repeatedly remiss in her responsibilities, and in the process, justified the violation of the rights of the Filipino people to freedom of speech, of expression and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances as enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the Philippine Constitution.”

CHR Rosales 

“Flying Dutchmen” campaigning for HR in the Philippines: a “portent of doom” for the crimes of the US-Aquino regime

Statement Released by: 
Peter Murphy
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP)
The right-wing Aquino regime continues to harp on the spin about the violence (which the police clearly started)  during the recent State of the Nation Address, blatantly covering up the fact that the Aquino regime itself is a violent regime and purveyor of state terrorism against its own people.

European rights advocates urge EU to withdraw 10M euro grant for Aquino's failed justice program

International delegates who attended the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines have urged the European Union to stop aid to the Aquino government, specifically the withdrawal of a 10 million euro grant for the Philippine Justice Support Programme.
The more than 250 foreign delegates, in a strongly worded resolution unanimously approved at the conclusion of the conference, said the Aquino government unjustly enjoyed aid from the European Union despite failing to stop extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and impunity.

Mr. Lacierda the issue is Aquino’s human rights record

“The issue, Mr. Lacierda, is not the Dutch man, the Crying Cop, or your blabber on the Left. The issue is Noynoy Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address that deliberately evaded the violations of civil, political, economic and socio-cultural rights of the Filipino people. The issue is the continuing extrajudicial killings, unsolved cases of rights abuses and the pervading state of impunity, which already caught the attention of the international community. These are issues that Noynoy Aquino cannot address head on,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Palabay said that “Aquino’s SONA, teemed with praises and commendations for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP), serves as directive to the state security forces to continue their attacks on people’s rights. This is concretized by the display of police brutality last Monday against the demonstrators. A single crying cop cannot negate nor dispute that scores were wounded and arrested among the protesters.”

Int'l coalition formed to campaign vs HR abuses in the Phils

An international coalition to campaign for human rights and justice and to end impunity, was launched today during the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP) held at the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City.
The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) was one of the major achievements during the three-day international conference attended by more than 250 peace and human rights advocates from the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific and Australia.

Int'l delegates hit surveillance of confab pax, use of "nat'l security" to justify repression

International peace activists and human rights defenders attending the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP) condemned the deployment of military and police surveillance agents in their activities even as they geared up to join tomorrow’s SONA protests.
Security personnel of the conference apprehended a police officer and suspected military asset in two separate incidents yesterday (July 20).

Former GPH peace negotiator calls for resumption of Talks with NDF; Political Prisoners go on Hunger Strike

A former government negotiator in peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is urging the Aquino government to honor the 10 previously signed agreements between the GPH and the rebel group in order for the talks to resume.
At the sidelines of the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace (ICHRPP) at the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City, Silvestre Bello III, who was negotiator for the GPH since the first Aquino administration to the Arroyo government, said both parties should “move the talks forward to its logical conclusion which is lasting peace for our people.” 

Int'l community press for the resumption of GPH-NDFP peace talks

Hoping that international pressure would bring the GPH-NDFP talks back on track, peace advocates and rights defenders at the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP) called on the Aquino government to resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front, citing poverty and the re-escalation of human rights abuses as the most compelling reasons to go back to the negotiating table
“The landlessness of peasants, the lack of decent wages and job opportunities, decent housing and basic social services are weighing down on the lives of the Filipino people and violate their socio-economic rights. Those who resist and work for change are met with political repression by the State. We want the peace negotiations resumed to help resolve such issues,” the delegates said in a press conference.

Int'l peace activist: impunity in the Phils similar to the time of assassination of Msgr. Romero of El Salvador

El Salvadoran peace activist Marta Benavides likened the killing of Italian priest Fausto Tentorio and the continuing impunity in the Philippines to the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Monsignor Oscar Romero in El Salvador.
"It is the same thing that happened to all the martyrs in Latin America, the same thing that happened in El Salvador with the murder of Monsignor Romero.  We call it a 'loud secret.'  We all know, the whole population knows, what happened, who was behind it  ... the death squads.  (We may not know exactly) who went to kill him, but who was behind it.  We think it's the same thing here," said Marta Benavides, an El Salvadoran theologist and internationally-acclaimed peace activist, who was a friend of Monsignor Romero.  She is one of the few surviving human rights activists that began their work in El Salvador in the 70s.

US lawyer calls for peace through respect of people's economic rights

A prominent American human rights lawyer is calling on Filipinos to use human rights laws and conventions to force the Aquino government into reversing economic policies that adversely affect ordinary citizens, especially the poor.
In her keynote speech before the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace (ICHRPP) at the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City, Jeanne Mirer, president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a stalwart of the US National Lawyers' Guild, said government economic policies should adhere to human rights principles.

Intl peace, human rights confab opens tomorrow; will send delegates to SONA rally on Monday

More than 250 peace advocates and human rights defenders from 25 countries gather tomorrow as the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP) opens at 9 a.m. at the Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon City. The foreign delegates are also attending the People’s SONA on Monday, July 22 to cap the three-day conference and the week-long International Solidarity Mission in the different communities where there are documented human rights abuses.

 Rep. Teddy Casiño, Spokesperson of the ICHRPP contested  the Quezon City LGU’s decision to deny the protesters permit to rally, calling it “throwback Monday” and reminded the Aquino government that the “Marcos dictatorship was won by defying such repressive tactics.”

Series of arrests and abduction precedes Aquino’s 4th SONA

Karapatan, through its chairperson Marie-Hilao Enriquez, raised alarm on the spate of arrests involving a former political prisoner and a farmer and the abduction and disappearance of another farmer and a tricycle driver in less than a week. “Will Pres. Aquino brag about these rights violations in his 4th State of the Nation Address?” Enriquez,said.
Aristedes Sarmiento, a former political detainee who was among the “Tagaytay 5”, was rearrested on July 16 in the house of barangay captain Julianita Abuel Lagaya at 51 Mabini St., Bgy.  7, Lucban, Quezon in a joint operation by elements of the  Lucban Municipal Police Station, Regional Intelligence Police Regional Office-CALABARZON, Military Intelligence Group (MIG4), Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), 1st Special Forces Company, 201st Infantry Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Naval Intelligence Security Group (NISG 4) led by Police Chief Inspector Juan Byron Reyes Leogo, Officer-In-Charge.

Ozamiz gang incident shows “salvaging” still a practice among cops, soldiers

The killing of two suspected members of the Ozamiz gang by their police escorts shows Philippine state security forces have not changed their martial law ways, the spokesperson of the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP) said today.
"The incident has tell tale signs of a rubout,” said Rep. Teddy Casiño, spokesperson for the three-day ICHRPP which is set to open tomorrow, July 19.  

Intl solidarity mission investigate rights violations in the Phils; to join People's SONA

“The world is watching. This is a test for the Philippine republic on how to deal with the poor and marginalized and their needs. We are here to show our solidarity and to let you know that you are not alone,” was Rev. Stuart Lyster’s message to the representatives of the remaining 5,500 urban poor residents at the North Triangle who are in constant struggle against government-led enforced eviction and demolition of their shanties. 
Rev. Lyster was among the 12 delegates from the US, Canada and Hongkong who joined the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) of peace advocates and human rights defenders  in the National Capital Region (NCR). Other ISM participants from 14 countries are now in a four-day mission in provinces and communities where there are documented human rights violations. Redemptorist priests from the Philippines were also in the NCR mission.    

Family of Dutch EJK victim assails Aquino govt rights record; impunity proof of failure of HR

The family of Dutch missionary Willem Geertman who was a victim of extrajudicial killing last year in Angeles City, made strong exception to the statement of European Union (EU) ambassador Guy Ledoux last week lauding the Aquino government's human rights record.
Herman Geertman, brother of Willem and spokesperson of the Geertman family, said the EU ambassador's praise of the human rights record of the Aquino government is like rubbing salt to the wound and pain they are suffering with the unresolved killing of his brother.

Aquino dashes hope for respect for human rights – Dutch Parliamentarian

A member of the Dutch Parliament representing the Socialist Party of the Netherlands has called for solidarity with Filipinos in their struggle to end human rights violations and impunity.
Harry van Bommel of the Socialist Party of the Netherlands, the third biggest political party in the Dutch parliament in a strongly-worded statement, said that the extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture cases, illegal arrests and victims of forced evacuations from rural villages that are reported by Karapatan, “show clearly that real change has yet to come.”

Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan a waste of people’s money

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should immediately stop the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan. The Aquino government is wasting the nation’s coffers in pursuing Oplan Bayanihan that has resulted in numerous human rights violations and continuing impunity.”
Thus said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, in reaction to the statement of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on the failure of the counter-insurgency program’s targets. The Aquino administration announced in May 2013 that it has allocated $1.8 billion, or roughly P73 billion, for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.

Karapatan tagged by AFP as enemy while civilians were wounded by AFP bombing in Maguindanao

"Defense by offense. This is a classic case of someone who is cornered and has nowhere to go, and there’s no other way but to punch one’s way out. Straight from the horse's mouth, the Armed Forces of the Philippines finally confirmed that it considers Karapatan its enemy. By calling Karapatan its enemy, the AFP had justified that the victims of human rights violations are also its enemies," Cristina Palabay, said secretary general of Karapatan.

ICCHRP condemns violent dispersal of stranded-undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia

The International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP) assailed the Aquino government for remaining silent on the Saudi government's crackdown on undocumented OFWs. The ICCHRP is a global network of non-government organizations, community and advocate groups and individuals outside the Philippines who are all concerned with the human rights situation in the Philippines and support campaigns to end rights violations in the Philippines.
The ICCHRP also condemned the violent dispersal of about 100 stranded undocumented Filipino workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last July 2 that led to the arrest and torture of at least three leaders of the protesting OFWs who were picked up by the Saudi police, during the violent dispersal.

Dismantle paramilitary groups, revoke EO546

"The inordinate delay in the delivery of justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and the recent accounts of the backhoe driver exemplify how impunity runs through from one administration to the next; in this case from the Arroyo to the Aquino regime. Despite the people’s outrage and after more than three years after the massacre, one of the key government policies, Executive Order 546, has yet to be revoked by Pres. Noynoy Aquino,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Assignment of Morong 43 torturer Baladad to 3rd IDPA, a display of impunity

"The appointment of Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad as commanding general of 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army is an exemplary display of impunity under the Aquino government," Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said. Gen. Baladad is among the military and police officers currently facing civil and criminal charges of torture and illegal detention of 43 health workers known as the Morong 43.

European fact-finding mission to visit Luzon provinces torn by land conflicts and corporate plunder

Several European human rights advocates, including family members of murdered Dutch missionary Willem Geertman, will join an International Solidarity Mission (ISM) to Central Luzon Philippines, from July 14-17, 2013. The mission will visit and gather information in the following: 1) Aurora province, site of a multi-billion dollar economic project that would be displacing hundreds of poor peasant farmers, and where Geertman spent most of his years in the Philippines; 2) Angeles City, where Geertman was murdered, and, 3) Hacienda Luisita, the controversial sugar plantation evading land reform and owned by the family of Philippine president Noynoy Aquino. 

Karapatan Monitor 2013 Issue No. 1

Karapatan Monitor 2013 Issue 1

KM 2013-1 

Months into the end of Oplan Bayanihan's Pahase 1, human rights violations continue to belie the conjured picture of "peace and development" of the three-year US-Noynoy Aquino regime. Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay) is Aquino's version of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).