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Karapatan to HOR: Pull out Maharlika wealth fund bill now

“The widespread opposition of the people should be enough reason for legislators to pull out the Maharlika wealth fund bill now, or they will definitely face public uproar over this brazen attempt to rake out public funds to advance their self-serving interests,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, as the group joined calls against the Maharlika Investment Fund.

According to Karapatan, the people’s indignation over use of their pension funds and our alarm over fears of corruption should be heeded by Congress more than their colleagues who are Marcos Jr.’s cohorts in the legislative body -- including Pampanga 2nd district representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a convicted plunderer, who even issued a statement in support of the bill.

Joint statement: Standing in solidarity with Filipino human rights defenders

Dear friends,

We are releasing this statement by 64 organizations and 3 individuals on the judicial harassment against national leaders of Karapatan, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Gabriela, in relation to the upcoming promulgation of the case of perjury filed by former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. at the Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 139 of Quezon City.

International NGOs that signed on in the statement include the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), Civicus World Alliance for Citizen Participation, International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR Net), Front Line Defenders, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Ibon International, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras), Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).  

Human rights organizations from 24 countries – Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burma, Canada, Catalonia/Spain, Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Sri Lanka, Taiwan,  Turkey, United Kingdom, United States – also signed on.

This is a statement of solidarity for human rights defenders Elisa Tita Lubi, Cristina Palabay, Roneo Clamor, Gabriela Krista Dalena, Edita Burgos, Wilfredo Ruazol, Jose Mari Callueng, Sr. Elenita Belardo, Gertrudes Ranjo Libang, and Joan May Salvador, which is being released days prior to International Human Rights Day 2022.

Thank you very much.

Karapatan Public Information Desk

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Karapatan reissues call for NTF-ELCAC abolition, hits restoration of its budget

In a protest action at the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency office on the 4th year of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), human rights alliance Karapatan reiterated its call for the abolition of the task force and slammed the bicameral conference committee for restoring the cuts to NTF-ELCAC’s PhP10-billion budget for 2023.

“Instead of restoring this agency’s budget, the public would have been better served with the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC with its funding rechanneled to social service programs,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Karapatan: End criminalization of dissent, free all political prisoners!

Human rights alliance Karapatan reiterated calls for an end to the criminalization of dissent and the release of all political prisoners in the country, as it marked the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners on December 3, 2022.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that there are hundreds of political prisoners in various detention facilities nationwide because the State adheres to a policy of demonizing political dissenters mainly through red-tagging and formally criminalizing political dissent by slapping activists and other political opponents with trumped-up criminal charges.

Decriminalization of cyber libel, libel pushed, after guilty verdict vs Cordillera indigenous people’s leader

Human rights alliance Karapatan today decried the guilty verdict of Baguio City Regional Trial Court Branch 59 against Cordillera People’s Alliance Secretary General Sarah Dekdeken in the cyber libel charges against her by former Cordillera Police Chief R’win Pagkalinawan, as the group said that her case is “proof that cyber libel and libel laws in the Philippines are weaponized against those who uphold and defend human rights.”

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that the outcome of the court case against Dekdeken is as unfortunate as the case of Rappler’s Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr., who were also given a guilty verdict by a lower court on the cyber-libel charges against them.