September 5, 2017
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580
Three human rights defenders killed in Negros, Davao City
“Indeed, human rights defenders already have one foot in the grave, and the prevailing conditions and policies set by the Duterte administration is making it more dangerous for activists to continue their work. In a span of three days, Karapatan received reports of incidents of extrajudicial killings involving three peasant advocates and local leaders. State fascism is directly and unapologetically trampling on the lives of those who have dedicated their lives in service of the marginalized,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
On August 31, a Bayan Muna organizer was shot dead in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental. Oscar Asildo Jr. was leaving the Department of Education division office where he worked and was on his way to his parked car when he was shot by a gunman wearing a cap. Official autopsy reports have yet to be released, but upon initial examination, Asildo Jr. died of multiple gunshot wounds, including one in the mouth.
Two days later, on September 2, 2017, couple Jezreel and Dalia Arrabis were gunned down by suspected elements of the 84th and 3rd IBPA in Brgy. Tamayong Calinan District, Davao City. The couple were with their seven year-old son inside their vehicle when an armed man came up and shot Jezreel multiple times. Dalia, seeing the attacker, pushed their son outside of the vehicle to save him, and proceeded to hug her husband while screaming for help. The assailant also shot Dalia.
Jezreel sustained three gunshot wounds, all at the head. Dalia was shot in her left axilla. She was subsequently brought to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) but was declared dead on arrival. Both were shot at close range. The couple has two children, both currently in the custody of their grandparents. The Arrabis couple are members of the Farmers Association in Davao City (FADC). Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region (SMR) revealed that the killing of the Arrabis couple puts the tally of political killings in the region to 46.
Palabay said that “activists, particularly those belonging to local organizations, have been bearing the brunt of Duterte’s fascist policies. These local leaders and community-based human rights defenders have been at the frontline of various struggles, including genuine land reform and promotion of people’s civil, political, economic and cultural rights. They are far from being “enemies of the State” as the government maliciously labels them. In fact, they are the ones truly working to overturn the structural injustices that have so long plagued the country.”
“State policies are consistently turning out to be a vanguard for the privilege of the few, while simultaneously being an instrument to suppress and repress the legitimate struggles of the people. The US-Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan is employing the same tactic, the same maneuvers that violate people’s rights to undermine the people’s resistance against the continuing fascist, repressive and oppressive regime. In the end, it is the very people – the poor – whom Duterte has promised change that has been losing in the wars he has waged,” Palabay ended.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.