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Category — Press Releases

Network urges both panel to put victims at the center of talks

PMPI PRESS RELEASE
20 MARCH 2017

Groups support peace talks
“Think of communities, victims in peace nego”

With the resumption of peace talks, the fourth negotiations between the Philippine Government (GRP) and the country’s communist group is set to continue April 1.

A network of civil society organization and rights groups expresses relief and lauds the peace panels of the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for agreeing to get back to table.

The Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) as well emphasizes that while the network “is happy that a light of hope glints as the GRP-NDFP peace table is back on track, both parties this time must also consider prioritizing bilateral ceasefire.”

“We are relieved that the wind has changed in favor of just and lasting peace. But the fact that attacks, encounters, and deadly firefights are still happening in communities still keeps us all awake at night,” Yoly Esguerra, the national coordinator of the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) said.

Esguerra also highlighted that they call on both parties to put the victims of the conflict at the center of the negotiation

“The discussion of what needs to be set-out in the future is important, which is why we celebrate that this peace table is back and functional. This time, however, both parties must consider that listening and giving space and justice to the victims of long-standing war should not be a separate agenda,” she added.

According to Esguerra, the network believes that victims, the vulnerable communities, the and the grassroots affected by this conflict must be prioritized to be able to lay a strong foundation of the peace based on justice that PMPI is envisioning.

PMPI Co-Convenor and Oblates of Notre Dame nun, Sr. Susan Bolanio expressed her frustration over the volatile position of both the government and the CPP-NPA-NDFP in the peace talks.

“If we talk about peace in this generation, we work for it. Please take peace talks seriously. I have been working in the community for more than forty years. I have visited countless of families, communities who suffered from armed conflict. It is these communities in rural areas that suffer most,” Sr. Susan said.

The network appeals for “more openness, trust, and transparency” in the continuing peace dialogue.

“We dream of dialogue tables that are inclusive, ensuring participation of various stakeholders from the communities, the NGOs, church, the academe and even from the business,” the statement of PMPI said.

Recent news brought to light deaths from the police force in an alleged attack of suspected New Peoples Army member. The latter, however, in a statement revealed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines have conducted aerial bombings in provinces in Mindanao since February, killing farmers and civilians.

“With people and combatants getting injured and dying in rural areas, even the good news that peace talks will continue appears to be a distant reality. We need to manage, if not stop, the violence. Stop this war. Bring, instead, to the peace negotiation table our issues, not in the countrysides that heavily affects the lives and livelihoods of our farmers and indigenous peoples,” said Jack Pamine of Pax Christi, also a member of PMPI.

“Everything is a compelling reason to continue the peace talks. We just have to genuinely listen to the victims and to manage our own rage that can rear its ugly heads at times,” added Esguerra.

–###–

For more info:
Amor J. Tan Singco
PMPI Comms Officer
atansingco.pmpi@gmail.com
www.pmpi.org.ph | +63925.576.7426 | (02) 961.5956

March 22, 2017   No Comments

Groups support peace talks: “Think of communities, victims in peace nego”

PMPI PRESS RELEASE
20 MARCH 2017

Groups support peace talks: “Think of communities, victims in peace nego”

With the resumption of peace talks, the fourth negotiations between the Philippine Government (GRP) and the country’s communist group is set to continue April 1.

A network of civil society organization and rights groups expresses relief and lauds the peace panels of the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for agreeing to get back to table.

The Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) as well emphasizes that while the network “is happy that a light of hope glints as the GRP-NDFP peace table is back on track, both parties this time must also consider prioritizing bilateral ceasefire.”

“We are relieved that the wind has changed in favor of just and lasting peace. But the fact that attacks, encounters, and deadly firefights are still happening in communities still keeps us all awake at night,” Yoly Esguerra, the national coordinator of the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) said.

Esguerra also highlighted that they call on both parties to put the victims of the conflict at the center of the negotiation

“The discussion of what needs to be set-out in the future is important, which is why we celebrate that this peace table is back and functional. This time, however, both parties must consider that listening and giving space and justice to the victims of long-standing war should not be a separate agenda,” she added.

According to Esguerra, the network believes that victims, the vulnerable communities, the and the grassroots affected by this conflict must be prioritized to be able to lay a strong foundation of the peace based on justice that PMPI is envisioning.

PMPI Co-Convenor and Oblates of Notre Dame nun, Sr. Susan Bolanio expressed her frustration over the volatile position of both the government and the CPP-NPA-NDFP in the peace talks.

“If we talk about peace in this generation, we work for it. Please take peace talks seriously. I have been working in the community for more than forty years. I have visited countless of families, communities who suffered from armed conflict. It is these communities in rural areas that suffer most,” Sr. Susan said.

The network appeals for “more openness, trust, and transparency” in the continuing peace dialogue.

“We dream of dialogue tables that are inclusive, ensuring participation of various stakeholders from the communities, the NGOs, church, the academe and even from the business,” the statement of PMPI said.

Recent news brought to light deaths from the police force in an alleged attack of suspected New Peoples Army member. The latter, however, in a statement revealed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines have conducted aerial bombings in provinces in Mindanao since February, killing farmers and civilians.

“With people and combatants getting injured and dying in rural areas, even the good news that peace talks will continue appears to be a distant reality. We need to manage, if not stop, the violence. Stop this war. Bring, instead, to the peace negotiation table our issues, not in the countrysides that heavily affects the lives and livelihoods of our farmers and indigenous peoples,” said Jack Pamine of Pax Christi, also a member of PMPI.

“Everything is a compelling reason to continue the peace talks. We just have to genuinely listen to the victims and to manage our own rage that can rear its ugly heads at times,” added Esguerra.

–###–

For more info:
Amor J. Tan Singco
PMPI Comms Officer
atansingco.pmpi@gmail.com
www.pmpi.org.ph | +63925.576.7426 | (02) 961.5956

March 22, 2017   No Comments

Military bombings cause forcible evacuation, threats to communities – Karapatan

Press Statement

March 20, 2017

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831

Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 63918-9790580

Military bombings cause forcible evacuation, threats to communities – Karapatan

http://www.karapatan.org/Military+bombings+cause+forcible+evacuation%2C+threats+to+communities

“President Duterte, you say you grieved that you have lost soldiers, but you are losing constituents as well – the majority of the poor people you have sworn to protect when you took oath as President. The peasants, the indigenous people, the urban poor and the many others in the countryside, are they not what constitute the majority of the Filipino people? Shouldn’t you also grieve for their loss and mourn with their families?” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, on the continuing attacks against the people, more recently in Malibcong, Abra and Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.

“In the course of Duterte’s counter-insurgency programs supported by the US government and the military’s all-out-war, forty two (42) peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, and workers have already been killed, thousands have already been displaced while many more have been the subject of threats, harassment and intimidation. President Duterte should rethink the direction he has taken because where he is headed is a bloody trail of continuing human rights violations – the same direction that Duterte’s predecessors took,” said Palabay.

Continuous operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have caused the recent forcible evacuation of communities.

On March 14, 2017, more than 300 individuals from Brgy. Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte evacuated to the barangay’s elementary school, after hearing a loud explosion followed by an exchange of gunshots, only to evacuate again the next day to a farther location in the municipal gymnasium in the town center of Kitcharao, six kilometers away from their community.

On March 16, several residents who attempted to return to their community had to go back to the municipal gymnasium when the 29th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA) fired a cannon three times from their position in Camp Edward, situated at the neighboring town of Alegria, aimed at surrounding areas of Brgy. Hinimbangan.

On March 18, at around 9am, the residents were able to slowly return home when 156 soldiers of the 29th IBPA left their community onboard five 6×6 army trucks the day before. The more than 300 residents returned successfully at around 1pm on the 18th but were again alarmed when at 4pm, they saw another batch of soldiers from the same unit arriving yet again in the community. Because of this, after having just returned to their community hours before, residents were forced to evacuate again back to the municipal gymnasium in Kitcharao in the evening. Soldiers of the 29th IBPA had been encamping in the community for eight months, since September 2, 2016.

In a separate incident on March 16, at least 56 families, including 200 children, were affected when the AFP’s 24th IBPA dropped at least 14 bombs in their community in Malibcong, Abra. The aerial strikes caused forest fires in the barangays of Lat-ey and Bangilo, damaged fields, endangered civilians and forced schools to suspend classes. The AFP released a statement insisting that the NPA caused the forest fires and subsequently denied responsibility for the aerial strikes, despite repeated testimonies from villagers that the military’s four (4) fighter jets circled the community and dropped bombs.

On March 18, at around 9am, Abra-based Kabataan partylist members Joshua Gumatay and Antonio Ambalneg Jr. were abducted by elements of the 24th IBPA. They were forced to walk from one area to another and were interrogated for seven hours. The two minors were turned over to the local Department of Social Work and Development and to the town mayor after. As of this writing, military operations continue in Malibcong.

Palabay added that “in Duterte’s repeated attempts to assure the police and the military, not only have they become trigger-happy, but have become fearless instigators of State terrorism.”

“Most especially, for a president who earlier claimed he understood the ideological foundations of armed conflicts in the country, he should move forward not with repression and state-sponsored terrorism, but with a decisiveness to root out and resolve the causes of unrest,” Palabay continued.

“We call on the international community, along with the Filipino citizenry, to strongly denounce the attacks against communities and individuals in the series of bombings, political killings, and illegal arrests. There is a growing need to oppose such fascist attacks against the people, lest they continue with impunity,” concluded Palabay.

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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights

2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District

Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101

Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

Web: http://www.karapatan.org

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.

March 22, 2017   No Comments

PHILIPPINE: THE DEATH PENALTY IS AN INHUMANE, UNLAWFUL AND INEFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO DRUGS

Amnesty International UK
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUESDAY 7 MARCH
PHILIPPINES: THE DEATH PENALTY IS AN INHUMANE, UNLAWFUL AND INEFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO DRUGS
The adoption of a draft law by the Philippine House of Representatives to revive the death penalty sets the country on a dangerous path in violation of its international legal obligations, Amnesty International said today.
“The idea that the death penalty will rid the country of drugs is simply wrong,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“The resumption of executions will not rid the Philippines of problems associated with drugs or deter crime. It is an inhumane, ineffective punishment and is never the solution.
“The Philippines’ attempts to reintroduce it are clearly unlawful. This will just earn the country notoriety as one of the few countries to revive its horrific use.”
Today, the House of Representatives of the Philippines adopted on its third and final reading of House Bill 4727, a measure put forward by President Duterte’s majority coalition to reintroduce the death penalty. The proposal was passed with 216 votes in favour, 54 against and one abstention. The Speaker of the House openly threatened to strip members of Congress of key positions if they dared to vote against the bill, or even abstain from voting. The bill will now go to the Senate.
“The Senate is now the Philippines’ last real hope of upholding its international obligations and rescuing the country from this backwards step,” said Champa Patel.
The draft law has been passed at a time when the country is reeling from a wave of more than 8,000 deaths, many of them through extrajudicial executions in its ‘war on drugs’ since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power on 30 June 2016.
Amnesty is opposed to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances. Under international law, the death penalty must be restricted to most serious crimes, and drug related crimes do not meet this threshold. There is also no evidence to show that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.
“The death penalty for alleged drug offenders, like extrajudicial executions, violates international law, deprives people of the right to life, and disproportionately targets the poor,” said Champa Patel.
In 2007, the Philippines ratified an international treaty that categorically prohibits executions and commits the country to the abolition of the death penalty. Legally, this obligation cannot be withdrawn at any time.
Since the death penalty was abolished in 2006, the Philippines has been a strong advocate against capital punishment and has championed several initiatives to this end in international forums. It has also worked to commute the death sentences imposed on Filipino nationals abroad, such as overseas workers.
“If the Philippines authorities want to deal with the root causes of drug-related offences, they should support humane, voluntary, health-focused and evidence-based policies as an alternative,” said Champa Patel.
Background
House Bill 4727 is a consolidated version of several proposals adopted by the Sub-Committee on Judicial Reforms of the Committee on Justice of the House of Representatives on 29 November 2016.
As of today, 141 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice; in the Asia Pacific region, 19 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and a further eight are abolitionist in practice. The new Criminal Code of Mongolia abolishing the death penalty for all crimes will become effective in July 2017.
ENDS
Amnesty International UK media information:
Laurie Hanna: 0207 033 1549, laurie.hanna@amnesty.org.uk
Out of hours: 07721 398984, www.amnesty.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @Newsfromamnesty
Follow our blog: http://blogs.amnesty.org/pressblog

March 16, 2017   No Comments

Karapatan condemns continuing fascist attacks against the Filipino people

Press Statement
March 10, 2017

Reference:      Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

Karapatan condemns continuing fascist attacks against the Filipino people

“Karapatan strongly criticizes the recent rhetoric of President Rodrigo Duterte on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and his orders to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to “flatten the hills” and drop bombs on rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA),” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, in a rally led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan at the Department of National Defense in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Palabay said “these statements, along with the continuing implementation of counter-insurgency programs Oplan Bayanihan and Oplan Kapayapaan and the AFP’s declaration of all-out war, are being used by the military and police as license to kill and arrest civilians, including leaders and members of people’s organizations.”

Under Duterte, Karapatan documented thirty-nine (39) victims of political killings, twenty were killed from January to March 2, 2017. This includes the recent killings of farmers and anti-mining activists Ramon and Leonila Pesadilla in Compostela Valley by suspected members of the 66th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army on March 2; of farmers Ian and Rolendo Borres in Maayon, Capiz on February 24 by the 61st IBPA led by 1Lt. Joe Mark Bitbit and that of coconut farmer and peasant leader Gilbert Bancat in San Andres, Quezon by elements of the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM).

“Bombing of communities has also resulted to the forcible evacuation, destruction of property, illegal arrests and other forms of violations against the people,” Palabay said citing the cases of an estimate of 11,500 residents in Brgy. Pichon, Caraga, Davao Oriental where 12-18 bombs were dropped by the 67th IBPA on July 7 and 8, 2016; the arrest of four farmers and displacement of at least 23 families in Brgy. Parasanon, Maragusan, Compostela Valley in August 2016; and the recent arrest of eight (8) members of the Kaolo tribe and the forcible evacuation of 120 households in Brgy. Datal Anggas, Alabel, Sarangani on February 11, 2017.

“Your armed forces have been bombing communities even at the onset of your administration. You cannot use the alleged incident in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, to justify these violations any further and act as if these State agents are all so innocent,” Palabay said to Duterte.

Forty-three individuals were also illegally arrested and detained from July 2016 to February 2017. Last March 7, four peasant organizers of the Kalipunan ng Samahang Magsasaka sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) were arrested and wounded in Brgy. Camflora, San Andres, Quezon province, during and after the reported operations of SOLCOM elements in the community.

Among those arrested were Christopher Redota, 26, Jennifer Yuzon, 22, Teteng Yuzon and Dana Marie Marcellana. Marcellana is the daughter of Karapatan Southern Tagalog Secretary General Eden Marcellana, who was killed together with peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy by men of Gen. Jovito Palparan on April 21, 2003 in Mindoro Occidental.

Since March 7, the four have been in the custody of the Southern Luzon Command. Their relatives, human rights and church workers have been denied access to detained peasant organizers. “They are illegally arrested and arbitrarily detained. We fear they are being tortured by their military captors. We demand that the SOLCOM release these peasant organizers,” Palabay said.

“These fascist attacks against the people and struggling communities through counter-insurgency programs, together with the relentless extrajudicial killing of poor people through the war on drugs and measures to revive the death penalty under a rotten justice system, are compelling reasons to continue the peace talks between the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and for the people to fight back against repressive and anti-people policies under the Duterte administration,” Palabay concluded. ###

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

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.

March 11, 2017   No Comments

Press releases from National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

Please find below statements from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL):

1. Rights lawyers strongly denounce the killing of Atty. Mia Mascariñas-Green and attacks against lawyers: call for action and demand justice
2. The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers condemns the harassment of Atty. V.J. Topacio, a lawyer of the Pro Labor Center, and a member of the NUPL

We are also very pleased to inform you that the  2016 Karapatan Year-End Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines is now available for downloading and sharing.

——– Forwarded Message ——–

NUPL Press release No. 1 for March 9, 2017
Rights lawyers strongly denounce the killing of Atty. Mia Mascariñas-Green and attacks against lawyers: call for action and demand justice
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers denounces the continuing attacks against lawyers and the legal profession and demands that justice be served to the victims, and that perpetrators be held liable. The NUPL likewise calls for an end to these attacks.
Few days after NUPL expressed alarm over continuing attacks against lawyers and the failure of the government to run after the perpetrators after the killing of retired RTC Judge Victor Canoy and shooting of City Prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna, a known environmental and lady lawyer Atty. Mia Mascariñas-Green from Bohol was killed while driving her children on February 15, 2017 in Tagbilaran City. She died of gunshot wounds in her head and body. “The manner by which Atty. Mia was killed by men riding motorcycles who blocked and fired at her shows it was a planned attack. The pattern of killing is the same as the killings of other lawyers and other political activists in the past years,” said NUPL Secretary-General Ephraim Cortez.
Atty. Mascariñas-Green also handled agrarian and human rights cases in Cebu before she transferred to Bohol and was described by her colleagues as brave and courageous.
With the government’s lackadaisical efforts to investigate these killings amid the growing number of unresolved extrajudicial drug related killings and attacks against political activists, NUPL fears that this new attack will be merely an addition to the long list of unresolved killings. Atty. Mascariñas-Green is not the first, but the seventh lawyer killed under the Duterte administration. One of the seven killed is a judge while two are prosecutors. All seven were shot to death.
Meanwhile, many other members of the legal profession have been subjected to failed killings, threats, vilification, and name-tagging, among others. NUPL believes that this series of attacks against judges, prosecutors and lawyers is not only directed against their persons and the legal profession but also against the litigants and victims’ constitutional right to counsel and justice. It throws a cold water to lawyers and is indeed alarming. If the lawyers representing and defending the victims of rights abuses do not feel safe in the discharge of his duties, not only the cause of action of their clients but justice are at stake. Without that freedom from fear in performing their duties as lawyers, they cannot effectively be agents of justice. Atty. Ian Manticajon of NUPL Cebu said, “The unarmed lawyer, clothed only in his barong, his knowledge of the law, and the authority of his Roll of Attorney’s number, is supposed to be shielded from violence in cases that almost always involve disputes. That’s the only way to ensure that he can do his job effectively for his client.”
“We condemn the killing of Atty. Mia and continuously condemn each and every attack, in whatever form, against lawyers, especially those seriously involved in seeking justice for their clients and victims of rights abuses. We strongly denounce these attacks against the legal profession and the right of every one to counsel. We call the attention of President Duterte, being a lawyer himself and a former prosecutor, to take appropriate action to end these attacks,” said Atty Cortez.
NUPL Chairman Atty. Neri Colmenares added, “We join the National IBP in the condemnation of the killings and call on other lawyers’ groups to denounce these attacks as well. We demand the serious and thorough investigation of these cases and making the perpetrators liable. We reiterate our call for the Supreme Court to step in to preempt the escalation of these attacks and give justice to the victims. Finally, we again appeal to our fellow lawyers to have courage and remain steadfast in providing legal services especially to the poor while battling the continuing attacks against the members of the legal profession.” ###

Press release No. 2 for March 9, 2017

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers condemns the harassment of Atty. V.J. Topacio, a lawyer of the Pro Labor Center, and a member of the NUPL

Atty. Topacio was followed and tailgated after he attended a preliminary investigation hearing of Ferdinand Castillo, the campaign officer of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Metro Manila, who was illegally arrested recently. During the hearing, Atty. Topacio questioned the propriety of the appearance of a certain Bryan De Guzman Bantilan, who introduced himself as a lawyer representing the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. On his way home after the hearing, Atty. Topacio was followed and chased by a white Toyota Revo with Plate No. SGY 793 and a motorcycle. He was able to shake off the vehicles.

This is not the first time that Atty. Topacio was subjected to such form of harassment. In a similar instance he was also surveilled and followed by suspected state agents a few days after he represented Andrea Rosal, the daughter of former spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Obviously, these are intended to intimidate Atty, Topacio to discourage him to represent victims of harassment by state agents like Ferdinand Castillo and Andrea Rosal.

The harassment of Atty. Topacio, and the recent attacks and killings of other lawyers, is an attack against the legal profession, since these are all obviously intended to prevent them from performing their functions as lawyers and undermine their independence. Ultimately, this is an attack against the client’s right to effective representation as guaranteed by the Constitution and the United Nation Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

As such, the NUPL condemns the harassment of Atty. Topacio, and the continuing attacks against lawyers, and calls on the Government, as well as the military and police establishments, to respect the role of lawyers as embodied in the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and to stop the attack against them.

Reference:

Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez
NUPL Secretary General
+639175465798

Atty. Cristina Yambot
NUPL Public Information Officer
+639178470301


National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax no.920-6660
Email addresses: nupl2007@gmail.com and nuplphilippines@yahoo.com
Follow us on twitter @nuplphilippines and facebook @https://www.facebook.com/nuplphilippines
Visit the NUPL website at http://www.nupl.net/

“By calling yourselves the ‘people’s lawyer,’ you have made a remarkable choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the battlefield live beyond irrelevance.”
– Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message at the NUPL Founding Congress, September 15, 2007

“After long years of experience as a people’s lawyer, I can honestly say it has been a treasured journey of self-fulfillment and rewarding achievement. I know it will be the same for all others who choose to tread this path.”
– Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, NUPL founding chairperson, in his keynote address at the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in Asia Pacific ( COLAP V), September 18, 2010

March 11, 2017   No Comments

AFP lies through teeth to justify rights abuses – Karapatan

Press Statement
March 3, 2017

Reference:      Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

AFP lies through teeth to justify rights abuses – Karapatan
http://www.karapatan.org/AFP+lies+through+teeth+on+abuses

“As attacks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) intensify against rural communities all over the country, their concoction of make-believe stories and alibis to cover up the rights abuses continue,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

On February 11, 2017, after a reported encounter between the AFP and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Tangis, Brgy. Datal Anggas, Alabel, Sarangani, the 73rd Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA) dropped six (6) bombs in the said sitio and nearby areas. The next day, the military illegally arrested eight (8) civilians and accused them of being members of the NPA. All eight, from the Kaolo tribe, are members of local peasant organization Lumad Kasbakas De Sarangani (Lumakas-Sitio Tangis).

It was only on February 15, when they were brought to the Prosecutor’s Office in Alabel, Sarangani for inquest proceedings for trumped up charges of frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They are currently detained at the Alabel Police Station, pending resolution of the preliminary investigation.

“The farmers, who are residents in the said community, returned to their homes in the afternoon of February 11, after the reported encounter. The next morning, the military accosted them in their homes, planting guns in their huts, and accused them of being NPA members. They only knew of the trumped up charges against them three days after their arrest, which also makes this a case of arbitrary detention. Unfortunately, this is the story of many political prisoners in the country, mostly from the peasant sector,’ Palabay said.

Palabay added that “there is a long list of military ploys that have caused the endangerment of civilian communities.” More recently, Karapatan conducted a National Fact-Finding Mission (NFFM) in Maddela, Quirino province, Cagayan Valley, after incidents of forcible evacuation of residents were reported due to the deployment of troops from the 86th IBPA on February 18, 2017. Findings from the NFFM showed that 691 residents from barangays of Manglad, Cabua-an, and Ysmael were forcibly displaced.

The AFP claimed that they had a run-in with the NPA on February 20, but ‘Norma’, a resident who lived in a hill across the alleged encounter site, attested there was no such confrontation, and that ‘the direction of the shots was upward’, contrary to allegations that there were exchanges of shots.

The AFP also claimed that Gilbert Buyucan, Brgy. Captain of Brgy.Cabua-an, was taken hostage by the NPA. Buyucan, who was then facilitating the safe evacuation of residents, repudiated such claims.

“In the AFP’s record of rights abuses, including trumped-up cases against leaders and members of progressive organizations, there is no doubt that they have become notoriously prolific in manufacturing fictitious narratives that could rival the storytelling oPalabayf fiction authors. Their acting may have earned them standing ovations from those who benefit from their fascist attacks, had it not meant injustice, imperil and violations against the people,” said .

“Now that the AFP’s farcical ploys are back in full swing amid its all-out-war declaration, these parasites who thrive in patronage politics have a new script to play with – scenarios of “legitimate” drug operations where targets all happen to end up dead. With their involvement in the drug war, on top of the new counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, rights abuses sugarcoated with lies to put the blame somewhere else will continue to be fed to the public. As violations heighten, so will the deceitful excuses justifying the unjustifiable,’ Palabay concluded.
———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

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.

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March 5, 2017   No Comments

Condemnation of murder of environmental lawyer in Philippines

Condemnation of murder of environmental lawyer in Philippines

http://www.foei.org/news/condemnation-murder-environmental-lawyer-philippines

Friends of Earth International strongly condemns the brutal murder of environmental lawyer Mia Manuelita Cumba Masacariñas-Green on February 15, 2017. Mia as she was fondly known, was only 49 years old. She was assassinated in front of her 3 young children while driving them home in Tagbilaran, Bohol. Mia was also a board member of The Environmental Legal Assistance Centre (ELAC).
As a passionate and devoted lawyer specialising in environmental crimes, Mia handled both civil and criminal cases. She was as an environmental lawyer for the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), of which LRC/Friends of the Earth Philippines is also a member.
The police investigation resulted in a manhunt against 2 suspected gunmen. Police also identified a possible mastermind, reportedly the owner of a famous beach resort on one of the islands of Bohol in the Philippines. According to police reports, Mia was caught in a conflict between her client and the resort owner.
According to reports, Mia’s death brings the total number of environmental campaigners and human rights defenders murdered in the Philippines over the past 15 years to 112.
We send our condolences to and stand in solidarity with Mia’s family and ELAC. We urge the Philippines’ Government to urgently investigate this case and bring the perpetrators to justice.
In addition to the loss of many innocent lives, the families of those who have died, like Mia’s, have to live with the trauma of witnessing these murders. We urge all people, social movements and governments to put pressure on international institutions to condemn the extra judicial killings in the Philippines and to help put a stop to them.

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Inc.–Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines
Unit 2-A La Residencia Building
114 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village East, Diliman
1101 Quezon City, Philippines
t/f: (+63) (02) 899-8774
website: lrcksk.org
email: lrckskfoeph@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Legal-Rights-and-Natural-Resources-Center-Inc-wwwlrckskorg-76038736444/?ref=hl

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email is confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you must not disclose or use the information contained in it. If you have mistakenly received this email, please notify us immediately by return email and please delete the document.  We are not responsible for any changes made to a document other than those made by us or for the effect of the changes on the document’s meaning.

March 5, 2017   No Comments

ICHRP seeks support to: Continue the peace talks, Firm up reforms

Last 25 February 2017, Saturday, the Filipino people commemorated the 31st year since they successfully ousted the MARCOS dictatorship. It is sadly noted, however, that several presidents and campaign promises thereafter, fundamental and genuine change continue to elude them.

[Please find statements of Karapatan and IBON Foundation attesting to this as well as news reports and videos of the protest actions last Saturday below.]

On this occasion, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) reiterates its commitment to support the people’s clamor for fundamental change and to constantly accompany them in their journey towards just and lasting peace in the country.

Please support our latest campaign and sign on to the statement: Continue the peace talks, Firm up reforms: http://justpeace.ph/continue-the-peace-talks-firm-up-reforms/

Thank you.

1. http://bulatlat.com/main/2017/02/25/31st-edsa-progressives-remind-duterte-fascism-failed-will-fail-now/

2. KARAPATAN
Press Statement
February 25, 2017

Reference:      Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

After 31 years, people still clamor for fundamental change- Karapatan
http://www.karapatan.org/After+31+years

Targeted political killings, the slate of illegal arrests of leaders and members of progressive organizations, intensified military operations in communities, a justice system that favors the rich and powerful, the continuing oppression of peasants and workers and the domination of US interests in the country remain as palpable realities, thirty one years after Edsa 1. Has this country really achieved change when repressive state policies continue? Have we really seen change when farmers remain landless, rights continue to be violated, and the Filipino people’s interest remain subjugated to imperialist powers?” asked Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the 31st commemoration of the EDSA people power.

“What we have seen in the years following the Marcos dictatorship are forms of repression, masked under the banner of democracy. Killings in the name of the war on drugs, the possible reimposition of the death penalty, the revival of the Philippine Constabulary and the military’s involvement in the war on drugs under the Duterte administration are more recent worrisome issues,” she stated.

“Scores of activists and revolutionaries who work for radical change continue to be targeted and the number of political prisoners remains on the rise,” Palabay continued.

Karapatan has documented 402 political prisoners in the country as of February 2017, 30 of them arrested under Duterte and 283 under BS Aquino III. “Even this practice of jailing activists and political dissenters has continued throughout the administrations after Marcos, tolerated and enabled by people who, given recent developments, are now at the end of this repressive State maneuver,” said Palabay.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s statement that there are no political prisoners is not surprising, coming from the mouthpiece of government narratives since Martial Law. “His efforts to delegitimize the struggles of activists and progressives through these kinds of statements are classic examples of the elite’s disdain for genuine change. His release on the basis of humanitarian grounds should have been accorded to the people who most deserve it – the political prisoners who have fought hard alongside the marginalized in this country,” Palabay said.

Karapatan also recounted that the conferment of hero’s honors on former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. is a betrayal of what the EDSA “people power” stood for. “The Filipino people toppled a dictator but the Supreme Court and Pres. Duterte allowed him a hero’s burial. On the other hand, the victims of the Marcos dictatorship have yet to be indemnified and the Marcos’ stolen wealth yet to be returned. This can only be the result of the shameless accommodation of the ruling elite to stay in power,’ said Palabay.

Aside from allowing a hero’s burial for Marcos, Duterte also cancelled the peace talks on February 3, 2017, ramped up the implementation of counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan with the military’s declaration of an all-out-war, and subsequently terminated the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). “Duterte won with his catchphrase ‘change is coming.’ We should thus demand and protest the Duterte administration’s unfulfilled promises. We strongly call on the President to stop the fascist attacks against the people and to continue the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,’ Palabay added.

“EDSA 1 showed how a dictator was ousted through the people’s collective strength and actions. As long as interests of imperialists, landlords and political clans continue to dominate, there is no doubt that the people will continue to struggle in all forms to achieve fundamental change,” Palabay concluded.
———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

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.

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3. IBON Foundation Philippines


IBON FEATURES / 26 February 2017
#114 Timog Ave. Quezon City/ 9276986/ www.ibon.org

Change? Not three decades after EDSA, not under PDP–IBON

The Philippines remains backward and underdeveloped with severe inequality 31 years after the so-called EDSA revolution, research group IBON said. The Duterte administration’s new Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 will not change this, said the group, in continuing the failed neoliberal policies of the Marcos regime and all subsequent administrations.

EDSA 1986 was a repudiation of the Marcos dictatorship including economic crisis and gross inequality from neoliberal economic policies then pushed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The people mobilized in their millions to end not just the dictatorship but also economic crisis and gross inequality. This was clearly expressed in the 1987 Constitution, IBON noted, where nationalist economic provisions articulated the people’s aspirations for social justice and for a sovereign and independent economy.

According to IBON, these are among the promises of EDSA not met in the succeeding 31 years. There has not been any change and, instead, the economy has continued to deteriorate and worsen as a mere appendage of global capitalist powers exploiting our cheap labor, raw materials, and markets.

Domestic agriculture and Filipino industry are in terminal decline. From 1986 to 2016, the share of agriculture and manufacturing in Philippine gross domestic product (GDP ) has shrunk from 24.8% to 22. 8% and 17.1% to 8.4 percent, respectively. A few have prospered while the majority remain in severe poverty. At present, IBON estimates 2 of 3 Filipinos surviving on only Php125 or less per day, while official poverty statistics indicate 21.9 million living on a very low poverty threshold of Php60 per day.

The Duterte administration’s new Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 unfortunately continues the failed neoliberal policies started by Marcos in the late 1970s and followed by all the administration’s that came after it. In final controvertion of the promises of EDSA, it also seeks to remove the important nationalist provisions of the 1987 Constitution. The economy and the people will suffer the worst for this even as domestic elites and foreign monopoly capitalist powers continue to prosper, IBON said.

The PDP 2017-2022 of the government’s neoliberal economic managers adopts the same market-oriented framework of the policies that have failed to develop the Philippine economy. Like past administrations, it gives premium to luring in foreign direct investments, spending on infrastructure, strengthening public-private partnerships (PPP) that channel public funds to private gain, and implementing a fiscal program that relieves the rich while taxing the poor more. On the other hand it is silent on measures for real national development such as free land distribution and Filipino industrialization, decent jobs and wages, and free or affordable social services, said IBON.

The nationalist economic aspirations from EDSA are still relevant and if anything have been affirmed over the last 31 years, said the group. The government’s unchanged neoliberal policies will only widen the gap between rich and poor and keep the economy as a mere provider of cheap labor and raw materials for the global economy and a captive market. These neoliberal economic policies need to be reversed for the Filipino people to achieve their aspirations for development, IBON concluded.

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

Media & Communications Department
IBON Foundation
#114 Timog Ave
9276986 | www.ibon.org | @ibonfoundation
​09254545577

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4. From ILPS Philippines

EDSA@31 — peace talks not all out war

EDSA@31 — peace talks not all out war
While the government commemorates the 1986 “People Power Revolution” inside the headquarters of the Ar…

March 1, 2017   No Comments

Political activist illegally arrested after GRP’s “cancellation” of peacetalks with the NDFP

Political activist illegally arrested after GRP’s “cancellation” of peacetalks with the NDFP

Dear friends,

Join us in condemning the illegal arrest of Ferdinand Castillo, political activist and campaign officer of Bayan Metro Manila. Castillo is among the activists and civilians arrested after the President Rodrigo Duterte’s termination of the government unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA) and the “cancellation” of the peace talks of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Castillo, suffering from a heart ailment, adds to the number of political prisoners in the Philippines, and should be immediately released on just and humanitarian grounds. Known plunderers like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Juan Ponce Enrile are given special treatment and released on “humanitarian grounds” while activists who have dedicated their lives in service of the marginalized sectors of society remain behind bars. As of January 31, 2017, there are 387 political prisoners, 121 of them have various illnesses. Let us call for the immediate release of Ferdinand Castillo and of all political prisoners who remain in jail for trumped-up charges.

The practice of filing trumped-up charges against members and leaders of progressive organizations continues as a policy and practice of the State in an attempt to silence progressive organizations and communities.Duterte’s Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) continue to criminalize the work of political dissenters, activists and human rights defenders, enabled by state policies and US-driven counter-insurgency programs such as Oplan Bayanihan and Oplan Kapayapaan. Join us in calling for an end to the practice of filing trumped-up charges against activists and human rights defenders and for the withdrawal of Oplan Kapayapaan.

ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT
On February 12, 2017, at around 10am, Ferdinand Tagudar Castillo was in Brgy. Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City to consult with the workers of Liga ng mga Manggagawa sa Central Caloocan (LMCC) on the campaign against contractualization and higher wages for workers. After the consultation, he boarded a tricycle. Around 4pm, when he was already near the 7/11 Store, which was in front of a tricycle terminal, he saw two Toyota Innova vehicles going towards his direction. The vehicles stopped in front of a nearby Puregold Supermarket. Castillo identified the plate number of one vehicle with plate number AAG 9850. It was the same vehicle that was involved in an incident in 2015, when men onboard the same Toyota Innova chased and harassed him from Sta. Rosa, Laguna to Pasig City.
Ten (10) men in civilian clothes, believed to be combined elements of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), Intelligence Service Group-Philippine Army (ISG-PA) and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) were inside the vehicles. Three men approached and grabbed him, and then handcuffed and blindfolded him. They brought him inside one of the vehicles. Two men sat in the seats beside him and another one sat behind him. Castillo was interrogated for an hour and his Nabel shoulder bag was searched. The perpetrators said that they were instructed to apprehend Castillo. They pretended to solicit information from Castillo on the reason why he was ordered arrested.
The men covered Castillo’s mouth with their hands and strangled him, while he struggled to breathe. He told his captors that he has trouble breathing and their actions may preempt another stroke given his heart problem. One of the men told him to calm down and said that they will bring him to a hospital if  he does end up suffering a stroke. They also told Castillo that the person beside him is a nurse.
The perpetrators said that they received information that Castillo was seen near a church in Sta. Quiteria, which prompted them to arrest him. A laptop and an external hard disk, flash disks and cellphones were seized from Castillo.
Castillo repeatedly asked them about their names as arresting officers, the charges against him, and where he will be brought, but the men told him that he will know when they get to the place and that they will pass by a hospital because Castillo said he is sick. Castillo asked them if the AFP and Duterte know about his arrest. His arresting officers said: “Di ito alam ni Duterte. Utos ito ng nakakataas (Duterte does not know anything about this. These are orders of our superiors).” The men added: “Wala na ang peacetalks (Peacetalks are over).”
At this time, since his captors arrested him, Castillo was not shown any warrant nor apprised of his rights.
After an hour inside the vehicle and while still blindfolded, Castillo suspected that he was inside Camp Crame. He thought that he will be brought to the hospital because he informed his arresting officers that he has rheumatic heart disease and hypertension. At around 5pm, he was brought to a room at the third floor of a building and was made to wear headphones.
A few minutes later, the interrogation continued. Two persons sat beside him, taking turns in asking him questions. They were soliciting information on the reason why he was ordered arrested, on why he was in Sta. Quiteria, on where he will go, if he has a wife and child and their whereabouts, on where he finished his studies, and his residence. He was being forced to admit that he is the so-called “Party Secretary” of the KR-MMR, and that he should “retire” with his wife.
After a while, a person who did not identify himself went inside the room and told Castillo that he knew him. He was asked the same questions. Castillo denied any knowledge of all the accusations against him, and instead stated the circumstances why he was in Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan. The officer threatened Castillo to answer his questions so he would know what to do with him. He also said that Castillo’s life depends on him, that nobody knows where he is, that he should tell him everything that he knows or else he will kill Castillo and hurt his family.
Castillo insisted on his right to contact a legal counsel, as he continued to ask the charges against him and for them to remove his blindfold. The officer told him, “Wala kang karapatan, wala ka sa posisyon para magdemand (You have no rights, you are not in a position to demand anything).”
Castillo added that he is involved in the peace talks and he worked with National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants Renante Gamara and Adelberto Silva. The police officers also asked him on the whereabouts of Gamara and Silva, but Castillo did not answer.
At around 9pm, Castillo was brought inside a cell at the first floor of the CIDG office, where other common criminals were also detained. During this time, his blindfold was taken off.
At around midnight, CIDG personnel woke him up and asked him to fill up forms on his personal information. His fingerprints were also taken. He was shown a warrant of arrest dated September 8, 2016 issued at RTC Branch 63 at Calauag, Quezon for purported charges of doublemurder and multiple frustrated murder. He was asked to sign a document with an inventory of the things allegedly seized from him, including a .45 caliber gun and ammunitions. Castillo refused to sign the said document, stating many of those stated items, including the gun and ammunitions, were not his belongings. He asked the CIDG personnel if he can call his office and his lawyer, but the officer told him he would have to ask permission from his superiors. His mug shots were taken and then he was brought back to the detention cell.
At around 3am, CIDG personnel woke him up again, put handcuffs on him and brought him to an office where a male and female staff checked and took pictures of his abdomen, front and back. Castillo told them to check his blood pressure because he has rheumatic heart disease, rectal bleeding and history of two strokes, but the staff members told him that it was not their job to do that. Castillo told them to relay his request to those in charge and that he demands medical attention. Afterwards, he was brought back to his cell and was able to sleep for around 30 minutes. He woke up at 5am.
At around 9am, a CIDG personnel asked him for the contact numbers of the offices he wishes to call. He wrote the organizations BAYAN, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), Karapatan, and Raymond Palatino and Christian Yamzon of Bayan Metro Manila as his contact references. He requested that the contact numbers be searched through the internet because his cellphone was seized from him. At 10am, he was able to get the number of the NUPL office but nobody answered the phone. He told the CIDG to contact the other organizations. At 10:10am, he was able to speak to Rita Baua of Bayan national office, to whom he briefly narrated his experience and situation. He asked for support from lawyers and paralegals. At 12 noon, Karapatan paralegals were able to talk to Castillo at the CIDG office.
At around 2pm, Castillo was brought to Caloocan City Prosecutor’s Office for inquest proceedings, assisted by Atty. VJ Topacio of NUPL, and paralegals from Karapatan and Bayan Metro Manila. With the assistance of his counsel, he signed a waiver of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code to allow the police to present a complainant that will positively identify him as the owner of the alleged gun and ammunitions.
Castillo is currently detained in a small cell at the CIDG office in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

BACKGROUND:

Ferdinand Castillo was a youth activist at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where he graduated with a BS Math degree. He was a member of the League of Filipino Students and the Gamma Sigma Pi Fraternity. Castillo became one of the founding members of Kagimungan, an organization of UP students from Cagayan Valley, which supported the plight of farmers in Hacienda Sta. Isabel and San Antonio in Isabela province in 1981.
In 1984, he co-established the Cagayan Valley Human Rights Organization, a member organization of the Northern Luzon Human Rights Organization and the Social Action Center in Ilagan, Isabela. He also helped in establishing the chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Isabela in 1985. He organized the caravan of Cagayan Valley peasants to Malacanang in 1986, in relation to the GRP-NDFP peacetalks then.
He was a campaign officer of the Bayan chapter in Manila, from 1997 to 2007, then of the Bayan Metro Manila chapter from 2007 to present. The campaign against the demolition of urban poor homes in Tondo, military operations in Metro Manila communities, the privatization of public markets in Manila, and the hero’s burial of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos were among the campaigns spearheaded by Castillo. He was also engaged in the organizing of workers and vendors in Metro Manila.
Ferdinand’s wife, Nona Andaya-Castillo, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a known infant and young child feeding specialist.
He has also volunteered his computer and research skills for Nurturer of the Earth, a support group established to promote earth-friendly parenting and lifestyle. Upon the initiative of Ferdinand and Nona, breastfeeding trainings were initiated among urban poor women in communities in Metro Manila.
Castillo is afflicted with rheumatic heart diseaese, gout and hypertension.

Recommended actions:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

1.       The immediate investigation of the illegal arrest of Ferdinand Castillo to be conducted by an independent body;
2.      The immediate release of Ferdinand Castillo;
3.      The release of all political prisoners who remain behind bars for trumped-up charges, especially the sick and elderly;
4.      An end to the practice of filing trumped-up charges against members and leaders of progressive organizations;
5.      The junking of Oplan Kapayapaan which is similar to previous counter-insurgency programs which targetted civilians and members of progressive organizations;
6.      The Philippine Government to pursue its commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which includes the right to freedom of thought and expression, freedom of conscience, political and religious beliefs and practices and the right not to be punished or held accountable for the exercise of these rights, and the right to free speech, press, association and assembly; and
7.      The Philippine Government to adhere and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory.

You may send your communications to:

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Rodrigo Duterte

February 23, 2017   No Comments