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IBON’s assessment of the Duterte administration’s first six months

Dear Friends,

Good day! Attached are the highlights of IBON’s assessment of the Duterte administration’s first six months released recently at the 2016 Yearend Birdtalk. The complete IBON briefing paper is now available at the IBON Bookshop at #114 Timog Ave. Thank you and more power!



​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 | | @ibonfoundation

Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
IBON 2016 0118 Duterte econ and peace question.pdf

January 23, 2017   No Comments

Front Line Defenders annual report for 2016

Front Line Defenders annual report for 2016 ….

The scale of the killings in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico and the Philippines is a bloody indictment of the governments
concerned; it demands an urgent and systematic response.”

January 10, 2017   No Comments

Summary report of the Caraga Multisectoral Ocular Visit to Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur

From: PhilConcerns [] On Behalf Of Paul Quintos
Sent: Monday, 29 August 2016 2:05 p.m.

Dear Friends,

Attached herewith is the summary report of the Caraga Multisectoral Ocular Visit to Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur. This is may be circulated and used for your organization’s support statements to step up our call for the pull out of military troops from the evacuated communities so that the evacuees in Tandag can go home. We encourage you to release support statements on August 29, National Heroes’ Day, to amplify this call.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay po kayo.

Sa ngalan sa Lumad sa Caraga,



Attachment(s) from Andy Whitmore | View attachments on the web

1 of 1 File(s)

2016 August 24 Summary Report on the Ocular Visit in LIANGA and SAN AGUSTIN_Surigao

September 13, 2016   No Comments

Report of Caraga Multisectoral Ocular Visit to Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur

From: PhilConcerns [] On Behalf Of Paul Quintos
Sent: Monday, 29 August 2016 2:05 p.m.

Dear Friends,

Attached herewith is the summary report of the Caraga Multisectoral Ocular Visit to Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur. This is may be circulated and used for your organization’s support statements to step up our call for the pull out of military troops from the evacuated communities so that the evacuees in Tandag can go home. We encourage you to release support statements on August 29, National Heroes’ Day, to amplify this call.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay po kayo.

Sa ngalan sa Lumad sa Caraga,

Attachment(s) from Andy Whitmore | View attachments on the web

1 of 1 File(s)

View attachments on the web 2016 August 24 Summary Report on the Ocular Visit in LIANGA and SAN AGUSTIN_Surigao del Sur.pdf

August 30, 2016   No Comments

The Victims of the Davao Death Squad: Consolidated Report 1998-2015

Reflections by Fr. Shay Cullen, – The Victims of the Davao Death Squad : Consolidated Report 1998-2015

Fri, 06 May 2016 15:34:09 -0600

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The Victims of the Davao Death Squad : Consolidated Report 1998-2015

By Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR Exec. Sec. of the Basic Ecclesial Communities Desk of the CBCP

I RECENTLY received a consolidated report of the killings perpetrated by the Davao Death Squad (DDS) since 1998 up to the end of 2015. The source will not be mentioned for obvious reasons. Suffice it to say that since the killings started, they have been monitoring these cases. I know them very well and I have been collaborating with them as we denounced these killings and worked with the Commission of Human Rights and the Human Rights Watch. They are hesitant to make the report public out of apprehension that it will be used for political purposes.

We must speak out.

I believe that to hide this would be a disservice to the nation since I believe that the body count could multiply many times over throughout the whole country in the next six years. The original report that I have is in Excel format, and very detailed (year by year, according to age, sex, areas, weapons used, etc). What I present is a summary and my own analysis. I know that when I do this, I am risking my life. But the truth must come out before it is too late.

IN 16 years alone 1,425 murdered by the DDS.

The total number of persons killed by the DDS from 1998-2015 is 1,424. Let me repeat in words–ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR victims. This can be considered as MASS MURDER perpetrated by the same group, inspired and supported by the same persons. The data does not include those killed in other cities where the DDS have expanded franchise-style.

Out of 1,424 adults , there were 1,367 male and 57 female. This means that those murdered by the DDS were not only men, there were also fifty-seven women.

132 Children murdered by the DDS

Looking at this according to age there were 132 children killed (17 and below)–126 boys and 6 girls. The youngest was a 12 years boy and a 15 year girl. There was a 9 year old boy who was killed by a stray bullet–he was not an intended target.

There was a total of 476 young adults (18-25) murdered–466 male, 19 female. The number of older adults (26 years and above) killed were 612 (466 male, 28 female). There were victims whose age were not given–201 (191 male, 10 female).

Thus, almost 50 percent of the victims were young people (children and young adults). Most the victims were killed in urban poor areas (e.g. Buhangin, Agdao, Bangkerohan, Boulevard, Matina, Toril). Most of those killed were involved in illegal drugs – as users and pushers. There were also those involved in petty crimes–theft, cell-phone snatching, gang members. There were 14 cases of mistaken identity–they were not the intended targets but the DDS hit men mistakenly hit the wrong target.

There were some who had gone away after being warned that they were on the hit list and after some years, after reforming their lives, came back thinking that they were safe. Their names were still on the list so they were still killed.

No drug lord was ever assassinated by the DDS, just poor youth and Journalists

Thus, one can say that majority of the victims of the DDS were young and poor–juvenile delinquents considered as the weeds of society. There were no reports of drug lords or big time criminals among those killed by the DDS. There were two journalists who were believed to have been murdered by the DDS–Jun Pala and Ferdie “Batman” Limtungan. Jun Pala was a radio commentator who constantly spoke out against the DDS and Mayor Duterte. There were two previous attempts on his life and he accused Duterte of being behind these attacks. He was finally killed by motorcycle riding men on the third try. Ferdie “Batman” Lintuan also spoke out against the DDS and also the alleged anomalies in the construction of the People’s Park which he linked with Mayor Duterte. He was also killed by motorcycle riding men.

The victims of the DDS were unarmed. They did not fight back. Many were just sitting down on street-corners outside sari-sari stores, talking with friends and then suddenly shot in cold blood. There were some who were just released from prison and while waiting for public transportation on the side of the road were suddenly shot by motorcycling men. How the DDS knew the exact time and place they were to be released is amazing. Another victim was killed inside his home in front of his mother and three children who were begging the DDS not to kill him. One of the most well-known cases is Clarita Alia–a vegetable vendor in Bangkerohan–whose teen-age sons (who were below 17 years old) were murdered by the DDS. I was asked by Clarita to bless the body of her boy, Fernando, before he was buried.

I have personally witnessed the aftermath of two DDS killings. The first was in our parish church in Bajada. While officiating a Wedding Mass I heard shots outside in the carpark. I immediately rushed outside after the Mass to find out what happened. I saw the body of a teen-age boy lying in our church ground surrounded by people. He had just been shot by DDS hit-men while sitting in the car park with his friends. The killers escaped on a motor-cycle. There was a police car nearby but the police just fired warning shots into the air and did not go after the killers. The boy who was killed lived in a nearby slums area. He had been suspected as one of those who broke the window of a car in our church Car park and stole some items two weeks earlier.

The second time I witnessed the aftermath of a DDS killing was while mountain-biking in Lomondao, a distant barangay in Davao. As I neared the place I met three motorcycle riding men speeding back to the city. When I arrived in the place I saw people who gathered around the body of a young boy. When I asked what happened, someone told me it was the DDS. The boy was a cell-phone snatcher and drug user. He added, the boy deserved to die.

The killings have not stopped. The DDS continue their murderous spree even to this day.

For the last five years (2011-2015), there were 385 victims of extrajudicial killings in Davao–39 of them below seventeen years old and 118 young adults (18-25). In 2011 there 111 reported DDS killings, in 2012 there were 61, in 2013 there were 101, in 2014 there were 52 and there were 60 in 2015. The DDS usually take a break during the campaign period. They will continue their operations after the elections.

So far, no one has been held accountable for these killings. There has been no official investigation by the police or the city government. The police do not acknowledge the existence of the DDS. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) came to Davao for a public hearing and also met secretly with witnesses – family of the victims and former members of DDS. Although the CHR recommended prosecution, this could not prosper because nobody was willing to testify in court out of fear. The DDS are still around and anybody who testifies will surely be targeted for assassination. I have met some of these witnesses and understand their fear. They claimed that some of those listed as victims were their former companions who knew too much and were suspected of betraying the DDS. So while former DDS members talked about how they were recruited, trained and how they operate, and who their handlers were and their link with some police and local government officials, all this information could not stand in court because they were not willing to testify in spite of the sworn statements made before the CHR.

Report of the Human Rights Watch in 2009 You Can Die Anytime: Death Squad Killings in Mindanao.

Much of the information can also be found in the report of the Human Rights Watch in 2009 You Can Die Anytime: Death Squad Killings in Mindanao. One of the findings of the Human Rights Watch report reveals the link between the DDS and the police:

“According to these “insiders,” most members of the DDS are either former communist New People’s Army insurgents who surrendered to the government or young men who themselves were death squad targets and joined the group to avoid being killed. Most can make far more money with the DDS than in other available occupations. Their handlers, called amo (boss), are usually police officers or ex-police officers. They provide them with training, weapons and ammunition, motorcycles, and information on the targets. Death squad members often use .45-caliber handguns, a weapon commonly used by the police but normally prohibitively expensive for gang members and common criminals.

The insiders told Human Rights Watch that the amo ( boss) obtain information about targets from police or barangay (village or city district) officials, who compile lists of targets. The amo provides members of a death squad team with as little as the name of the target, and sometimes an address and a photograph. Police stations are then notified to ensure that police officers are slow to respond, enabling the death squad members to escape the crime scene, even when they commit killings near a police station.”

The Human Rights Watch Report also revealed the modus operandi:

“Our research found that the killings follow a pattern. The assailants usually arrive in twos or threes on a motorcycle without a license plate. They wear baseball caps and buttoned shirts or jackets, apparently to conceal their weapons underneath. They shoot or, increasingly, stab their victim without warning, often in broad daylight and in presence of multiple eyewitnesses, for whom they show little regard. And as quickly as they arrive, they ride off—but almost always before the police appear.”

“They deserved to die.” This is what Mayor Duterte said while denying involvement in these extrajudicial killings. At one time, he read a list in his TV program. A few weeks later many of those in the list were killed by the DDS.

“They deserve to die.” This is also the attitude of many residents of the city towards the victims of the DDS. This shows who are behind them and why there has been little outcry regarding these mass murders.

It appears that the DDS killings are the center-piece of Mayor Duterte’s campaign against criminality in Davao City. To fight against criminality, you simply kill the criminals through extra-judicial executions carried out by the DDS. No need to arrest them, put them on trial and imprison them if proven guilty.

No need for due process of the law. Criminals do not have rights–that is a western concept. For criminals there can only be one punishment–death. It doesn’t matter if you are a petty criminal–even if you are only a drug addict or pusher or cell-phone snatcher, you deserve to die. The killings are meant to be a deterrent to crime – to instill fear on everyone so that they will stop committing crime. According to Human Rights Watch Report:

“The continued death squad operation reflects an official mindset in which the ends are seen as justifying the means. The motive appears to be simple expedience: courts are viewed as slow or inept. The murder of criminal suspects is seen as easier and faster than proper law enforcement. Official tolerance and support of targeted killing of suspected criminals promotes rather than curbs the culture of violence that has long plagued Davao City and other places where such killings occur.”

It has been very difficult to speak out against these extrajudicial killings because the majority of the people in Davao support them. The archdiocese of Davao under the leadership of Archbishop Fernando Capalla came out with a pastoral letter: “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and held several prayer vigils. We were a minority–a small voice whose cry in the wilderness was drowned out by the applause of the majority. The blood of 1,424 victims of the DDS was the price that was paid so that there could be peace and order–so that all can walk at night without fear. This was the peace of the cemetery, an order maintained by death squads–by criminals.

And the mass murder continues and there will be more blood spilled–not just in Davao but the entire Philippines.

Mayor Duterte promised that if elected “the 1,000 will become 100,000.” He declared that “it will be bloody.” He said there will be” no need for more jails–just funeral parlors.” He promised to “eliminate criminality in the entire country within 3-6 months.”

How will he do it? The answer is what happened in Davao–through the DDS under the direction of many police officers who deny their existence, with the financial support coming from businessmen and also drawn from the government coffers.

“I’m willing to go to hell, as long as the people I serve live in paradise.” Is this an admission on the part of Mayor Duterte that what he has done is a grave sin against God that could someday earn him divine punishment?

Is Davao a paradise after 18 years of DDS extrajudicial killings? Has criminality been eradicated? According to the data from PNP covering 2010-2015, out of 15 chartered cities Davao was fourth in terms of Total Index of Crimes: 37,797 incidents. In terms of murder, Davao was no. 1 (1,032 incidents) and in terms of rape Davao was no. 2 (843 incidents). This report gives the impression that in Davao you can be murdered and raped any time. Murder is not really that bad if the DDS and the Mayor can do it. Rape is not really that bad if the Mayor can callously joke about it, wishing he was the first in line when he heard that a hostage–an Australian Lay Missionary–was raped.


.Meanwhile, the families of victims cry out for justice as the DDS continue their killing spree. The national government has failed to address this mass murder that could soon multiply many times over, God forbid.

If the DDS are not stopped and those behind it are not held accountable, this will be a national bloodbath. Those who support it and allow it to multiply will have blood in their hands–they will be accomplices to mass murder. The one who orders this is a mass murderer–the biggest Criminal of them all.

If it is alright to kill suspected criminals–who can stop any one from taking the law into their own hands? Anyone can become judge and executioner–not only the police and public officials. Anyone can form their own vigilante groups. There won’t be any need for prisons or lawyers or judges. There won’t be any peace, no order as long and human rights and the rule of law are disregarded. Meanwhile, the big criminals, the big thieves and murderers will continue to rule the land

We could be entering another dark period of our history–like the dictatorial period in the past or worse.

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May 16, 2016   No Comments

Final Report of the National Fact Finding and Humanitarian Mission to Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, Philippines

Final Report of the National Fact Finding and Humanitarian Mission to Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, Philippines

4-6 April 2016

“Yan ang napala ninyo sa kahihingi ng bigas. Mga tamad kasi kayo. Bigas ang inyong hinahanap, sa ospital kayo lumagpak (That’s what happens when you ask for rice. You are all lazy. You ask for rice, you end up in the hospital),” a policeman told Arnel Takyawan, 45, on the morning of April 1, 2016, as elements of the Philippine National Police violently dispersed 6,000 farmers in a protest rally in Kidapawan, North Cotabato, Philippines.

These words of the police merely represent the unjust and criminally negligible response of the government to the plight of farmers for urgent food aid amid the effects of the drought. The April 1 dispersal, which killed two persons and injured 11 others due to gunshot wounds, violated the farmers’ fundamental rights, with government lacking an urgent and comprehensive response to the damage, hunger and disaster due to drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

The figures of the damages due to El Niño are unspeakable. In North Cotabato, agriculture losses have reached PhP1 billion due to drought affecting the towns of Alamada, Pigcawayan, Kabacan, Matalam, Aleosan, Mlang, Magpet, Pikit, Tulunan, Carmen, Makilala and Kidapawan. Crop loss from the dry spell has already hit PhP989 million while rats destroyed PhP84.5 million worth of crops. At least 50,000 hectares of rice and corn farms were destroyed by rising temperatures, with more than 25,000 farmers losing their only source of income.

Almost three months before the incident, on January 20, 2016, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of North Cotabato has issued Resolution no. 014 declaring the province under a state of calamity. Yet, farmers like Takyawan and 6,000 more who decided to take action and demanded to the government were fed not with food but with bullets.

Since 2015, farmers who belong to chapters of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Mindanao have resolved to address the worsening impact of the drought on farmers’ lives and livelihood. With the declaration of the state of calamity, the protest action of the farmers in North Cotabato was organized to demand immediate food aid and other legitimate demands to address the situation of the drought-affected farmers.

From March 28 to March 29, 2016, farmers, who are members of KMP-North Cotabato and the Apo Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC) and their families, from different towns of North Cotabato converged at the Davao-Cotabato National Road in Kidapawan, North Cotabato, near the National Food Authority Office and the Spottswood Methodist Center to stage a protest. They came from different municipalities of North Cotabato such as Makilala, Mlang, Tulunan, Magpet, Roxas, Antipas, Arakan, and Kidapawan. By March 29, 2016, their number increased to 6,000. Majority of the farmers are Lumad.

Government officials, instead of heeding the demands of the 6,000 farmers, constantly posed threats of dispersal, until the morning of April 1 when police and government authorities did not heed appeals for negotiation. The police advanced, broke the protesters’ line and hit them with truncheons and batons, water from firetrucks and bullets.

Upon the initiative of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, KARAPATAN, and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the National Fact Finding and Humanitarian Mission (NFHM), was conducted in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato from April 4-6, 2016, three days after the April 1 violent dispersal of the farmers’ rally. The NFHM was coordinated, planned and conducted with the Solidarity Action Group for Indigenous People and Peasants (SAGIPP), and the regional chapters of Bayan, KARAPATAN and KMP in Southern Mindanao. The NFHM was also coordinated with and supported by the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) and the United Methodist Church.

The members of the NFHM, together with members of local groups and institutions in North Cotabato and Southern Mindanao, visited the site of the incident, talked to the families of those who were killed, interviewed the wounded, met with police officials, visited and interviewed those illegally arrested and the farmers seeking sanctuary at the Spottswood Methodist Mission Center, and conducted photo-video documentation of the area. Victims willingly executed sworn statements describing their experiences and ordeals before during and after the April 1, 2016 incident.

The NFHM was able to retrace the series of events before, during and after the April 1 dispersal. A detailed chronology of the incident is included in the full text of the final report.

•The farmers’ demands and protest actions against the government – to demand for immediate relief and a clear plan to mitigate the effects of the drought, and – were legitimate, reasonable and urgent.
•State security forces, with the approval of, if not direct orders from top civilian authorities, deliberately and murderously attacked the protesters, grossly violating the farmers’ civil and political rights, as well as the right to religious freedom of the United Methodist Church.
•Continuing acts of harassments were observed to have been committed by police, military and civilian officials to pave the way for a cover-up on the accountability of State security forces, local and national government officials.
•The National Government and the Provincial Government is accountable and negligent in providing relief to the drought-affected farmers, as well as in the misappropriation of calamity funds and most of all, in the violent dispersal of the farmers’ protest.


1. The provincial government of North Cotabato and the Department of Agriculture should immediately release the calamity fund to the farmers and their families.

2. Gov. Taliño-Mendoza and other government officials should undergo investigation for possible misappropriation of the calamity funds.

3. Pres. Benigno Aquino and Sec. Proceso Alcala should be investigated and prosecuted for their negligence and failure to put up appropriate measures to mitigate the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, and in providing assistance to those affected.

4. Investigate and prosecute Pres. Benigno Aquino, the Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin, the Commanding General of the Philippine Army Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, PNP Director General Ricardo Marquez, PNP Regional Director for Region 12 Noel Armilla, PNP Acting Deputy Regional Director for Operations (Region 12) PSSupt. Roberto Badian, Gov. Taliño-Mendoza, North Cotabato Provincial Director P/Supt. Alexander Tagum, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, Kidapawan Police Chief P/Insp. John Calinga, a certain Lt. Col. Birrey, Ground Commander of the PNP Strike Force, Lt. Col. Arnold Argamosa, Battalion Commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army, and Col. Ronald Villanueva, 1002nd Brigade Commander, 10th Infantry Division-Philippine Army, and the different police and military officers of the different police and military units operating in Region 12, as well as officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Agriculture, for their participation and complicity in the violent dispersal of the farmers on April 1, 2016, the various human rights violation committed as a result thereof, and other violations committed thereafter.

5. Police operatives on the ground responsible for killings, frustrated killings, illegal arrest and detention, and other criminal acts committed during and after the dispersal should be indicted and investigated.

6. Concerned government entities should immediately:

a. Release all detained farmers unconditionally, and other civilians who happened to be within the perimeter of the Spottswood UMC compound;

b. Pull-out police units assigned to monitor and restrict the interactions of the injured farmers recovering in hospitals;

c. Produce a written agreement that no retaliatory action shall be undertaken by the PNP, Philippine Army, personnel of Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, and other parties allied to the aforementioned groups, against the farmers who participated in the barricade, and the support groups and individuals who came to their aid.

7. The National and Provincial Governments should meet the demands of the protesting farmers:

a. Release of 15,000 sacks of rice as calamity assistance;

b. Provide subsidy of rice, seedlings, fertilizers, and pesticides until the drought ends;

c. Increase of farmgate prices of agricultural products;

d. The pull-out of military troops in their communities;

e. The disbandment of paramilitary groups in North Cotabato.


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


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.


Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web:;_ylc=X3oDMTJyZDA2M2IyBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzI2MjMwNjQ3BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTA2NDMwOQRzZWMDYXR0YWNobWVudARzbGsDdmlld09uV2ViBHN0aW1lAzE0NjA3MzAzMDY-

April 19, 2016   No Comments

CHRP Annual Report of Activities 2015

March 9, 2016   No Comments

IBON Updates – May 12, 2015

IBON Updates – May 12, 2015

Pleasant greetings everyone! Sharing some updates. Keep well! 🙂





IMF hype on PH growth speculative, serves US pivot to Asia Pacific

Govt deployed more OFWs than created jobs

Overwhelming number of jobs created in poor quality, part-time, low-paying work

Youth comprises most of jobless Filipinos: 7 of 10 unemployed had high school degree or college-educated

Mary Jane Veloso case mirrors mounting govt neglect of OFWs; govt budget for OFWs falling

Increase in jobs with poor quality work alarming–IBON

World Earth Day: Govt urged to stop large-scale mining, junk destructive mining policy

As water firms question MWSS decision: junking concession agreement more urgent

MWSS decision welcome but conflicting arbitration decisions problematic

Group warns against Cha-cha bid

World Health Day: Privatization puts Filipinos’ health at greater risk

Group warns vs privatization of coco levy assets

PH remains among poorest performers in Southeast Asia

Employers can afford substantial wage hike

P15-wage increase meaning less amid rising cost of living


Padayon kita!
Xandra Liza Casambre Bisenio
Media & Communications Department | IBON Foundation
Visit | Follow IBON on Twitter | Like IBON on Facebook | | 0920

May 19, 2015   No Comments


Hi friends,

Sharing to you the statement of MPPM on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), presented during the Congressional Hearing on BBL by the AdHoc Committee on BBL held last October 29, 2014 at the House of Representatives Complex, Quezon City.

IP rights esp. on the Ancestral domain of the Teduray and Lambangian in ARMM is the highlight of this statement.





Honorable Congressmen and Congresswomen, esteemed guests, good afternoon.

It is our honor to be invited as one of the resource speakers of this Committee’s congressional hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM), a network of tri-people grassroots organizations working for human rights and peace, founded at the height of the all-out war in Mindanao to call for the stop to the war and the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), like many organizations working to build peace in Mindanao, has long been supporting the peace process between the GPH and the MILF and any other peace processes that the government engaged in for that matter. As an expression of our support, we reached out and engaged with the grassroots communities and helped in the education on the development of the peace process. It was in this continuing engagement that MPPM has shaped its campaign for the participation of the grassroots communities in the peace process, since they are the ones that has the greatest stake on the peace negotiations. In 2002, MPPM supported the proposal of the Bangsamoro Consultative Peoples Assembly to call for a UN Managed/Supervised Referendum on the Political Options in the Bangsamoro Areas as a “Platform of Hope for Lasting Peace in Mindanao”. This was not an easy campaign, in fact it is an ambitious campaign, but nevertheless we persisted, convinced that a referendum will help peacefully resolve the Bangsamoro question and therefore achieve peace in Mindanao.

The campaign on the Referendum on the Political Options for Peace in Mindanao also gave way to the discourse in MPPM on the Right to self-determination. In 2004, the Indigenous Peoples who also form a major part of MPPM’s membership articulated their position and demanded to also be supported in their assertion on the same right that the Bangsamoro struggled for, their right to self-determination. Meanwhile, the Mindanao Migrants, or settlers to others, whose communities and sectors were also marginalized, has defined their struggle for human and democratic rights. As a tri-people organization who vows to support the self-determination struggles of peoples in Mindanao, it is the moral obligation of MPPM to take on not only the RSD assertion of the Bangsamoro, but also of the Indigenous Peoples as well as of the Mindanao Migrants.

As the peace negotiations progressed, the discourse on the right to self-determination struggle especially of the IPs also has gradually taken shape in MPPM. During the signing of the Ten-Decision Point on Principles in April 2012, MPPM, along with the leaders of the Timuay Justice and Governance, the only Indigenous Political Structure of the Teduray and Lambangian recognized by NCIP, audience with Prof. Mirriam Ferrer, who was not yet the Chair of the GPH panel that time, to present the position and demand of the Indigenous Peoples in ARMM. During this time, the IPs already clarified their question on their identity as well as their ancestral domain. Prof. Ferrer advised and encouraged the IPs to continue with their CADT application, so that this becomes their vested right. This was the consistent advice of Prof. Ferrer every time the IPs meet with her, even when she became the Chair of the GPH Peace Panel.

But we know now of this impossibility. It is impossible to process the whole CADT of the IPs in few months or in a few years. The experience of most CADT applicants, processing can take on for five years and more by the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). However, for 17 years since its approval, IPRA was never recognized and implemented within the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and NCIP was not devolved. It was only during the first quarter of this year that the NCIP has acted on the CADT application of the Unified Claim of the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo and ordered for its delineation. A Social Preparation Accomplishment Report (SPAR) was the farthest they manage to reach. According to the lawyer from GPH Panel who attended the Congressional Hearing in Cotabato City last October 23, 2014, if the delineation process is finished before the BBL is approved, then it will become the vested right of the IPs. If not, then the Bangsamoro parliament can act on it later. The question whether the ancestral domain delineation process will be pursued will then be at the discretion of the Bangsamoro Parliament, which means 2016 or beyond. We are not pre-judging the Bangsamoro, but, we hope it will not take another 17 years to delineate the ancestral domains of the IPs within the core area.

Like the MILF, the ancestral domain is a non-negotiable right for the Indigenous Peoples in the core area of the Bangsamoro. This is not a matter of royalty ONLY that they can get from all the resources that can be extracted in their ancestral domain. This is about the survival of the present and future generations of their tribes, which is far more important and critical than the promises of equitable sharing on the income of the resources found in their domain. Even when the BBL is yet to be approved and is still deliberated in the Houses of Congress, mining explorations have already started without the knowledge of the Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG). This means no Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) was sought by the parties involved in the exploration. Though, local government leaders confirmed their knowledge and support to the exploration, the fact is it violated the rights of the IPs in the area by not getting their consent.

With this, I would like to ask the panels of GPH and MILF, or the BTC: If the BBL provides for the right to FPIC to be respected and implemented, what will be the process? How would the BBL honor this in practice considering the current realities that mining exploration is already underway at the heart of the ancestral domain of the Teduray and Lambangian in Upi, Maguindanao even before the Bangsamoro is fully entrenched?

Sadly, and unjustifiably, the IPs has been called “free riders” and “spoilers”. And the groups supporting their assertion, including MPPM, has been called many names, few of which are “peace spoilers” or “evil whisperers”. Labeling the IPs as such is a big injustice to them. Their assertion for their right to self-determination is as legitimate as the one the MILF is fighting for in behalf of the Bangsamoro people. As early as 2005, they have already actively and persistently engage in the GPH-MILF peace process by submitting their position papers and engaging in dialogues whoever sat in the two panels. Unfortunately, their voice remained in the margins as all their documents and position papers were treated as informal documents and not part of the talking points. It seems, the peaceful and democratic manner in which the IPs presented their assertion over the years have become their downfall as their views, positions and demands were not taken seriously.

We all know that the GPH-MILF peace process is a very popular process and for which most of the groups and peace networks in Mindanao and some in Manila fully supported. However, for the IP support groups such as the MPPM are critical in our support knowing that the IPs clamor for their distinct identity and due recognition to their ancestral domain and right to self-determination are not clarified in the text of the present draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. We cannot just close our eyes and remained deaf to the clamor of a marginalized peoples in our midst. We cannot allow for a group of peoples who have experience systematic colonization, assimilation and minoritization be relegated into the margins of our history and collective consciousness and be totally forgotten. Doing so, like what the IPs have said, would be tantamount to a genocide of nations/peoples who now fragilely hold in their hands the future of their next generations.

With that, we stand in support with the IPs in the core area in asking for a clarity and assurance of the rights as they presented during the hearing in Upi, Maguindanao last Oct. 22, 2014. It is only by reflecting these abovementioned provisions in the basic law that we can say “BBL is IPRA plus”. Should these provisions be considered in the final BBL, then we can say that this is a benchmark law that does not destroy, diminish and derogate IP rights but in fact protecting and preserving it. Also, the adherence to FPIC in getting the decision of indigenous peoples in the adjacent communities manifest that even in the process of crafting the Basic law, it respects and recognized the rights of indigenous peoples.

We call upon the members of this Committee, if indeed we want to address the historical injustices of the Bangsamoro people, please do not forget, that there is another marginalized group of peoples who suffered the same fate over the centuries. It has been said often enough, that the Bangsamoro and the Basic Law will be the answer to all these historical injustices wrought to the Bangsamoro people, we also hope that this will not perpetuate another injustice for a minority peoples. We appeal to all you, let us make this peace process be genuinely inclusive and meaningful to all the tri-people inhabitants of Mindanao. It is often said that our laws favor the marginalized and downtrodden in our society, then if it is social justice we seek, then let social justice apply equally to all minorities and downtrodden in our society.

Finally, we support the peace process, that is why we are actively participating in this process. We support the Bangsamoro struggle for their right to self-determination and should this struggle be in this politico-legal term of BBL, then so BE IT! But it should not be at the cost of diminishing or diluting the inherent and inalienable rights of indigenous people. As the lamentations of our theme song says, “Kung palayain ang isa, bakit di pa palayain ang lahat”?.

Thank you very much your honors. We will furnish you a copy of this position paper.

Janel E. Pesons

Secretary General

Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement

Cotabato City

November 5, 2014   No Comments

KARAPATAN National Solidarity Mission Initial Report on human rights violations

National Solidarity Mission

Initial Report

October 1, 2014

The National Solidarity Mission (NSM) on Sept. 28-Oct.1 in Lacub, Abra was held in response to the reports of human rights and international humanitarian law violations committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines , specifically the 41st Infantry Battalion, in the course of their military operation in the said municipality. The NSM was hosted by TULBEK and KASTAN with the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance. It was participated in by more than a hundred delegates from different regions and from national organizations.

The NSM validated the following findings:

A. AFP conducted military operations in Lacub that on September 4 – 6 resulted in two incidents of firefight with the New People’s Army (NPA).

B. War crimes under Republic Act 9851[1] observed to have been committed by the AFP:

1. Use of civilians to render the AFP operating troops immune from military attack.

§ Around 100 AFP soldiers forcibly interspersed themselves with 16 residents from Guinguinabang and eight from Poblacion on the way back carrying with them the cadaver of their slained kailian, Ricardo Reyes aka Tubong and compelling Nicasio Asbukan as first man. On the way, firefight ensued resulting to the death of Noel Viste.

§ Richard Borgonia (earlier reported Norberto) who, on Sept 3, was in the mountain looking for his carabao, was detained for 12 hours by troops of the 41st IBPA headed by Lt. Mark de los Santos . Borgonia was forced to admit he was a member of the New People’s Army and was coerced by the AFP troops to join their column and serve as first man. A search team from his village was formed that day to search for him. He was only released to them close to 9 pm that same day.

2. Intentionally embedding a military detachment near a clinic, an elementary and high school and inside a residential area in Sitio Bantugo to render themselves immune from attack.

3. Intentionally directing attacks against civilians of Talampac on September 5 by shooting their guns towards the residential areas.

4. Extrajudicial killing of Engr. Fidela Salvador, personnel of Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDis-RDS) who happens to be in Lacub doing evaluation of projects. Autopsy report indicates multiple lacerations and massive hematoma over the back of the head and gunshot wounds, all entering at the lower back and left and right buttocks exiting at the left shoulder.

5. Crimes committed against NPA combatants:

§ Willful killing of Recca Noelle Monte whose autopsy report indicates no gunshot wound and instead died from blunt traumatic injuries on the head, face and chest;

§ Mutilation/desecration of bodies of dead NPAs.

6. Use of children to monitor activities of TULBEK and whereabouts of their leaders.

Other probable war crimes:

1. Killing of wounded NPAs who probably have laid down their arms or no longer have means of defense or have surrendered. This is a strong probability in the case of Arnold Jaramillo. Jaramillo’s body was riddled with multiple gunshot wounds involving his back and lower extremities, with one particular GSW fired at close-range that the skin surrounding the bullet’s point of entry had a burnt appearance. The NBI autopsy report also stated that both his arms were riddled with bullets down to his wrists and thumbs. Due to the multiple gunshot wounds, his internal organs appeared “macerated”, that is his body appeared porous like a “sponge”. There was also a massive laceration of his upper lip, that his upper and lower jaws were fractured “shattering both jaws inward into his throat, necessitating the embalmer to insert cement into his mouth to keep the architecture of his mouth intact”.

2. Not providing quarter – “No quarter will be given” means refusing to spare the life of anybody, even of persons manifestly unable to defend themselves or who clearly express their intention to surrender.” (R.A. 9851)

C. Indigenous Peoples Rights Violations

1. The AFP, through their military operations, did not allow the Binongan people, especially those in Gacab and Guinguinabang, to conduct their ritual for those who died within their ancestral domain.

2. Violation of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) on military detachments and military activities.

§ Disregarding petition of the community against military detachment in their ancestral domain.

§ No FPIC was conducted before the military operation was conducted.

D. Impacts of Militarization

The military operations have affected the health of the following:

1. Direct victims and their family

2. Women and children

3. Indirect victims

The operation has resulted to the worsening of the almost non-existent and inaccessible health services in the hinterland communities of Lacub. Worse, the targets include civilian population with impunity, intent on sowing fear and forcing subservience.

As such, majority of the patients seen (25%) manifest acute stress disorder with some chronic depression. For the adults, psychosomatic symptoms and panic attacks attributed to trauma were noted, such as: insomnia, hyper-vigilance, nightmares and fidgeting. Also noted were headaches, intense fear associated with loud noises, memories of those who died and while passing through the site of incident. Some have hypertension and palpitations.

Doubly affected are the vulnerable population of women, children and elderly. Psychosocial debriefing of children aged 9-13 studying in the Bantugo elementary and high school which is right beside the military camp shows that they fear the military and secretly wish that they vacate Lacub immediately.

Unfortunate also is the attitude displayed by certain public officials who, instead of fulfilling their servant-leader role of ensuring the people’s right to health as guaranteed by our constitution and international covenants, choose not to. Instead of providing health services to the people at all cost, at any time and in any condition, they cite such reasons as areas being “critical” and withdraw even the local health personnel.

The repressive instruments of government, the AFP and government willfully destroy the spirit of community well embraced by and weaved into the culture of the people of Lacub, with the overall intention of lowering their morale and will to fight.

They make the people more sick, they make the people suffer. They murder the people. They are liable to for the continuous violation on the health and social rights of the people of Lacub.

The economic life of the people has been disrupted as well and this has an immediate impact on the lack of food in the community and in the long-term, a significantly low agricultural produce. A significant 20% of their produce is lost.

E. People’s Response

The people of Lacub and the National Solidarity Mission uphold and reiterate the recommendations of the CHRA Urgent Action Alert regarding the military operations:

1. We call for a stop to the operations in Lacub, Abra to ensure the protection of civilians

2. Immediately pull-out the 41st IBPA and other AFP units from Lacub, Abra to ensure the impartial and thorough investigation of human rights and international humanitarian law violations

3. Justice for the extrajudicial killing of Engr. Fidela Salvador.

4. Justice for Noel Viste and other victims of human rights and international humanitarian law violations by the 41st IBPA.

5. Hold the Armed Forces of the Philippines accountable for its grave war crimes.

6. Prosecution of the perpetrators of the violations and ensure that accountability is demanded in full from the 41st IBPA, the 5th Infantry Division, the Northern Luzon Command of the AFP and from Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino Jr. as commander-in-chief

7. We call for the withdrawal of Oplan Bayanihan, the Philippine government’s counter-insurgency program that targets civilians.

8. We call on the Philippine government to observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law instruments to which it is a party and signatory to, including the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

9. Resume the Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

[1] Republic Act 9851 “Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity”


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


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.

October 4, 2014   No Comments