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Category — Statements

GRP-NDFP Peace talks shall continue

Dear Friends,
Warm greetings!
Representatives from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panels held informal talks on 10-11 March 2017, in Utrecht, the Netherlands with the Royal Norwegian Government acting as host and Third Party Facilitator.
Please find attached scanned copy of the Utrecht Joint Statement*, announcing the results of the talks. The fourth round of formal talks shall be held on the first week of April 2017, while the fifth round is slated for June 2017.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who co-signed and supported JustPeacePH’s call to continue with the peace talks and firm up the much-needed reforms : http://justpeace.ph/continue-the-peace-talks-firm-up-reforms/  (you may still sign-on, to signify your support!)
Your continuing solidarity is very valuable in accompanying the Filipino people in achieving just and lasting peace in the land!
Regards,
Angie M. Gonzales
Coordinator
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

* Scanned copy courtesy of the Philippine Peace Center

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Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
Joint Statement-11March2017.pdf

March 14, 2017   No Comments

GRP-NDFP Peace talks shall continue

Dear Friends,
Warm greetings!
Representatives from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panels held informal talks on 10-11 March 2017, in Utrecht, the Netherlands with the Royal Norwegian Government acting as host and Third Party Facilitator.
Please find attached scanned copy of the Utrecht Joint Statement*, announcing the results of the talks. The fourth round of formal talks shall be held on the first week of April 2017, while the fifth round is slated for June 2017.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who co-signed and supported JustPeacePH’s call to continue with the peace talks and firm up the much-needed reforms : http://justpeace.ph/continue-the-peace-talks-firm-up-reforms/  (you may still sign-on, to signify your support!)
Your continuing solidarity is very valuable in accompanying the Filipino people in achieving just and lasting peace in the land!
Regards,
Angie M. Gonzales
Coordinator
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

* Scanned copy courtesy of the Philippine Peace Center

__._,_.___
Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
Joint Statement-11March2017.pdf

March 14, 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

AIPP condemns the killing of Lumad leader Renato Anglao

Philippines: AIPP condemns the killing of Lumad leader Renato Anglao, calls the authorities for effective investigation and justice
Statement of Solidarity of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
20 February 2017
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), a regional organization of 48 indigenous peoples’ organisations and movements throughout Asia, condemns the recent killing of Lumad leader Renato Anglao and calls the Philippines authorities to effectively investigate his killing and provide justice to the bereaved family without delay.
Anglao was Secretary General of Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (TINDOGA), an organisation of Manobo-Pulangion indigenous group of the larger indigenous Lumad peoples. On 3 February, three unidentified men riding in tandem shot him twice in the head in front of his wife and child in Quezon, Bukidnon. It is widely believed that the killing is related to the land dispute between TINDOGA and a local pineapple plantation but two weeks since the killing and the authorities still claim they are yet to make any concrete progress to identify the culprits.
TINDOGA was formed in 2008 to specifically assert the rights of the Manobo-Pulangion to their ancestral domains and press for the issuance of their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Their CADT was issued in 2015. However, the ancestral lands of TINDOGA are being encroached for pineapple plantation, which, according to the communities, are for supplying to Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (DavCo) and Del Monte Philippines.
TINDOGA members, led by Anglao since 2010, have been facing threats and harassments from the private security guards of the so-called Montalvan estate administered by the current vice-mayor of Quezon municipality, Atty. Pablo Rojas Lorenzo, Jr. His private guards have fired at them on two separate occasions i.e. on 28 March 2012 and 24 April 2014. Anglao’s perpetrators are yet to be identified but the history of the encounters with Lorenzo’s guards are ominous leads.
In 2015, Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri, Jr. of Bukidnon province noted the security guards’ act of impunity towards the TINDOGA members in a dialogue organised by TINDOGA partner, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Sub-region (RMP-NMR) Inc. and other support groups. But that remains a lip service as no concrete action has been done to this date. Such blatant disregard to end the targeted impunity to the Lumad peoples are beyond reprehensible.
The harassments and killings of Lumads are however not unique to TINDOGA members as the killing of Anglao is not an isolated case. Since the start of 2017, there have already been two recorded Lumad killings, that of Vennie Diamante and Veronico Delamante. Like Anglao, both were staunchly fighting for their ancestral lands against business operations. Diamante was opposing an application on their ancestral lands for palm oil plantation. While Delamante was openly critical of Nickel Asia-Sumitomo and other mining companies.
AIPP calls on the Philippine authorities to immediately take concrete steps to investigate the killings of Anglao and other Lumad leaders. The investigation should also look into the underlying causes of the killings and resolve the land disputes with respect to Lumad peoples’ rights over their lands, resources and territories as guaranteed in national and international laws.
Further, AIPP calls on the NCIP to act on their mandate to protect and promote the interest and wellbeing of indigenous peoples and support the Lumad peoples’ long-standing struggle for their right to self-determination and ancestral domains. AIPP also demands the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately concretise his statements of support to indigenous peoples and bring justice to the incessant harassments and killings of Lumad peoples.
Gam Shimray
Secretary General
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
Support RMP-NMR Inc. and Renato’s family by signing their online petition here: change.org

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Communication Development Programme
www.aippnet.org, www.ccmin.aippnet.org, www.iphrdefenders.net, www.iva.aippnet.org

Our mailing address is:
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
108, Moo 5, T. Sanpranate, A. Sansai,
Chiang Mai, 50210

February 23, 2017   No Comments

Statement on the Killing of Atty. Mia Mascariñas-Green

Statement on the Killing of Atty. Mia Mascariñas-Green

We condemn the vile killing of our colleague, sister, and friend, Atty.
Mia Manuelita Mascariñas-Green last Wednesday, February 15. Attorney Mia
was shot dead in a meticulously planned crime in Tagbilaran, Bohol by
two unidentified assassins, while driving home with her three children.

Our society simply has no place for lawless killings. No one deserves to
be killed especially as how Attorney Mia was cold-bloodedly gunned down.
Nobody should be killed most especially so because of one’s advocacy and
beliefs.

As part of Alternative Law Groups, Inc. (ALG) member, Environmental
Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), Attorney Mia has been working as a
dedicated environmental lawyer, an alternative lawyer in pursuit of
public interest, respect for human rights, and promotion of social
justice for more than ten years. Her untimely death is a clear example
of why we all should strive as alternative lawyers and advocates of
human rights and social development.

This dreadful incident has strengthened our commitment to the nation. We
are, now, more than ever, encouraged and emboldened to advocate for what
is right, rather than being shakened by such cowardly acts against our
peaceful community.

We invite everyone to join us in remembering the noble life of Attorney
Mia. The Alternative Law Groups (ALG), the Environmental Legal
Assistance Center (ELAC), the Manila Observatory (MO) and the Philippine
Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) have organized a requiem
which will be held on February 21, Tuesday, 6-8 PM at Heyden Hall,
Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. This
will also serve as an indignation gathering of environmental and human
rights lawyers and activists.

As one community, we demand justice for all the senseless killings! We
demand justice for Attorney Mia!

Atty. RAY PAOLO J. SANTIAGO

Executive Director, Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC)
Chairperson, Alternative Law Groups (ALG)

Atty. GRIZELDA M. MAYO-ANDA
Executive Director, Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC)

Atty. MARLON J. MANUEL
National Coordinator, Alternative Law Groups (ALG)

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Environmental lawyer killed

Gunmen taunted victim’s children and their nanny before fleeing on board
two motorcycles

By: Leo Udtohan – Correspondent

Philippine Daily Inquirer

17 February 2017

TAGBILARAN CITY—What would have been a routine drive home for lawyer Mia
Manuelita Mascariñas-Green on Wednesday afternoon ended in a brutal
murder witnessed by her three young children in this city in Bohol province.

The four gunmen did not just leave after shooting Mascariñas-Green, 49,
who was driving her Toyota Innova. They also taunted her 10-year-old
daughter and 2-year-old twins and the children’s nanny, pointing their
guns at them before fleeing on board two motorcycles, police said.

“They even bullied the kids and the yaya,” said Supt. Nicomedes Olaivar,
Tagbilaran City police chief. “They made faces and then laughed at
them,” he added.

Olaivar said the gunmen had companions positioned in the area.

He admitted, though, that while the police had established the
identities of the suspects, investigators had yet to determine the
motive of the killing, which he described as “well-planned.”

Olaivar said police were not discounting the possibility that the attack
was related to Mascariñas-Green’s job as a lawyer.

“We all knew Attorney Mascariñas (Green), palaban unya (she fights) for
the poor,” he said.

Mascariñas-Green was known as an environmental lawyer and was part of
the Environmental Legal Assistance Center. She also handled civil and
criminal cases.

Olaivar said the suspects were familiar with the lawyer’s daily routine.

Mascariñas-Green left her law office in Dampas District with her
children and nanny at 4:27 p.m. on Wednesday.

“It was the usual route she was taking when going home (to Loon town) to
escape traffic jams in the city,” Olaivar said.

When her Toyota Innova reached the corner of H. Zamora and J.A. Clarin
Streets in Dao District, two motorcycles blocked her path and fired at her.

Her children were unharmed as they were seated at the back passenger seat.

Mascariñas-Green had three bullet wounds in the head and four bullet
wounds in the body. She died at Holy Name Hospital Medical Center here.

Investigators recovered at least 27 spent shells from .45 cal. and 9mm
pistols from the crime scene, Olaivar said.

Mascariñas-Green’s husband, Stuart, a British, was in Bangkok for a
conference and was expected to arrive in Bohol on Thursday. The family
had yet to issue an official statement.

Mascariñas-Green was a student leader at Divine Word College of
Tagbilaran (DWCT), now Holy Name University.

“She had excellent leadership skills and was articulate. She fought for
the rights of students,” said Rosalinda Paredes, former director for
student affairs at DWCT.

February 19, 2017   No Comments

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Pastoral Letter 

On Sunday, 5 February 2017, 20:34, Companions in the Ignatian Journey <companions2011@gmail.com> wrote:

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
Pastoral Letter
(read during the Sunday Mass, February 5, 2017)
 
“For I find no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies – oracle of the Lord God (Ezekiel 18:32)”
We, your bishops, are deeply concerned due to many deaths and killings in the campaign against prohibited drugs. This traffic in illegal drugs needs to be stopped and overcome. But the solution does not lie in the killing of suspected drug users and pushers. We are concerned not only for those who have been killed. The situation of the families of those killed is also cause for concern. Their lives have only become worse. An Additional cause of concern is the reign of terror in many places of the poor. Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought to account. An even greater cause of concern is the indifference of many to this kind of wrong. It is considered as normal, and, even worse, something that (according to them) needs to be done.
We are one with many of our countrymen who want change. But change must be guided by truth and justice.
We stand for some basic teachings. These teachings are rooted in our being human, our being Filipino, and our being Christian.
1. The life of every person comes from God. It is he who gives it, and it is he alone who can take it back. Not even the government has a right to kill life because it is only God’s steward and not the owner of life.
2. The opportunity to change is never lost in every person. This is because God is merciful, as our Holy Father Pope Francis repeatedly teaches. We just finished celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy. These events deepened our awareness that the Lord Jesus Christ offered his own life for sinners, to redeem them and give them a new future.
3. To destroy one’s own life and the life of another, is a grave sin and does evil to society. The use of drugs is a sign that a person no longer values his own life, and endangers the lives of others. We must all work together to solve the drug problem and work for the rehabilitation of drug addicts.
4. Every person has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Society has ways and processes to catch, prove guilty and punish perpetrators of crimes. This process must be followed, especially by agents of the law.
5. Any action that harms another (seriously) is a grave sin. To push drugs is a grave sin as is killing (except in self-defense). We cannot correct a wrong by doing another wrong. A good purpose is not a justification for using evil means. It is good to remove the drug problem, but to kill in order to achieve this is also wrong.
6. The deep root of the drug problem and criminality is the poverty of the majority, the destruction of the family and corruption in society. The step we have to take is to overcome poverty, especially through the giving of permanent work and sufficient wages to workers. Let us strengthen and carry forward the unity and love of the family members. Let us not allow any law that destroys the unity of families. We must also give priority to reforming rogue policemen and corrupt judges. The excessively slow adjudication of court cases is one big reason for the spread of criminality. Often it is the poor who suffer from this system. We also call upon elected politicians to serve the common good of the people and not their own interests.
7. To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it. If we neglect the drug addicts and pushers we have become part of the drug problem. If we consent or allow the killing of suspected drug addicts, we shall also be responsible for their deaths.
We in the Church will continue to speak against evil even as we acknowledge and repent of our own shortcomings. We will do this even if it will bring persecution upon us because we are all brothers and sisters responsible for each other. We will help drug addicts so that they may be healed and start a new life. We will stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts. Let us renew our efforts to strengthen families.
Those of us who are leaders in the Church should strive to push forward or continue programs that will uplift the poor, like livelihood, education and health programs. Above all we will live up to — we all will live up to — becoming a Church of the Poor.
Let us not allow fear to reign and keep us silent. Let us put into practice not only our native inner strength but the strength that comes from our Christian faith. Our Lord Jesus promised us: “You will have affliction in this world, but take courage, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).
“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:35,37) Yes, indeed, “For the Spirit that is in you is more powerful than the spirit in those who belong in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4)
As we commemorate the 100th year of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, let us respond to her call for prayer and repentance for the peace of our communities and of our country shrouded in the darkness of vice and death.
Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for us.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
Abp. Socrates B. Villegas, D.D.
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
President, CBCP
January 30, 2017
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February 6, 2017   No Comments

Suspects are not Humanity, says Justice Secretary

Suspects are not Humanity, says Justice Secretary
Fr. Shay Cullen
2 February  2017
 
 
Small children of nine years old are to be branded as criminals and to be held responsible for childhood mistakes. Stealing when they are hungry and abandoned. Fighting back when they are abused and bullied. They cry when there is no one to feed them. What are they expected to do to survive? That’s the plight of thousands of abandoned boys and girls in the Philippines today.
 
According to Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, the speaker of the lower house of the Philippine congress, the country is crime-ridden and it can be blamed on criminals that start at nine years old. The law must be changed to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) from the present 15 years old to nine years old.
 
The reason cited is that the children are used by syndicates to commit serious crimes because at 15 years and younger they cannot be prosecuted. This is not true. There is no evidence to support such a statement. All research and statistics point in the opposite direction, that children are not to blame for the crimes of adults. Children below 15 years old cannot discern what is unlawful.
 
But the congress representatives want to please President Rodrigo Duterte who believes even children are criminals. Several members of his cabinet do not agree with the lowering of the MACR and they oppose it. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez advised the cabinet secretaries who are against it to resign if they don’t agree with the president.
 
Many disagree. The secretaries heading the government agencies are there to advise, support, guide, object as necessary and suggest the right and true way of good governance. When they comment on presidential proposals, they are required to be rational, study the data and science and be guided by it. They are not dummies or robots as the speaker would have them to be.
 
That’s why the sensible members of the Philippine cabinet, like the secretaries of the Department of Education and Social Welfare and Development, and members of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), a high level council of undersecretaries, are against it.
 
The final position of the JJWC argues that the children are running wild on the streets and in conflict with the law because the parents are unable to support many children and local governments do not obey the juvenile justice and welfare law and provide social services and a home for them to be cared for and educated.
 
This is a nation with vast wealth controlled by a few. The congress mostly represents the interests of the 0.0001 percent of the population which is now over 103 million people. These mega-wealthy people own as much as 70 percent of the wealth of the nation. There are more billionaires in the Philippines than ever before and the poverty, unemployment, rural displacement and hunger is greater than ever before.
 
The plight of the thousands of children is very bad. Those found on the streets as young as 10 and 12 are  “arrested” or taken into “protective custody” and locked in cells with older boys. Adrian was ten year old when I found him behind bars in a single cell with thirty others older than him. It was a happy day when we got him out of that jail cell and taken to the Preda Home for Children. He told of being bullied and beaten by the older boys and being sexually abused.
 
Those children 15 years or younger are not held criminally responsible for stealing or other misdemeanors at present by the Philippine law. It says they need support, help and diversion programme.
 
The local governments are supposed to provide them with a house of hope, a place where they are protected, fed, their parents are sought and they are to get education, medical treatment and given their rights in a place that is humane and hygienic. But local governments fail to do this and they just lock them behind bars in bare empty cells 24 hours a day for months on end.
 
The pronouncement by the government that there would be a pause in the war-on-drugs does not seem to be real. Supposedly the suspension is for the government to clean the ranks of the police, “Who are corrupt to the core,” according President Duterte. Last week, in Santa Rita, Olongapo City, North of Manila another couple were shot to death in bed by armed men who burst into their house and shot them dead. The killers left signs calling the dead “addicts, robbers, hold-uppers, drug pushers, do not imitate them.”
 
The recent published report of Amnesty International claimed, according to police who spoke to them, that they were paid to kill and funeral parlors give the police a payment for every dead body brought to them for burial. Many innocent people have been killed and robbed by the rogue police, mostly the poor. The rich suffer kidnapping under the guise of drug raids. A Korean businessman was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by police inside the police headquarters in Metro Manila in October. It is claimed that gunmen and police have killed over 7,200 people since 1 July last year. When asked by media if the Amnesty International charge that the killings were crimes against humanity, the Justice Secretary Aguirre said the suspects and addicts are not humanity.
 
 
shaycullen@gmail.com

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February 4, 2017   No Comments

Philippines: Conflicts and Human Rights Under Duterte

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philippines: Conflicts and Human Rights Under Duterte

Duterte Government and Rebel negotiating teams in public forum in London.

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has shocked the world in the last few months with an estimated 5-6,000 extrajudicial killings in his “war against drugs”. Already there are reports of political activists being killed under the cover of this campaign by local police and death squads.  Much less media coverage has been given, in the confusing reconfiguration of Philippine politics under Duterte, to the current peace talks between the government and the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) guerrillas to end 48 years of armed conflict. It is estimated that the armed conflict – the longest in Asia – has claimed around 40,000 lives to date.

This month will see the third round of these talks, which have been sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Government, taking place in Rome. It marks a crucial stage in the negotiations as the agenda turns to economic and social justice, and the issue of the current extra-judicial killings must come under discussion.

The Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP), in co-operation with the UK- based NGO Conciliation Resources and the UNISON Filipino Activist Network, is organising a public discussion in London which will involve both government and NDF negotiators who will have come straight from the Rome talks. The meeting is responding to the enormous interest among the thousands of Filipinos in the UK, many of them working in jobs in health and social services. The UK has the largest Filipino migrant population in Europe.

MEDIA COVERAGE IS REQUESTED FOR THE FOLLOWING:
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE
 

27th January 2017, Friday, 5.00pm

The UK public forum on Conflicts and Human Rights under Duterte will take place at 5.00 pm on Friday 27 January 2017 at the UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY. There will be a special briefing for the press at 6.30 pm where interviews can be held.

30th January 2017, Monday, 4.00pm

A meeting between the peace teams and MPs will also take place take place hosted by Nicole Piche, Coordinator/Legal Adviser, All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group on Monday 30 January, at the Houses of Commons, Room. There will be an opportunity for press interviews after the meeting from 4.00pm.

Media liaisions:

Jamima Fagta
E: secretary@chrp.org.uk
M: +447958 389370

Rafael Joseph Maramag
E: info@chrp.org.uk
M: +447958 482753

Related links:

Eventbrite page: www.london-peace-forum.eventbrite.co.uk
Website info: www.chrp.org.uk/2017/london-peace-forum-venue-changed

Download versions: pdf, docx, jpg p1, jpg p2

January 19, 2017   No Comments

Global support for the urgent calls from our Filipino brothers and sisters

Dear Friends,

Warmest greetings!

With this message, we continue to call on the international community to support the Filipino people’s aspiration for just and lasting peace in the land.

Please find below, statements and (photos of) actions from various migrant and solidarity organizations across the globe, expressing their support for the urgent calls from our Filipino brothers and sisters:

1. New Zealand
2. Australia
3. Canada
4. Belgium
5. Italy
6. New York

In solidarity,

Angie M. Gonzales
Coordinator
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

#FreeAllPoliticalPrisonersNOW
#StoptheKillings
#JustPeacePH

1. New Zealand

Human Rights Day Statement: New Zealand Solidarity Groups Call for Release of Political Prisoners and End to Extrajudicial Killings
10 December 2016

As long time supporters of the struggle for genuine democracy and peace in the Philippines we are pleased to see some positive change under the Duterte Administration.

It is great to see mining companies breaching Philippine environmental law are finally being shut down and the Philippine government asserting an independent foreign policy from the United States.  We are also pleased Duterte has reopened peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and seeks a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict.

Unfortunately there have been some concerning developments for human rights in recent months.

Oplan Tokhang, the Duterte Administration’s war on drugs, is giving the Philippine National Police impunity to shoot drug suspects, without first attempting arrest.

Thousands of people, mostly in urban poor communities, have been killed by the state or vigilante groups.  We are very concerned to hear of cases of mistaken identity, in which innocent people with no connection to the drug trade and even children have been killed.

Drug war used as cover to attack activists

The Philippine security forces have long used the counterinsurgency against the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) as an excuse to attack activist groups.  Now Karapatan and other leading human rights groups have documented several cases of state and vigilante forces using the drug war as a front to arrest activists on trumped up charges or even violently attack them.

In October a group of farmer activists, resisting land grabbing in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, were arrested on drug charges, allegedly after police officers planted evidence on them.

On December 5th Joel Lising, a leader of the Tri-Wheels Organization para sa Kabuhayan (PATOK), was gunned down in Tondo, Manila during the early hours of the morning.

Oplan Tokhang promotes lawlessness and can be used as a convenient cover to attack activists from the people’s movement.

Political prisoners

The plight of the 400 political prisoners in jails across the Philippines is also cause for great concern.

Some of these prisoners are elderly or facing poor health and should be released immediately on humanitarian grounds.  This will ensure there is no repeat scenario like the recent tragic death of Bernabe Ocasla, who died of a stroke in custody on November 25.

Even for those political prisoners in good health a general release is the right thing to do.  Many of these prisoners were arrested on trumped up charges under the Arroyo and Aquino Administrations. Under these Administrations the authorities filed false charges to get activists out of action.

For the sake of justice and supporting the peace talks we urge President Duterte to release all political prisoners.  We also call for those responsible for extrajudicial killings be prosecuted and for the drug war not to be used as a front to attack activists.

Cameron Walker
Auckland Philippines Solidarity
ph.solidarity@gmail.com

Murray Horton
Philippine Solidarity Network of Aotearoa
cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

Rod Prosser
Wellington Kiwi Pinoy
communitymedia@paradise.net.nz

2.  Australia

Members of ICHRP Australia Chapter troop to the Philippine Embassy to call for the immediate release of political prisoners and for just and lasting peace in the country. Photo on the right shows Peter Murphy, Chairperson of the Global Council of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, handing in ICHRP’s letter to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to Consul Marford Angeles.

3. Canada

10 December 2016

AN OPEN LETTER
To His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte

RE:  Marking the 68th anniversary of International Human Rights Day

Mr. President,

The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR), the Alliance for Peoples’ Health and Migrante BC, join the Filipino human rights defenders, peace advocates and international rights groups in marking International Human Rights Day.

We are concerned about the extrajudicial killings being committed in your government’s war on drugs. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the government’s anti-drug war “Oplan Double Barrel” has resulted in the killing of 1,959 suspected drug pushers and addicts in police operations nationwide while 2,646 others were victims of summary execution as of
Nov. 23, bringing the total to 4,605 dead since you took office in July 2016.

We note that these killings are happening within the context of the military’s counterinsurgency operations that continue to violate the human rights of the Filipino citizens.

We are aware of the ongoing civil war in the country. We strongly support the continuing Peace Talks between the Philippine  government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to work on ending this war. The people suffer from widespread social and economic inequality thus,  economic and social reforms will help address the roots of the armed conflict.

Mr. President, to ensure that the peace talks continue, we urge you to release ALL THE POLITICAL PRISONERS which includes the sick, elderly and women.

We CALL ON YOUR GOVERNMENT TO:

Stop the killings! Stop the anti-drug war “Oplan Double Barrel!”
Demand transparent and credible investigation into these drug-related killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Address the root causes of the drug problem by creating livelihood and opportunities in under-served communities.
Facilitate the immediate release of ALL Political Prisoners!
Uphold the rights of citizens against unwarranted and unjustified arrest and detention and correct the injustice against them.
Continue the PEACE TALKS between your government and the National Democratic Front (NDF)

Respectfully yours,

Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
Alliance for People’s Health (APH)
Migrante BC

Copy furnished:

Hon. Jesus Dureza
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), 7th Floor Agustin Building I, Emerald Avenue, Pasig City 1605 Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066 | Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Email: stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph, feedback@opapp.net
Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana
Secretary, Department of National Defense, Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600 | Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: info@dnd.gov.ph, webmaster@dnd.gov.ph
Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre
Secretary, Department of Justice, Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721 | Trunkline: 523-84-81 loc.214 | Fax: (+632) 521-1614 Email: communications@doj.gov.ph
Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188 | Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com
Neil Frank Ferrer
Consul General
Philippine Consulate General
999 Canada Place, Suite 660
Vancouver, B.C., V6C 3E1

KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
National Office
Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org; karapatan@karapatan.org

Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Canada-Philippines-Solidarity-for-Human-Rights/

Member:  International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-Canada)/ Stop the Killings Network (STKN-Canada)/ International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Canada)/ International Women’s Alliance (IWA)/ Coalition for Migrant Workers Justice (C4MWJ)/ Mining Justice Alliance (MJA)
Associate Member: International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA)
Proud Supporter of Bayan-Canada and Migrante-Canada

4. Belgium
December 8: Stop the Killings Network – Belgium supports the calls to end the killings and free all political prisoners in the Philippines!
Video: https://www.facebook.com/ICHRPhilippines/videos/vb.119250371509814/942057582562418/?type=2&theater

5. Rome, Italy
December 10, 2016: International Human Rights Day
JustPeacePH members join Migrante Europe in commemorating the International Human Rights Day in Rome, Italy. Upper left photo shows lawyers from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers with ICHRP Global Council member Luciano Seller calling for the immediate release of political prisoners.

6. New York, United States of America

On International Human Rights Day, NYCHRP demands the release of political prisoners and justice for human rights violations!
The New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) was formally founded on December 10, 2004, in New York City during the U.S.-wide speaking tour of Marie Hilao-Enriquez, then secretary general of KARAPATAN, the largest and most militant alliance of human rights organizations in the Philippines.

Since then, our organization has grown and continued to commit ourselves to advancing the Filipino people’s struggle for self-determination and national liberation. For over a decade, NYCHRP has met this goal by acting as a public information bureau for the current human rights situation in the Philippines, conducting campaigns and advocacy to advance the rights of Filipinos back home and in the diaspora, participating in exposure trips and fact-finding missions in the Philippines, and building networks with human rights defenders in NYC to bolster our movement.

Join us today at our anniversary event to fight for the release of political prisoners who are being used as pawns by President Duterte in the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. We also demand justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings, especially as the poor, marginalized, and resisting masses have systematically become targets. True just and lasting peace comes from securing fundamental social and economic rights and upholding human rights across the board!

LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

__._,_.___

Posted by: International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

December 22, 2016   No Comments

New Zealand Solidarity Groups Call for Release of Political Prisoners and End to Extrajudicial Killings

Human Rights Day Statement:
New Zealand Solidarity Groups Call for Release of Political Prisoners and End to Extrajudicial Killings
10 December 2016

As long time supporters of the struggle for genuine democracy and peace in the Philippines we are pleased to see some positive change under the Duterte Administration.
It is great to see mining companies breaching Philippine environmental law are finally being shut down and the Philippine government asserting an independent foreign policy from the United States.  We are also pleased Duterte has reopened peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and seeks a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict.
Unfortunately there have been some concerning developments for human rights in recent months.
Oplan Tokhang, the Duterte Administration’s war on drugs, is giving the Philippine National Police impunity to shoot drug suspects, without first attempting arrest.
Thousands of people, mostly in urban poor communities, have been killed by the state or vigilante groups.  We are very concerned to hear of cases of mistaken identity, in which innocent people with no connection to the drug trade and even children have been killed.
Drug war used as cover to attack activists
The Philippine security forces have long used the counterinsurgency against the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) as an excuse to attack activist groups.  Now Karapatan and other leading human rights groups have documented several cases of state and vigilante forces using the drug war as a front to arrest activists on trumped up charges or even violently attack them.
In October a group of farmer activists, resisting land grabbing in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, were arrested on drug charges, allegedly after police officers planted evidence on them.
On December 5th Joel Lising, a leader of the Tri-Wheels Organization para sa Kabuhayan (PATOK), was gunned down in Tondo, Manila during the early hours of the morning.
Oplan Tokhang promotes lawlessness and can be used as a convenient cover to attack activists from the people’s movement.
Political prisoners
The plight of the 400 political prisoners in jails across the Philippines is also cause for great concern.
Some of these prisoners are elderly or facing poor health and should be released immediately on humanitarian grounds.  This will ensure there is no repeat scenario like the recent tragic death of Bernabe Ocasla, who died of a stroke in custody on November 25.
Even for those political prisoners in good health a general release is the right thing to do.  Many of these prisoners were arrested on trumped up charges under the Arroyo and Aquino Administrations. Under these Administrations the authorities filed false charges to get activists out of action.
For the sake of justice and supporting the peace talks we urge President Duterte to release all political prisoners.  We also call for those responsible for extrajudicial killings be prosecuted and for the drug war not to be used as a front to attack activists.

Cameron Walker
Auckland Philippines Solidarity
ph.solidarity@gmail.com

Murray Horton
Philippine Solidarity Network of Aotearoa
cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

Rod Prosser
Wellington Kiwi Pinoy
communitymedia@paradise.net.nz

December 22, 2016   No Comments