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Category — Statements

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)

————————-

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
__._,_.___

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

Unity Statement On Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s Project to Operationalize the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

Unity Statement
On Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s Project to Operationalize the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

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In the past two months, the Department of Energy (DOE) under the leadership of Secretary Alfonso Cusi has shown renewed interest in reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). A week after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that nuclear power was not going to happen under his watch, Secretary Cusi announced on November 11 that he had been able to get the green light from the President to “proceed to work for <BNPP’s> rehabilitation and full operation.”
We, theNetwork Opposed to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Revival (NO to BNPP Revival) protest this planned rehabilitation of the BNPP, based on the firm assertion that its operationalization will be detrimental to the environment and our people.
We stand strong in our resistance against the DOE and Secretary Cusi’s decision to even consider the BNPP as a safe and viable source of energy at this point in time. We enjoin the public to stand against the BNPP’s revival on the following grounds:
Built on the slopes of Mt., Natib, a capable volcano, and on the active Lubao fault, the BNPP stands on a massive geohazard area that can be affected, if not destroyed, by natural calamities at any time. No technological advancements prevent, or prepare us for, disaster, and this has been proven by the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan where an earthquake caused serious damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. As such it is clear that operationalizing the BNPP, given where it stands, will put the lives and health of millions in inestimable danger.
The construction of the BNPP was completed in 1984,using technology which at this point in time is close to obsolete. DOE’s estimate that it would take only $1 billion dollars to make the plant operational is based on a 2011 study and reflects prices from five years ago. In reality, it would now require billions of dollars, as well as extensive research, to rehabilitate the BNPP with the latest technology. This money is better spent towards harnessing safe indigenous energy sources.
Uranium, the primary fuel that is used to operate a nuclear power plant is a foreign resource that has been going through constant price increases due to scarcity. BNPP’s operation willincrease our dependence on foreign imported – and expensive – radioactive fuels, whichputs into question the assertion that it will mean cheaper electricity for all Filipinos.
Nuclear waste storage and disposal technology is a health hazard for the people of Bataan and neighboring provinces. The harmful effects of nuclear materials are severe and lasting, with toxicity lasting for thousands of years.
Reviving the BNPP will not solve electricity shortages as these are caused not by an extreme undersupply of electricity but by market mechanisms that manipulate supply to increase prices.
The BNPP is a health hazard and environmental threat, one that previous governments have kept closed for good reason: even the dictator Ferdinand Marcos himself did not dare push through with operationalizing the BNPP, after his own 1980 Puno Commission declared it unsafe.
In the present, the BNPP is a monument to the Marcos regime’s reign of corruption. The dictator left us with a $2.3 billion-dollar debt for the power plant’s construction, which the Filipino people paid back for 30 years. Taxpayers’ money has also been used to pay for the annual maintenance of the BNPP, amounting to P50 million pesos a year.
The Network Opposed to BNPP Revival sees this orchestrated effort to revive the BNPP as symbolic of the possible return to the era of anti-environment and anti-people policies, laden with corruption and lack of transparency, all of which hark back to Marcos’s oppressive and violent regime.
A Martial Law remnant such as the defective and dangerous BNPP should not be allowed to operate. We stand united in our resistance against the revival of the BNPP, as well as against all other policies that will cause the plunder of our environment and our nation. We pledge to strengthen our campaign against the BNPP revival and encourage everyone to join us in our fight for safe, affordable electricity as a public utility.
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT, UPHOLD PEOPLE’S RIGHTS, NO TO BNPP REVIVAL!
Signed:
Network Opposed to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Revival (NO to BNPP Revival)
AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM) | Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) | Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC-Phils) | AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women | Ban Toxics | Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) | #NoToBNPP (facebook.com/NoToBNPP) | Erni Mayen Maray – Teacher, AGHAM NCR | Maria Fe Resol – AGHAM NCR | Dr. Amado Angeles – Animal Scientist, AGHAM UPLB | Carol Araullo – Chairperson, BAYAN | Carmelito Tatlonghari – Retired Radiation Control Superintendent, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant | Vito Hernandez – Faculty member, University of the Philippines-Science and Society Program | Dr. Teodoro Mendoza – Institute of Crop Science, College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños | Teresita R. Perez – Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science, Ateneo de Manila University | Dr. Romy Quijano – Retired Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila | Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo – Geologist, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago | Dr. Fernando Siringan – Marine Science Specialist
***


Make science and technology serve the people!

AGHAM-ADVOCATES OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PEOPLE
2nd Floor Elden Tejada Building
# 2 K-H Street, West Kamias, Quezon City
T: +63 2 998 4226

URL: www.agham.org

December 5, 2016   No Comments

STATEMENT OF Health Action for Human Rights ON THE DEATH OF POLITICAL PRISONER, BERNABE OCASLA

 HEALTH ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Unit 307 Casa Rafael   1223 Quezon Ave., Quezon City
Email: hahrnet@yahoo.com     Telephone (02) 9210586

STATEMENT OF Health Action for Human Rights ON THE DEATH OF POLITICAL PRISONER,
BERNABE OCASLA
 

November 29, 2016
 
Death of Political Prisoner, Bernabe Ocasla:
the First and Should be the Last Under the Duterte Administration
 
At 66 years old, and spending 9 of those years in prison, BERNABE M. OCASLA’s hope of being released under President Duterte’s administration will not be realized. Ocasla died yesterday (November 28, 2016) at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, he did not wake up from a three-day comatose after suffering a cerebrovascular hemorrhage (stroke) while in detention at the Manila City Jail.
 
Ocasla hailed from the Visayas Islands, was a peasant organizer, arrested in 2007 on trumped up charges. Although the slow justice system in the country would render anyone in his situation hopeless, he and many detainees found hope in President Duterte’s promise of releasing political prisoners and pursuing the Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). He complained of constant headaches, episodes of blurring of vision, and high blood pressure, was worried of irregular supply of medicines, but he beamed at the thought of all these ending soon, as their release is near.
 
The Duterte Administration was quick to start anew the Peace Talks with the NDFP, and while it gave statements of committing to previous agreements and vowed to end the talks in months, these pronouncements remain hollow. The promise of releasing political prisoners is yet to be fulfilled.
 
As most of the political prisoners should be released for being elderly and sick, President Duterte must realize that their suffering must end now. The death of Ocasla, though the first under his administration, should also be the LAST! It is already a grave injustice that one is being persecuted for defending the toiling masses, aiding in the prolonging of this injustice is as condemnable.
 
Justice for the death of Bernabe Ocasla!
Release all Political Prisoners!
 

Reference: Geneve R. Reyes, MD (09088624524)

November 29, 2016   No Comments

A Statement from Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Dear Friends,
We wish to share with you the following statement from Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines).
Asian Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong
————-
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-FST-023-2016
23 November 2016
A Statement from Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission
WORLD/PHILIPPINES: Stop the killings! End impunity! Human rights for all!
There has been an epidemic of summary killings and extrajudicial executions across the Philippines for decades now. From 1998 to December 2015, a total of 1,424 were documented to have been killed by the so-called Davao Death Squad in Davao City. More such killings, often perpetrated by so-called “riding in tandem” killers and death squads, had taken place and continue to take place in other cities such as Tagum, Digos, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Cebu and in other cities in the Visayas and Luzon.
In the first five months of the Duterte administration, however, the killings have only gotten worse, with nearly 5,000 people killed in its brutal war on drugs in that short period. More than 2,000 died in police operations while the rest were killed by unidentified assailants, or what the police calls “deaths under investigations” that appear to be death squad killings. A number of children were among those killed.
President Duterte campaigned on a platform of reducing crime and illegal drugs. But instead of fixing the country’s long-standing rule-of-law problems, he and his top officials incite and encourage law enforcers to commit even more killings and even more abuses. While some of these killings are being investigated both by the police and the Commission on Human Rights, no one has been charged, signalling what appears to be complete impunity.
The Duterte administration has likewise taken steps to erode human rights and civil liberties. The president’s allies have filed bills in Congress to reinstate the death penalty and to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old. He has floated the idea of suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and imposing martial law. He has likewise approved the burial of the dictator Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite opposition from those who suffered under the dictatorship.
President Duterte has been trying to discredit institutions that can check official abuse of power, such as the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and nongovernment groups critical of the killings. He has attacked the United Nations and the Human Rights Council as well as western countries whose representatives have expressed concern about the human rights situation in the Philippines. He also wants the Philippines to get out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after other countries with despotic regimes have done so.
Unlike previous administrations that have denied complicity in past extrajudicial killings, the Duterte government encourages these abuses and even promises protection to the perpetrators, taking an already egregious human rights situation to a whole new and more dangerous level. It is time for these killings to stop and for the killers to be brought to justice.
We organized ourselves into the Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines) because civil society needs to take a firmer, stronger and principled stand against extrajudicial killings and the continued erosion of universal human rights in the Philippines. Like the human rights advocates that have campaigned against death squad killings since 1999, we are outraged by these violations and are committed to do what we can to stop the killings, demand accountability from government, assert human rights for all, and protect human rights defenders.
NAKPhilippines is an independent, non-partisan and broad alliance of various individuals, NGOs and civil society organizations concerned about human rights, civil liberties and rule of law in the Philippines.
Today, on the 7th anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, we hold a National Day of Prayer and Solidarity for Victims of Extrajudicial Killings and Their Families at the Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help, Redemptorist Church, Baclaran, in Manila. This is our way of acknowledging the pain and anguish of the families of thousands of victims of Duterte’s war on drugs and to press for our continuing demand for accountability and justice.
NETWORK AGAINST KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES (NAKPHILIPPINES)
Nov. 23, 2016
Manila, Philippines
Mobile: +63-922 849 4371
Email: networkagainstkillings@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/nakphilippines
Twitter: [@nakphilippines]@nakphilippines
The following groups and human rights advocates support and endorse this statement:
Asian Human Rights Commission (Hongkong)
Bahay Tuluyan (Philippines)
Bawgbug Advocates for Peace and Human Rights (Philippines)
Coalition Against Summary Execution (Case) (Philippines)
Cross Cultural Foundation (Thailand / Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director)
Human Rights Watch (USA)
Human Rights Office (Sri Lanka / Fr. Nandana Manatunga)
Jagaran Media Center (Nepal / Rem Bahadur Bishwokarma)
Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese (Hong Kong)
Katilingbanong Pagtambayayong (Philippines)
LBH Padang (Legal Aid) (Indonesia / Era Purnama Sari, Director)
Mindanao Peoples Caucus (Philippines)
Sentro (Philippines)
Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance (Nepal / Shailendra Prasad Harijan)
Interfaith Cooperation Forum in Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
Janasansadaya – Panadura (Sri lanka)
Conectas Human Rights (Brazil)
Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy (APILA) (Philippines)
Blue Veins (Pakistan/ Qamar Naseem, Program Coordinator)
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (Pakistan)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (Hong Kong)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO) (Cambodia)
Community Development Foundation Pakistan (Pakistan, Abdul Hameed Arain
Executive Director)
Centre for War Victims and Human Rights (Canada / Anton Philip, chair)
Odhikar (Bangladesh)
Sedane Labour Resource Center (Indonesia)
Bishop Broderick Pabillo (Philippines)
Bruce Van Voorhis (United States)
Christine Vertucci
Danilo Reyes (Hongkong)
Edna Andaya (Philippines)
Father Amado Picardal (Philippines)
Father Albert Alejo SJ (Philippines)
Fred Goddard (Philippines)
G.P. Amila Sampath (Sri Lanka)
Atty Romeo Cabarde (Philippines)
Atty. Manuel Quibod (Philippines)
Nina Rivera Ingle (Philippines)
Sr. Nichola (Sri Lanka)
Suren D. Perera (Sri Lanka)
Dr. Philip Setunga (Sri Lanka)
Prakash Mohara, Nepal
Avinash Pandey (India)
Hung Ling Yu, Jackie (Hong Kong)
Baseer Naweed (Pakistan)
Jeremy Simons (Philippines)
William Nicholas Gomes (United Kingdom)
Chris Biantoro (Indonesia)
Doris Lee (Hong Kong)
Yohana Sudarsono (Indonesia)
Nick Cheesman (Australia)
Zar Ali Khan Afridi (Pakistan)
Iqbal Alavi (Pakistan)
Kriangsak Teerakowitkajorn (Thailand)
Joy Hernandez (Hong Kong)
Sister Arnold Maria Noel, SSpS (Philippines)

The views shared in this statement do not necessarily reflect that of the AHRC.
# # #
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.
Read this Forwarded Statement online

Visit our website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

You can make a difference. Please support our work and make a donation here.

—————————–

Asian Human Rights Commission

G/F

52 Princess Margaret Road

Ho Man Tin, Kowloon

Hongkong S.A.R.

Tel: +(852) 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) 2698-6367

Web: www.humanrights.asia

twitter/youtube/facebook: humanrightsasia

November 25, 2016   No Comments

CHRP UK SAY: MARCOS NO HERO

20th November 2016

CHRP-UK PRESS STATEMENT

Reference/s:

Kaleb Lloyd, committee member, +447482 990557
Rafael Maramag, committee member, +447958 482753

 

The Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP), together with Filipino community organisations in the UK, joins the Filipino people, at home and overseas, in their condemnation and outrage over the guileful burial of the remains of the late dictator Marcos on Friday, 18th November 2016.

In a truly macabre, thief-like fashion, the abrupt burial of Marcos in the Heroes’ Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani) on Friday is an affront to all those real heroes of our country who resisted and died opposing the Marcos regime and who succeeded in finally bringing his dictatorship down. We condemn the Philippines Supreme Court for permitting this offensive ceremony.

We equally condemn President Duterte for granting state honours for this vicious dictator in an attempt to rewrite history. The Filipino people will never forget the 70,000 people imprisoned, 34,000 people tortured, around 3,200 people killed, and countless more who have been forcibly disappeared[1] during the Martial Law era.

We would instead urge the government to renew efforts to recover the $5-10 billion dollars of wealth plundered and hidden overseas by the Marcos family, and to provide restitution and compensation to the families of those who were killed, imprisoned, tortured or disappeared during the dictatorship.

The Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines has its roots in the Philippines Support Group (PSG) which opposed human rights abuses in the Marcos era. It was PSG former members who came together again in 2006 as human rights abuses were once more on the increase under President Macapagal Arroyo. CHRP has campaigned constantly to promote human rights in the Philippines since then, including bringing Philippine human rights defenders and families campaigning on behalf of victims on speaker tours of the UK.

The reality is that there has been little or no reform of the military since the Marcos martial law era. Successive administrations since Marcos, drawn from the traditional wealthy elite families, have been ready to allow a climate of impunity towards human rights abuses committed by the police and military. These have resulted in a continuing toll of deaths and disappearances among community activists, trade unionists, church workers, journalists and many others. It is no surprise that it was the same army which pushed through with this offensive ceremony honouring the former dictator.

We join the Filipino people in the home front and abroad, in the call for mounting mobilisations until 30th November by staging a protest in London on Tuesday, 22nd November from 4.00pm at the Philippine embassy.

 

MARCOS IS NOT A HERO!

NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!

JUSTICE TO ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

#MarcosNoHero

#NeverAgain

[1] http://www.amnesty.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/asa350251982en.pdf

November 20, 2016   No Comments