Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines

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#StopKillingFarmers: almost 50% of environmentalists killed in PH are farmers – Kalikasan

KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax: +632-920-9099 E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net  Website: www.kalikasan.net

PRESS RELEASE
31 March 2017

#StopKillingFarmers: almost 50 percent of environmentalists killed in PH are farmers – Kalikasan

Environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) joined the farmers from Southern Mindanao Region led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in a protest action today in Mendiola, Manila to condemn the worsening spate of killings among the farmers. The group said that of the recorded 117 environmental activists killed since 2001, almost 50 percent are peasant farmers.

“We are one with the farmers from Southern Mindanao in denouncing the worsening impunity by state forces against their communities. Farmers are the ones who are directly affected whenever destructive projects such as mining, megadams or plantations are constructed, it is the reason why they are also in the front lines against these projects, and extrajudicial killings have been the most convenient way for government forces to pacify them,” said Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

The group noted that 11 of the 16 environmental activists killed in just nine months under the Duterte administration, including the recent four anti-plantation and anti-mining peasant activists from Compostela Valley province. Suspected military elements figured also in 11 of these cases.

“The rate of killings among environmental advocates including farmers under the Duterte administration is now higher than the previous administrations of Arroyo and Aquino. It seems the fascist military under the Duterte administration is intent to continue its business-as-usual of violating human rights for a living,” Bautista added.

“Military,police, paramilitary and private armed groups that serves as the protectors of big business interests are  the primary suspects of these killings. AFP’s ‘All-Out War’ and counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan has been used as a tool to brutally suppress unarmed civilians in the countryside that are defending their land and livelihood,” said Bautista.

The group cited the previous statements made by the AFP that their unabated military operations were also to secure ‘vital installations’ in the countryside that include large-scale mines, plantations, and other big business projects.

“We have long been raising the issue of rising killings among farmers and environmentalist to the Duterte administration. There is still no move by the current administration to resolve the cases. Duterte should immediately stop its bloody streak and launch a full-blown national investigation of the various killings of environment defenders especially the peasant farmers,” Bautista ended.#

Reference: Clemente Bautista – 0905 432 5211

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 920 90 99 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net

April 1, 2017   No Comments

Philippines: Pursue justice, end impunity

Pursue justice, end impunity
30 March 2017

MEDIA RELEASE
No letting up in their pursuit of justice, the Morong 43 health workers together with Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) trooped to the 7th Division of the Sandiganbayan today to attend an original schedule of arraignment against military and police officers who illegally arrested and detained them on February 6, 2010. However, the supposed arraignment shall not anymore include in the complaint former president and now Congw. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Generals Ibrado and Bangit.
Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance maintained that Arroyo, Ibrado and Bangit should not have been exonerated on the torture raps filed by the Morong 43.  In an October 2016 resolution, the Ombudsman decided to absolve Arroyo, Ibrado and Bangit of any responsibility regarding the torture complaint. Although the the victims, their relatives, and colleagues felt hurt and disappointed by the decision, they nevertheless  support the Ombudsman’s new motion to file complaints against the other military officials, including Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, then commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division when his men swooped down on a training facility in Morong on February 6, 2010, for violation of RA 7438 or Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation.
In their affidavit, the Morong 43 attested that upon arrest, they were denied of their right to be assisted by a legal counsel. According to them, they were only allowed to consult with their lawyers after 5 days in detention at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. The 43 health workers were conducting basic health skills training when they were frisked, illegally arrested and detained by elements of the PNP and AFP on February 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal.
The violation of the right to counsel is but a mere fraction of the vast human right violations committed against the Morong 43. With this development, the Morong 43 and the Alliance remain hopeful that justice will be served and all those who perpetrate impunity will be made accountable.##
UPDATE (as of 11:00 am):
Upon appearance at the Sandiganbayan, the Morong 43 and their legal counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), they were informed that most of the accused have filed meanwhile motions to quash the charges and which were heard earlier last March 24. In their statement, the NUPL said that, “Unbeknownst to the handling NUPL lawyers who were set to formally enter their appearance as private prosecutors today.”
Upon verification with the court, the NUPL found out that “it had already issued an order on the same date requiring the prosecution to comment within 30 days, and at the same time, cancelling today’s scheduled arraignment and resetting it to May 28. The complainants were not priorly notified of such cancellation.”
Reference:         Dr. Alex Montes – 0955-1763202| +63 2 929-8109

April 1, 2017   No Comments

Pursue justice, end impunity

Pursue justice, end impunity
30 March 2017

MEDIA RELEASE
No letting up in their pursuit of justice, the Morong 43 health workers together with Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) trooped to the 7th Division of the Sandiganbayan today to attend an original schedule of arraignment against military and police officers who illegally arrested and detained them on February 6, 2010. However, the supposed arraignment shall not anymore include in the complaint former president and now Congw. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Generals Ibrado and Bangit.
Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance maintained that Arroyo, Ibrado and Bangit should not have been exonerated on the torture raps filed by the Morong 43.  In an October 2016 resolution, the Ombudsman decided to absolve Arroyo, Ibrado and Bangit of any responsibility regarding the torture complaint. Although the the victims, their relatives, and colleagues felt hurt and disappointed by the decision, they nevertheless  support the Ombudsman’s new motion to file complaints against the other military officials, including Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, then commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division when his men swooped down on a training facility in Morong on February 6, 2010, for violation of RA 7438 or Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation.
In their affidavit, the Morong 43 attested that upon arrest, they were denied of their right to be assisted by a legal counsel. According to them, they were only allowed to consult with their lawyers after 5 days in detention at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. The 43 health workers were conducting basic health skills training when they were frisked, illegally arrested and detained by elements of the PNP and AFP on February 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal.
The violation of the right to counsel is but a mere fraction of the vast human right violations committed against the Morong 43. With this development, the Morong 43 and the Alliance remain hopeful that justice will be served and all those who perpetrate impunity will be made accountable.##
UPDATE (as of 11:00 am):
Upon appearance at the Sandiganbayan, the Morong 43 and their legal counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), they were informed that most of the accused have filed meanwhile motions to quash the charges and which were heard earlier last March 24. In their statement, the NUPL said that, “Unbeknownst to the handling NUPL lawyers who were set to formally enter their appearance as private prosecutors today.”
Upon verification with the court, the NUPL found out that “it had already issued an order on the same date requiring the prosecution to comment within 30 days, and at the same time, cancelling today’s scheduled arraignment and resetting it to May 28. The complainants were not priorly notified of such cancellation.”
Reference:         Dr. Alex Montes – 0955-1763202| +63 2 929-8109

March 30, 2017   No Comments

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0G2

Dear Honourable Freeland,

I am writing on behalf of the International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) – Canada to bring to your attention our concerns over military attacks on civilian targets in the Philippines and the potential connection to Canada.

Over the past two weeks, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been conducting a number of aerial strikes on indigenous and rural communities. The escalation of military aerial bombardment on civilians follows the decision of President Duterte on February 5, 2016 to call off the Peace Talks between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDFP). On March 9, the President instructed the military to ‘drop bombs’ on rebels and consider civilian casualties as ‘collateral damage’.  We are concerned that government forces could be using the Bell 412EP helicopters Canada sold in 2014 to the Philippine Army for these bombing attacks.

Since President Duterte’s declaration, the human rights organization, Karapatan, has reported at least 3 cases of military aerial bombings.

·         On March 11, at around 2pm, government troops who were conducting intensive operations in the province of Compostela Valley dropped at least ten bombs on three villages in the town of Mabini.

·          In a separate incident on the same day, March 11, a local organization, Suara Bangsamoro reported four bombs were dropped in Barangay Andabit, Maguindanao from FA-50 fighter jets from the 57th IBPA     forcing villagers to evacuate to neighbouring communities.

·         On March 13, members of a humanitarian mission led by Karapatan observed at least 2 Huey military helicopters hovering over the communities where troops of the Philippine Army were undertaking intensive operations in two villages in the town of Nasugbo, Batangas province.

·          On March 16, at least 14 bombs were dropped by members of the Philippine Army who were conducting military operations in the town of Malibcong, Abra province.

While there are no reports of civilian deaths caused by the military bombings, they have sown terror among the villagers causing them immense suffering.  Close to 650 families had been forcibly evacuated. In one case, the evacuees included 200 children. The bombings in Malibcong, Abra caused forest fires and burned rice fields.

When the Canadian government announced the sale of the 8 Bell 412EP helicopters to the Philippine Army in 2014, we raised our concerns to the government and parliamentarians that the helicopters might be used against civilian communities in military operations such as those now taking place.

Our concern that the Canadian helicopters might be used in such bombings follows reports by human rights organizations and Philippine newspapers about military helicopter bombings during counter-insurgency operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) where civilians were killed, injured and forced to flee.

Officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs assured us in 2014 that Canada’s military export control guidelines were followed in the sale of the Bell 412 helicopters. However, has there been follow-up to ensure respect of the guidelines?

Information we have gathered from internet sites about the Philippine Air Force (PAF) says that 3 of the Bell 412EP helicopters were commissioned “for VIP and 5 as combat utility helicopters.”  The 5 combat utility helicopters were commissioned to PAF’s 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing based in Benito Ebuen Air Base, which is responsible for conducting tactical helicopter operations in support of the Philippine Air Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Among the uses of combat utility helicopters are ground attacks and air assaults. Additionally, we’ve learned that another Canadian company, Calgary-based Eagle Copters Ltd, has been involved in another helicopter deal to the Philippines.

In view of the escalating occurrences of military bombings on civilian communities and President Duterte’s instruction to the military to use aerial bombings in the war against the NPA and to disregard the harm they inflict on civilian communities,

·         We wish to know if the Bell 412EP helicopters and other helicopters sold by Canada to the Philippine Army are being used in these bombing operations.

·         We strongly urge the Canadian government to  assess whether the criteria for the sale of the helicopters are being observed by the Philippine Army

·         We call on the Canadian government to suspend all sales of military goods and all defense-related assistance to and cooperation with the Philippine Government

·         We urge the Canadian government to call on President Duterte to put an immediate stop to the military aerial bombings on civilian communities and instead to vigorously pursue the continuation of the Peace Talks between the GRP and NDFP.

We look forward to hearing from the Minister’s office about this troubling issue and about measures being taken to ensure that Canada is not implicated in operations by the Philippine military against civilian communities through its sales of military goods, training and other defense-related interests.

Sincerely,

(Ms.) Bern Jagunos  (on behalf of the ICHRP – Canada)

__._,_.___
Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
Letter to Minister Freeland re-military bombings_March 2017.doc

March 30, 2017   No Comments

Compostela Valley a virtual ‘killing field’ of environment, land defenders

KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; 920-9099; E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net  Website: www.kalikasan.net

PRESS RELEASE
29 March 2017

Compostela Valley a virtual ‘killing field’ of environment, land defenders

With his children watching, 48 year-old farmer-leader Pedro Pandagay was shot dead by suspected military elements inside his residence in Barangay Anitapan, Mabini, Compostela Valley in the early morning of March 23, 2017.

A board of director of the Golden Valley Banana Planters Association, Pandagay was part of the widespread people’s resistance against banana plantations and the mining exploration of the Australia-based One Asia Resources mining firm. Violent attacks against land and environment defenders have escalated in the province under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, with Pandagay being the 6th case of environment-related killings in the province and the 16th since Duterte came to power.

“We highly condemn the murder of Pedro Pandagay as the latest in the worsening spate of killings against land and environment defenders under the Duterte administration. The supposed ‘new thrust’ of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ counter insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan is clearly no different from the previous administrations. The killings of environmental defenders spurred by militarization are at an even higher rate than the previous Arroyo and Aquino regimes,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

“The AFP’s Oplan Kapayapaan is a misnomer. Their all-out war has transformed Compostela Valley into a virtual killing field,” Dulce lamented.

Compostela Valley is known for its several agribusiness plantations and large-scale mining projects. These big business corporations are known to be highly destructive and pollutive to the environment, and continue to destroy and displace several communities in the province.

Just last March 27, three peasant activists active in land dispute struggles were also killed in separate occasions, also by suspected army intelligence operatives.

The AFP has categorically stated in past occasions that their unabated military operations were also to secure ‘vital installations’ in the countryside that include large-scale mines, plantations, and other big business projects.

Since 2001, there have been 117 cases of environment-related killings monitored by Kalikasan PNE. During Arroyo’s administration, killings reached an average of almost four cases per year, while the Aquino administration reached almost an average of 10 killings per year. The 16 cases of environment-related killings under Duterte occurred in just a span of nine months.

“We strongly urge the Duterte government to probe this alarming rise in killings and investigate the military, paramilitary, police, private armed security, and corporations involved in these cases. We are calling on the international community to help Filipino environmental activists demand accountability over the military’s impunity,” ended Dulce.

The group said they are also mulling the possibility of raising the spate of environment-related killings to the human rights bodies of the United Nations.#

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 920 90 99 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net

March 30, 2017   No Comments

AFP, paramilitary groups, mining companies terrorize residents in Sultan Kudarat town

Press Statement
March 29, 2017

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

AFP, paramilitary groups, mining companies terrorize residents in Sultan Kudarat town
http://www.karapatan.org/AFP%2C+paramilitary+groups%2C+mining+companies+terrorize+residents+in+Sultan+Kudarat+town

“The Marine Battalion Landing Team 2 (MBLT 2), in cahoots with the private guards of David M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI), a mining and logging company, have been wreaking havoc in communities in Sultan Kudarat. The MBLT 2 and DMCI tandem is a match made in hell, responsible for heinous crimes against the people, including the disappearance of two indigenous people in November 2016 and the recent evacuation of residents in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

On March 19, 2017, around 48 elements of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2 (MLBT 2) and company guards of DMCI, considered as paramilitaries, arrived in Sitio Tinagdanan, Brgy. Hinalaan, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat. According to a fact-finding mission led by KALUHHAMIN and KARAPATAN SOCKSARGEN on March 25, soldiers and paramilitary men encamped at the  town church and several civilian houses.

On March 20, an encounter ensued between the marines and the NPA. The soldiers blocked the main road and prevented residents from going in and out of the community. A resident, Omen Gantangan, was approached by the soldiers and was asked if his house could be destroyed for it to be used as a landing area of their helicopter. Military operations in the area prompted the evacuation of 17 families from Pangyon, Sitio Tinagdanan.

The next day, March 21, soldiers illegally arrested Mateo Gantangan and interrogated him for three hours, accusing him of being a member of the NPA. Residents also reported going back to their house only to find these damaged and their things and domestic animals stolen.

On March 22, 11 residents approached the marines to hand them a letter from Brgy. Captain Gerry Sulangoy. The letter was a request for the marines to allow the residents to evacuate, given that the soldiers blocked the main road. Instead of any positive response, the residents were accused of faking the letter and was detained and interrogated from 8am to 3pm. A lumad pastor, Godofredo Gantangay, who was among those detained was ordered to stay in a ‘sit-in-the-air’ position for seven hours and was repeatedly threatened to be killed. On the same day, the marines and DMCI guards went to the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) school in Sitio Tinagdanan and interrogated the students and the teachers.

“The continuing attacks against the Filipino people is sickening to the gut. It is a manifestation that State security forces are readily available for the defense of private companies and other State sanctioned policies to repress and suppress dissent. However, when it comes to the task of upholding human rights and showing basic decency towards marginalized communities, they arrive with their guns and tower at the people, feeling superior and invincible. Spreading fear and curtailing rights is what they are good at,” said Palabay.

“The military’s all-out-war rhetoric has resulted in intensified attacks against the Filipino people, fueled by the implementation of counter-insurgency programs in the countryside. With the number of political killings at 46 and the attacks against communities on the rise, the Duterte regime seems hell-bent in unraveling its fascist character with no-holds-barred. We must respond with continued indignation, with resistance, and with an ever urgent demand to discover all viable forms to change this damned system,” ended Palabay.

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

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

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

March 30, 2017   No Comments

Deadliest Place to Deal

Deadliest Place to Deal

Rodrigo Duterte swept to power in the Philippines promising to clean up
the country by ‘slaughtering’ anyone involved in illegal drugs. Livvy
Haydock investigates.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04tjf7w/deadliest-place-to-deal

Saw something on it on BBC breakfast news this morning – haven’t watched
it yet. Unfortunately looks like there is no place to comment to see if
there is follow up …

W

March 22, 2017   No Comments

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

PMPI PRESS RELEASE
20 MARCH 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–###–

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

March 22, 2017   No Comments

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

PMPI PRESS RELEASE
20 MARCH 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–###–

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

March 22, 2017   No Comments

Assassination of Mia-Mascariñas-Green, the wife of former VSO Stuart Green – urgent appeal

Dear friends,

Attached and below an appeal for support for the murder on Mia, the wife of Stuart Green, a former colleague of me when i was still working with the dutch volunteer organization SNV. Stuart was working then with the British organization SVO.
This murder again proves that the vested interests have complete disregard for human rights, be it farmers, workers, journalists, activists or layers.
It is very hard to comprehend a murder, even more a murder of mother in front of her three children.

Below the mail of Arthur Neame, a British colleague of Stuart, who took the initiative of this letter.

Hans

As you may know a little over a month ago Mia-Mascariñas-Green, the wife of former VSO Stuart Green was assassinated in broad daylight in the streets of Tagbilaran. The assassination occurred while Mia was driving her three children home during the afternoon . Her three children were in the back of the car as they watched their mother get hit by seven bullets as the gunmen fired more than 24 rounds at her car. Witnesses and Mia’s eldest daughter told how, as Mia was repeatedly hit, rather than looking at the gunmen she looked back to see if her children were ok.

Mia was an environmental lawyer, she would take up cases ‘pro bono’ for those who could not afford to pay. She was known for her hard work and integrity in a field of work that is, in the Philippines as elsewhere, often disparaged for being of primary service to the wealth and the corrupt. Mia believed in the rule law and in the possibility of the law being of service to all. She was a popular figure on Bohol and more than a thousand people attended her funeral in Bohol and a memorial mass was also conducted in Manila.

It would appear that Mia’s death stemmed from a land dispute which her clients opponents were about to (and have since) lost. Some details of Mia’s death and the case can be found here: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/872386/environmental-lawyer-killed and here: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/local-news/2017/02/18/bohol-lawyers-killers-identified-manhunt-526334

Stuart and his family are personal friends of me and my family here in the Philippines, they are also deeply popular in Bohol ; friends and colleagues of theirs in Bohol and Manila have requested everyone who can to keep raising questions concerning Mia’s murder and to keep pressing the authorities for conclusive results in their investigations. While I, with the advice of others, have put together this statement I have kept Stuart informed of this initiative and he told me that initiatives such as this give him the energy to keep going.

It is vital that pressure is maintained upon the authorities and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

It is intended that recipients of the letter will include:

Chief PNP Bato

The National Police Commission

Sec. Sueno, Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government

Preident Duterte and his Executive Secretary Bong Go

Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco

Vice President Leni Robredo

NBI Director Atty. Dante Gierran,

DOJ Sec Aguirre,

Edgardo M. Chatto, Governor of Bohol

First District Congressman Rene L. Relampagos.

Other Legislators

Members of the Press

I, along with others who have already signed up, am asking that:

1) former volunteers/development workers in the Philippines, Filipino family members and colleagues in the Philippines sign up to the attached letter. Please sign by sending your full name and email address;

2) Send this letter out far and wide to others who may wish to sign.

After one week the names of all those who have signed up will be added to the letter and we will send it out.

Yours, with thanks for your support

Arthur Neame and Arjan Heinen

__._,_.___

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

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Mia statement vols.docx

March 22, 2017   No Comments