August, 2018

Stop the Blacklisting of Non-Filipino Human Rights Defenders - Karapatan

“President Duterte is obviously easily ticked-off by non-Filipino human rights defenders and activists expressing solidarity and grave concern on the human rights situation in the Philippines. His regime’s intolerance and harassment of these foreigners, while working in concert with the US, China and other governments in the plunder of the country’s resources and in pursuing anti-people policies, betray the hollowness of his rhetoric on national sovereignty and independent foreign policy,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General.
 

Karapatan’s Solidarity Message to the US National Prison Strikers

Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights - Philippines stands in solidarity with the prison strikers who are currently staging a nineteen-day peaceful protest across the US, as we express our concern over the grave human rights violations occurring in US prisons that are driving these incarcerated men and women to mobilize and assert their rights. 

11 massacres under Duterte, 51 victims, and zero accountability – Karapatan

“There is zero accountability for the atrocious crimes done by past and present regimes. September 1, 2018 will mark the 3rd year since the massacre of Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo, and school executive Emerito Samarca in Brgy. Diatagaon, Lianga, Caraga. The perpetrators, though identified, are still roaming freely in communities. They are being presented as “rebel surrenderees” even if they have always been in active military service of the Philippine Army as paramilitary members. We can never expect justice from the Duterte regime, considering it has merely continued the brutal massacre of peasant and indigenous peoples and worse, it has conducted the mass murder of the poor through its drug war,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor in a press conference in Quezon City.
  

Karapatan hits GMA, Malacañang officials on proposals to extend martial law in Mindanao, after Sultan Kudarat bombing

Karapatan slammed the pronouncements of Malacañang officials and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao, as the human rights group conveyed its condolences to the families of those who were killed in the bombing in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat on August 28, 2018.

Solidarity statement for dying political prisoner in Russian labor camp

Karapatan stands in solidarity with Ukrainian writer and director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced in Russia to 20 years of strict-regimen labor colony on trumped-up charges of terrorism. Today is the 94th day of his hunger-strike and his health condition has dramatically deteriorated, leaving him near death. 

AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command whitewashes ML violations, drumbeats old, brazen lies

On August 23, 2018, the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, during its 12th anniversary celebration at the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao in Panacan, Davao City, again announced that there are no rights violations during the more than one-year implementation of martial law in Mindanao. The event was attended by President Rodrigo Duterte.
 
 

Karapatan slams the acquittal of police officers charged for grave coercion filed by tortured security guard Rolly Panesa

“For the beatings, the torture, for 11 months in imprison for a case of mistaken identity, is PhP60,000 considered justice being served? I want to see them rot in jail. These officers, owing from their corrupt institution, were cruel. They do not respect people or care about rights; they will surely do this again to someone else if given the opportunity, falsely charging another person for money. The acquittal of the guilty is how the police are enabled to commit more violations,” said security guard and complainant Rolly Panesa after hearing the court verdict acquitting four police officers charged for grave coercion.

Marcoses hounded by their crimes, forever memorialised as a cabal of murderers, torturers and plunderers - Karapatan

Karapatan slammed Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos’ “self-appointment as speaker of the millennial generation” and her subsequent statements pertaining to the 21 grim years of martial law, calling her generation to “move on”. On August 21, Imee Marcos said in a press conference that “The millennials have moved on [from Martial Law]” and thus, so should people of her generation.

Karapatan condemns massacre of seven CPP-NDF staff, cover-up by gov’t operatives

"Stop justifying the unjustifiable,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the massacre of seven personnel of the National Democratic Front (NDF)  and Communist Party of the Philippines in Panay, and the consequent cover-up orchestrated by state security forces thereafter.

Duterte’s antics, pitch for another Marcos presidency are deplorable - Karapatan

“Duterte’s antics are now becoming tiring. This regime has made it a habit to be as dramatic as possible, sensationalizing the choosing of his “successor” as if it is his choice to make. We are irked that once again, he is conditioning the public for another Marcos presidency, knowing full well how that wretched family plundered and violated the country,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on Duterte’s pronouncements made on August 14, addressing an audience composed of business executives and politicians in Malacañang.

Duterte’s drug war caused irreparable damage to communities and families - Karapatan

“Today, we remember and commemorate the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos. We likewise remember all the victims of the Duterte regime’s brutal war on drugs. The estimates point to more than 20,000 casualties while no significant and fundamental change has been observed in the government’s anti-narcotics drive. The Duterte regime is stuck in a rut. It does not know how to end the “war” that it has confidently started. As we are confronted with thousands of dead Filipinos in the wake of this campaign, Duterte will have to deal with thousands more of each victims’ families who are out to seek justice,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the first year commemoration of Kian Delos Santos’ killing.
 
 

Two peasant leaders arrested in Southern Tagalog

Karapatan condemns the illegal arrest of two farmers, Arnold Albarillo and Mylene Santua, in two separate incidents in the Southern Tagalog Region. The arrests came days after spouses Rowena and Oliver Rosales, former organizers of public sector union Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), were abducted by operatives in Bulacan and taken to Camp Crame, Quezon City. All four are now facing trumped-up charges filed against them.
 

Former public sector union organizers arrested

Former officers and organizers of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) were abducted on August 11, 2018. Spouses Rowena and Oliver Rosales were forcibly taken while onboard their privately-owned tricycle at Galvez St., Brgy. Wawa, Balagtas, Bulacan, and were later taken to Camp Crame, Quezon City. Rowena was shown a warrant of arrest for trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, the same warrant used against Courage member Juan Alexander Reyes on June 2, 2018.

Karapatan welcomes dismissal of trumped-up charges vs Makabayan4, calls for abolition of IACLA

On August 8, 2018, Judge Tese Wenceslao of the Palayan Regional Trial Court Branch 40 quashed the warrant of arrest against former Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino, former Gabriela representative and National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Secretary Liza Maza, and former Anakpawis representative and former Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano. Trumped-up murder charges against the #Makabayan4 were likewise dismissed. 

Stop terror-tagging of activists, political dissenters - Karapatan

Karapatan welcomed the order of Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar to drop the names of former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, peace consultant Rafael Baylosis, UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and lawyer Jose Molintas in the proscription petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in February 2018. The rights group further called for the withdrawal of the entire proscription petition.

Hands Off Gill Boehringer! Hands off human rights defenders! - Karapatan

“We stress that Prof. Gill Boehringer should be allowed entry in the Philippines. He is suffering from serious ailments that need medical attention. He needs to be transferred to a medical facility with adequate equipment. The detention and blacklisting of an 84-year-old man with a medical condition show the cruelty of this regime, adamant to harass and intimidate rights defenders who have worked for years in defending and promoting human rights in the country,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, adding that Boehringer has been under custody of the Bureau of Immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 since midnight of August 8, 2018. As of this writing, Prof. Boehringer is still at NAIA 1. 

Rise Up volunteer killed in Cebu, harassment vs activists continue

On August 8, 2018, human rights defender and Rise Up-Cebu volunteer Butch Rosales, 42, was shot in broad daylight while inside a jeepney. Rosales was on his way to Mandaue from Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City. He boarded a multicab jeepney and sat at the front passenger seat while the assailant sat at the back. The gunman shot Rosales at the head several times and took off on a waiting getaway motorcycle driven by another man; the perpetrators did not wear masks.

Solidarity statement for the students of Bangladesh and Shahidul Alam

Karapatan stands in solidarity with the students and human rights defenders in Dhaka, Bangladesh who protested against corruption in their country, and took a stand amid the deaths of two young children due to poor oversight of vehicles and road conditions.

Australian law professor denied entry to the Philippines

Prof. Gill Boehringer, 84 years old, with dual citizenship in the US and Australia, law professor in Australia, and a long-time human rights advocate in the Philippines, is being held by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 since 12 midnight of August 8, 2018, upon his arrival from Sydney. The professor is set to be deported after being told that he was among those blacklisted, allegedly for joining protest actions and fact finding missions in the Philippines.

Prof Gill Boehringer

(Photo of Prof. Gill Boehringer) 

Karapatan to DOJ Sec Guevarra: Your irresponsibility is endangering lives

On August 6, in a budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra admitted that the DOJ did not personally verify information before tagging 649 people in the petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations. Guevarra further added that the names and aliases all came from the intelligence units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

On the 20th year of landmark peace and human rights agreement between GRP, NDFP, rights violations continue unabated

Karapatan, along with Kadamay and Balikwas Kadamay, filed 15 complaints on human rights violations under the Duterte government at the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on August 7, 2018.
 

Nat’l ID system, a wolf in sheep’s clothing

“Time and again, we have reiterated that this law, the national identification system, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the ratification of the national ID system, adding that this will lead to wholesale rights violations, primarily of the people’s rights to freedom of movement and privacy, right against surveillance, and right to unhampered and non-discriminatory provision of social services.

Women’s rights group condemns persecution of Makabayan reps, supports #DefendLiza campaign

Tanggol Bayi, an association of women human rights defenders in the Philippines, condemns the political persecution mounted by the Duterte regime against the four former Makabayan representatives. We express our support for National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza. We have worked with her and her office in defining the agenda for urban poor women, especially for women vendors in the informal sector who lack insurance and any form of social protection, as well as in the staunch defense of WHRDs at risk or those under attack.  

Unchecked, arbitrary military powers under ML suffocating indigenous communities in Mindanao

“The Philippine military’s design for the communities in Lianga, Surigao del Sur is not just one of a quick execution of individuals, similar to the work of their paramilitary minions in September 2015. This is systemic, brutal and cruel persecution of an entire community in defense of their ancestral land by denying them security, food, water, medicine, and other necessities. Essentially, this is State terror compounded by the unchecked, arbitrary powers of the military under Mindanao martial law,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
 
 
(Photo from Save Our Schools-Caraga)

PNP, NutriAsia use tanim-suspect scheme to criminalise workers, their supporters and journalists - Karapatan

“Philippine National Police and NutriAsia used an inmate who has already been imprisoned since 2016, beat him to force him into a script of being among the striking workers, and used him as evidence to justify the brutality during the dispersal is an act of imbecility. This is reflective of how the PNP uses false stories to justify their crimes, and their complete disregard for the people’s rights. We strongly condemn the cheap tricks of these disgusting, spineless, shameless, and lying con artists,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.