October, 2018

Two members of paramilitary group charged with murder of Lumad student

In a resolution, the Department of Justice found probable cause to charge Ben Salangani and Joven Salangani, members of paramilitary group Alamara, for the murder of 19-year old Lumad Obello Bay-ao, a student of the alternative school Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC). 

Bay-ao’s parents through their legals counsels from the National Union of Peoples Lawyers received a copy of the resolution dated May 21, 2018 only yesterday. 

Karapatan’s Statement on the Worsening Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh

Karapatan stands in solidarity with the people of Bangladesh in their struggle against attacks on their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights by the ruling Awami League Party. 

Karapatan: Investigate role of local gov't officials, private armies in Sagay 9 massacre

Karapatan demands an independent, thorough investigation on the most plausible role of the private army of the Marañons composed of the Special Civilian Auxiliary Army (SCAA) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and mercenaries who are former RPA members in the massacre of the nine farmers in Sagay, Negros Occidental. 
(Photo: Members of the recently concluded National Fact Finding Mission in Sagay, Negros Occidental call for an impartial, thorough investigation on the role of local government officials and their private armies, particularly the involvement of SCAA elements in the Sagay 9 massacre).

Alarming Wave of Harassment Against Activists, Church Workers, Schools, Artists this October

Dear friends and colleagues,

This October 2018, the Duterte regime has stepped up its attacks against human rights defenders, wrongly tagging them once again as “terrorists” and circulating malicious accusations against activists, both online and offline. In the context of the intensifying human and people’s rights violations committed with impunity in the Philippines, we urgently seek your support in yet another wave of attacks against Filipino activists and church workers who work with poor communities in the country, as well as schools and artists who uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression.

Prior to this alarming spike in harassment incidents, the military was already floating the idea of a “destabilization plot”, sans the infamous “Red October” name. The September 21 protest in Luneta was met with the same accusations. However, following the commemoration of the 46th anniversary of martial law which culminated in a series of peaceful protests, contrary to the pernicious shadow that the military is trying to cast the protests in, State forces have again refocused  their relentless attacks against various sectors.

Karapatan has noted a series of harassment and intimidation efforts against rights defenders, ranging from surveillance of activists, to illegal arrests and enforced disappearances. It is notable that these activists and church workers are members of progressive organizations and church-based institutions, repeatedly red-tagged by the Duterte regime. The spike in attacks are a compounded result of the government’s peddling of its fictitious destabilization plot hilariously dubbed as “Red October,” the military and police’s collaboration through the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), and the regime’s counterinsurgency program.

Government’s keyboard warriors have reached a new level of low following malicious attacks vs activists - Karapatan

“It is no secret that the Duterte regime has weaponized social media to spread false information about the government’s so-called achievements and subsequently malign rights defenders and critics. These days, the attacks have reached a new level of filth, with activists not only branded as “terrorists” but also even capitalizing on utterly false and malicious rumors. A woman human rights defender from the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA) has been falsely and maliciously accused as a “mistress of a local politician” while another environmental advocate was tagged “kotong Lord of Ilocos.” These foul attacks are being done in a desperate attempt to malign the work of the defenders and lay the predicate for worse attacks against them,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Attacks vs activists escalate as 9 are arrested, 2 declared missing in the past week

“Karapatan condemns the worsening spate of attacks against activists and rights defenders, perpetrated by the Duterte regime and its security forces. Just this week, nine activists were illegally arrested in separate incidents in Laguna and Nueva Ecija, while two others were also declared missing. The spike in attacks are a compounded result of the government’s relentless red-tagging in line with its fictitious destabilization plot, the military and police’s collaboration through the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), and the regime’s counterinsurgency program,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Arrest of peace consultant, rights advocates violates peace agreements - Karapatan

Karapatan condemned the arrest of a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), along with four other companions in Laguna on October 15, 2018, as part of the “Duterte government’s relentless and gross violation of previously signed peace agreements with the NDFP, particularly the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).” 
(From the left: Hedda Calderon, Ireneo Atadero, Edisel Legaspi, Adel Silva, and Julio Lusania) 

PH gov’t harbinger of rights violations - Karapatan

“Salvador Panelo’s claim that the Philippine government is a ‘beacon of rights,’ amid its re-election in the UN Human Rights Council, is a statement of a delusional person. More apt, however, is that it is a harbinger of gross human rights violations. Who even believes Panelo when the Duterte government has openly expressed its contempt for human rights? Has he chosen to conveniently forget the pronouncements of President President ordering the execution of such rights violations? Be that as it may, the reality on the ground reveals the real character of this government,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay. 

PH election to the UNHRC does not absolve Duterte gov’t of crimes vs the Filipino people

“The election of the Philippine government at the UN Human Rights Council does not absolve the Duterte government of its rights violations against the Filipino people. It does not erase the thousands killed in its murderous drug war or its spectrum of violations and scores of victims in indigenous and peasant communities. The new presidential spokesperson may be over the moon for this supposed “affirmation” of the government’s campaigns and human rights record, but no one is convinced. The victims of this regime are not convinced, human rights organizations and advocate both here and overseas are not convinced, many oppressed sectors are not convinced,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay. 

Four women peasant advocates arrested, possibly tortured in Nueva Ecija

Four women peasant advocates were illegally arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Philippine National Police and elements of the 7th Infantry Division in Sitio Bangkusay, Brgy. Talabutab Norte, Natividad, Nueva Ecija on October 13, 2018. Yolanda Diamsay Ortiz, 46, and Eulalia Ladesma, 44, member of Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Partylist respectively, Edzel Emocling, 23, and Rachel Galario, 20, both youth activists and peasant advocates, are confirmed to be in the custody of the CIDG in their office at the Old Capitol building at Cabanatuan City. Ortiz and Ladesma were badly beaten by their captors, with visible bruises on their faces.

October turning bloody red as martial law kills, violates people’s rights in Mindanao

“Lest we forget, there is already martial law declared in the southern part of the country. The imposition of martial law has merely contributed to the intensification of attacks against the Filipino people. Five indigenous and peasant leaders were arrested in the first week of October in Misamis Oriental and Surigao del Sur. The violations continue unabated as another Lumad is killed in Sarangani province and striking workers at a Japanese multinational company were violently dispersed this week. Mindanao is being ravaged by what can only be referred to as State terrorism,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.
(Photo from Kilab Multimedia) 

IACLA an instrument of political repression - Karapatan

“Before the Red October scheme was concocted by the military, the military and the police already had much time to practice their script-writing and story-telling stint through the filing of trumped-up charges against activists and critics. The formation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA) is an extension of these imagined and supposed “crimes, used to legitimize the criminalization of dissent. Ultimately, IACLA is an instrument of political repression,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor at a protest rally in front of Camp Crame in Quezon City on October 9, 2018.


Karapatan reports recent harassment, red-tagging against the organization

Karapatan reported receiving text messages maligning and red-tagging the organization in the past week. The messages were sent to Karapatan’s secretary general and it’s public information number, both of which are available to the public as references for press releases and statements. The numbers, 09556810452 and 09557396541, circulated messages accusing Karapatan of being a legal front of the New People’s Army, and of being “huwad na makatao”.