Press release

Release of political prisoners, among Duterte's unfulfilled promises

In a speech delivered by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 31, 2017 at Sasa Wharf, Sasa, Davao City, he said that he has conceded so many things by releasing almost all political prisoners listed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).  Duterte added that most of those released were sickly or were 70 years old and beyond.

“The President’s statements are either misguided or malicious. Whether this is another plot to twist the story in favor of the GRP and frame the NDFP as irrational and unreasonable, or a situation where the President is merely kept in the dark about the real score on his promised releases, the fact remains that only 23 political prisoners - 17 NDFP consultants and two others freed for humanitarian reasons last August 2016, all on bail, and four others pardoned on December 2016 - were released in line with the peace talks,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Jigs Clamor, clarifying the status of releases of political prisoners.

Karapatan calls for continuation of GRP-NDFP peace talks, lifting of martial law declaration

"This delay would mean the prolonged finalization of the agreement on socio-economic reforms, and will possibly put to halt the further advancement of substantial progress already achieved. The GRP’s decision to opt out of participating in the fifth round of formal talks on the basis of the lack of a conducive environment is ironic, considering the disabling environment of continuing rights abuses in communities made worse by the martial law declaration on May 23, 2017,” said Karapatan secretary general  Cristina Palabay on the announced cancellation of the 5th round of talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Demicratic Fromt of the Philippines in The Netherlands.

Attacks against persons and communities have intensified as Mindanao was placed under martial law, alongside the AFP’s continuing implementation of counterinsurgency programs.


Photo taken on May 29, 2017, during a rally outside the Department of National Defense (DND). Delegates from Mindanao, along with Bayan, Karapatan, Suara Bangsamoro, and other progressive organizations called attention to the worsening rights abuses in Mindanao in light of the martial law declaration and ongoing implementation of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. (c) Christian Yamzon​

Rights violations intensify in Mindanao, after martial law declaration

A few days after the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, a Moro resident of Brgy. Salat, President Roxas, North Cotabato was killed due to military aerial bombings, and at least two farmers were illegally arrested in Maragusan, Compostela Valley, in the course of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ continuing implementation of counter-insurgency operations and in line with Pres. Duterte’s Proclamation 216.

Talks also a venue for redress for HR victims - Karapatan

Karapatan secretary general and independent observer to the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), Cristina Palabay, sent a letter to Secretary Silvestro Bello III, Chairperson of the GRP peace panel, to inquire about the actions undertaken by the government on documented cases of human rights violations submitted to them last January 20 and April 1, 2017.

Karapatan secretary general and independent observer to the JMC submits letter to GRP peace panel

Dear friends, we sent the attached letter to the GRP Negotiating Panel a few minutes ago. We deem it important that the issues concerning the release of political prisoners and the violations of the CARHRIHL which will be made worse by the martial law declaration in Mindanao be addressed, but the GRP's recent announcement that it will not proceed to participate in the 5th round of the formal peacetalks puts all of these issues in jeopardy. #PeaceTalksItuloy

Karapatan on AFP, PNP guidelines on martial law implementation: Words of hypocrites and human rights violators

“Martial law does not equate to peace, nor does it equate to security. No matter how good it is on paper, it is always different on the ground. We cannot be assured by the guidelines released by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine National Police (PNP) on the implementation of martial law simply because they themselves are the violators of people’s civil and political rights. At the end of the day, such guarantees come off as hypocritical when contrasted with the human rights records of the military and police,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, on DND and PNP guidelines in relation to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Proclamation 216, placing the entire of Mindanao under martial law.  


On Duterte's declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao

Around 10pm on May 23, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire of Mindanao under Martial Law (ML) after a firefight reportedly ensued between the Maute Group - a group that is affiliated with Islamic State (IS) militants - and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi City. 

Karapatan strongly protests Duterte's Martial Law declaration, emphasizing that it will not address the circumstances of the current situation in Marawi, but will aggravate the insecurity in the area. Martial law is not the answer; it will never result to anything but gross violations of people's rights. 

More lands to reclaim after MARBAI

Karapatan expresses support for peasants’ push for free land distribution, genuine agrarian reform.

Karapatan salutes and stands in solidarity with the farmers known as Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc. or MARBAI, in their successful installation in the 145-hectare land in Tagum City, Davao del Norte that were taken by Lapanday Foods Inc. of the Lorenzo clan, despite legal orders in favor of the farmers.

Church leaders, rights activists call for release of Bishop Morales, NDFP consultant Salinas and all political prisoners

Numerous faith-based institutions and human rights advocates from different countries called for the immediate release of Iglesia Filipino Independiente (IFI) Bishop Carlo Morales, peace consultant Rommel Salinas, and all political prisoners, before the fifth round of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

No to fascist generals in the civilian bureaucracy!

“The most recent appointments of butcher-generals in the Duterte Cabinet furthers the militarization of the civilian bureaucracy and, in addition to pro-US officials and warmongers Delfin Lorenzana and Hermogenes Esperon, will inevitably result to more militarist and fascist policies that disregard the rights and welfare of peasant and indigenous communities,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said, in the protest action led by Karapatan, Kalikasan and the Promotion for Church People’s Response on the recent appointments of Armed Forces of the Philippines chiefs of staff Roy Cimatu and Eduardo Año, as new heads of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

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