With pride, Karapatan pays tribute to Kagawad Cristina Jose, a true leader and servant of the people of Compostela Valley.
Cristina Jose’s life and struggle embody those of the poor majority of the Filipinos who are exploited and oppressed. But more importantly, Cristina Jose epitomizes the poor Filipinos’ pursuit for justice, and the assertion of their national and democratic aspirations.
Cristina Jose represents those who were victimized by landgrabbing in favour of the business interests of loggers and transnational mining companies that operate in their communities;
Cristina Jose represents the vulnerability of the poor people to disasters, not only because of natural calamities but also because of environmental degradation that was a result of the plunder of our resources by big business;
Cristina Jose represents those who were victims of government discrimination and neglect, bureaucratic red-tape, inefficiency and corruption in providing assistance to victims of calamities and disasters, using the communist bogey as an excuse;
Cristina Jose represents the victims of the government’s tactic of victim blaming when people assert their right to take what is rightfully theirs;
Cristina Jose represents the many other victims of human rights violations, those who were killed, disappeared, arrested and tortured for asserting their rights;
“It no longer comes as a surprise that the AFP’s spokesperson has again denied that there are human rights violations in the Philippines. We’ve heard the line several times in the past. Walang pagbabago. We’re used to these lies and denials but we cannot get use to the violations that are committed against the people,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, in reaction to the statement of Armed Forces spokesperson Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. refuting the human rights group’s assertion on the rising rights abuses under the Aquino government.
Karapatan is immensely saddened by the loss of lives of our Moro brethren in the bloody encounter at Lahad Datu town in Sabah as it finds insensitive and reckless, and therefore unforgivable, the handling of the Aquino government of the issue.
Instead of interceding for the Filipino Muslims through an urgent and diligent negotiation with the Malaysian government for a peaceful resolution of the issue, Aquino ordered a pullout of the Sultan’s Royal Army from Sabah, saying “surrender now without conditions.”
Human rights watchdog Karapatan denounce the killing of Cristina Jose, the latest victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino government. Cristina Jose was one of the leaders of Barug Katawhan (People Stand Up), an organization of victims of typhoon Pablo in Davao Oriental that led the protest at the DSWD office in Davao City. Jose was killed by three men who were aboard a motorcycle, four days before the world commemorates the International Women's Day.
A year after Jimmy Liguyon’s death
Many things happened after the killing of tribal leader, Jimmy Liguyon, exactly one year ago today. Among them were: his tribe were subjected to threats and harassment by his killers from the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (NIPAR), led by Alde Salusad, forcing them to leave their community and evacuate in front of provincial Capitol in Malaybalay, Bukidnon; two died at the evacuation center, a 24-day old baby and a 67 year-old man, because of ailments; Julia Malus-ag and her four children were taken hostage by the same group on October 7, 2012 to pressure the evacuees to return to their village.
On the 18th year of the Mining Act of 1995, Karapatan-Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights calls for the immediate scrapping of this law because “it is a direct assault on our sovereignty and patrimony as it emasculates our rights as a people," Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said, emphasizing that most of the human rights violations Karapatan had documented, especially in Mindanao, are related to big foreign businesses engaged in large-scale mining.
As the nation commemorates the 27th anniversary of the People Power 1 uprising, human rights group Karapatan today said that “the Noynoy Aquino government’s commemoration is completely an empty exercise meant as a window-dressing for the administration’s dismal human rights record.”
"The Aquino government should refrain from sabotaging the peace process and should immediately release detained peace consultants," Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said as the group staged a picket protest in front of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). OPAPP is tasked to “oversee, coordinate and integrate the implementation of the comprehensive peace process.”
According to Palabay, the harassment, arrest and detention of peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) through trumped up charges and inclusion in the bounty list of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are clear violations of the Joint Agreement on Immunity and Security Guarantees (JASIG), an agreement signed between the GPH and the NDFP in 1995,” added Palabay. JASIG was signed by both parties in February 24, 1995.
Meanwhile, detained NDFP consultant Ramon Patriarca today started a protest fast until February 26, 2013. Patriarca is currently detained at the AFP Central Command in Camp Lapu-lapu, Cebu City, where he was transferred from the Cebu Provincial Jail in Danao City. Patriarca has been in jail for four years.
Patriarca, through a statement, said the Aquino government "is effectively stalling the peace talk’s regular course, and the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reforms (CASER). It continues to violate, with impunity, the 1998 GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).” CARHRIHL is the first of the four substantive agenda lined up for discussion between the GPH and the NDFP.