Human rights group Karapatan today slammed the forced eviction and violent demolition of homes of some 256 families at Guatemala Street, Brgy. San Isidro in Makati City, as they called on Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr. and the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to immediately stop such operations in the area, including the arrests of residents who participated in the protests yesterday.
Based on the initial report of Karapatan-National Capital Region, eight individuals were arrested, after the residents barricaded the entrances to their community to prevent the local government’s demolition teams and the police from demolishing their homes. The said eviction was conducted to pave the way for the construction of a multi-million peso community complex and basketball court in the area.
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said “the actions of the city government show how inhumane local government officials are in treating urban poor communities, in exchange for such paltry projects at the expense of the people’s rights to livelihood and decent housing.”
Karapatan to Noynoy Aquino: Do your father, ML martyrs justice; end impunity, stop human rights violationsSubmitted on Fri, 09/21/2012 - 16:25
Karapatan today said that “It is a shame how Pres. Noynoy Aquino criticized Marcos and martial law when the same things he enumerated in his speech are the same things that are happening under his government, sans the formal declaration of martial law.”
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said, “it is ridiculous to hear Noynoy Aquino disapprove of the checkpoints during martial law when the same proliferate today, especially in the rural areas; the rounding up and arrests of people who criticized the Marcos government when there are 385 political prisoners to date, 170 of them were arrested and detained under his two year old rule.”
Karapatan said that aside from political prisoners, extrajudicial killings, torture, paramilitary groups, forced evacuation that were highly identified with martial law still exist. “It is the height of hypocrisy and deception for Noynoy to rebuke the Marcos dictatorship for “salvaging” when there are more than a hundred victims of extrajudicial killings under his government. The same Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary groups are the perpetrators. Certainly, there is dissonance between today’s realities and Noynoy’s statement saying, he didn’t want the people to go through the same sufferings his father experienced.” said Palabay.
40 years after the imposition of martial Law
It may not be as visible as it was 40 years ago but, human rights violations that are indelible marks of Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law, continue to this day: illegal arrests and detention, torture, disappearance, extrajudicial killings, bombings and hamletting of communities, forced evacuation, use and proliferation of paramilitary groups, among others.
Making things worse is that people in the government, specially the President, hide behind their previous involvement in the anti-dictatorship struggle; banking on their being victims of martial law to escape accountability and responsibility on the current state of human rights in the country.
Thus, the likes of The Butcher, Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. roam freely. Torturers like Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad are being promoted, despite cases filed against them, similar to Col. Rolando Abadilla, Rodolfo Aguinaldo, and Billy Bibit who were rewarded handsomely by Marcos.
Karapatan today received report of another case of torture and extrajudicial killing of an indigenous leader, Genesis Ambason Saguitan, 23, secretary general of TAGDUMAHAN Lumad organization in the municipality of San Luis, Agusan del Sur. Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay calls the latest incident as “an affirmation of the continuing vestiges of martial law under the Aquino government.”
Saguitan’s relatives found his body mutilated by the perpetrators, identified as members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) attached to the 26th IB Detachment in Sitio Tambo, Brgy. Binikalan, San Luis Agusan del Sur. His body was on the road side, some 130 meters away from the detachment of the 26th IB in Sitio Tambo.
According to the report sent to Karapatan, Almira, Saguitan’s wife who is eight months pregnant with their first child, “wept while cleaning his husband’s body” when she saw the two gunshot wounds in his right chest and another two gunshot wounds in the hip area, near his spine. His face and chest were covered with bruises. Ambason’s teeth are all gone. His head was deformed, and his face unrecognizable because of the bruises due to heavy beating.
On the 40th year of the imposition of martial law
An exhibit of Martial Law memorabilia opens at 4:00 pm today at the University of the Philippines’ Main Library-Filipiniana section as part of the commemoration of the 40th year of the imposition of martial law.
“This is to remember martial law, the dictator, the terror. But more importantly, we want to give tribute to the “fire-starters”, those imbued with the courage, creativity and daringness of the Filipino people’s struggle, those who led the way and offered their lives in the fight against tyranny, oppression, and for national freedom and democracy. We want the youth to remember them and to keep the fire burning until justice and freedom is achieved. Tuloy ang laban!” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
The exhibit, dubbed as Himagsik at Protesta features a collection of magazines, books, underground publications that date as far back as 1964, such as the first handbook of the Kabataan Makabayan, the militant organization in the 1960’s. Also included in the exhibit are items used by known ML activists and revolutionaries, such as journalist Jose Burgos, former Rep. Satur Ocampo, artists Emman and Pete Lacaba, former political prisoner and Makibaka founder Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, activist Fr. Rudy Romano, national artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, to name a few.