[Urgent Action] (Philippines) A “Dumagat” tribal member was abducted by unidentified armed persons believed to be affiliated with the military

Urgent Action: (Philippines) A “Dumagat” tribal member was abducted by unidentified armed persons believed to be affiliated with the military

Type of Violation:  Enforced Disappearance
Victim: Rodiemer “Demer” Dela Cruz Morada
Date and Time of Incident: August 23, 2011, 9:00am
Alleged Perpetrators: Unidentified armed persons believed to be members of the military
_____________________________________________________________________

Account of the Incident

Rodiemer “Demer” Dela Cruz Morada, 20, of Barangay Bonifacio, Municipality of Burdeos, Province of Quezon, was abducted on August 23, 2011 at around 9:00am and is still missing until now. According to his mother Gina Morada, four (4) persons, all carrying long firearms went to his house and talked with Demer. They asked him if he could accompany them to the nearby town of P. Gitna. At first Gina was hesitant to allow Demer to go with the unidentified persons since they were armed. But eventually Gina let her son go with the group without knowing that this will be the last time she will see him.

Gina has no knowledge about the identities of the said persons. But based on her recollection, she noticed that all of them were wearing black shirts, military boots and had short hair.

At 12:00 noon, a child spotted Demer who was with the armed group apparently drinking liquor outside the house of a certain “May” in Sitio P. Gitna. Hours later, several locals saw them, but with more or less five (5) additional persons who were also armed. Other witnesses such as Narciso Benedicto and Jimmy Dela Cruz also came across with the armed persons.

Before sunset, Demer’s uncle Samuel Dela Cruz and aunt Geralyn Dela Cruz, residents of P. Gitna, Barangay Rizal, chanced upon the group. They were able to have a short talk with Demer. He told his uncle that his companions are members of the military, and that they are taking him to their destination.

At around 2:00am on August 24, 2011, Samuel saw Demer accompanied by approximately ten (10) armed persons board a motor boat. Samuel did not know the group’s destination.

Before all of these incidents happened, witnesses said that the four (4) unidentified armed persons stayed overnight at the house of a couple known only as Danny and Lanie in Baranggay Bonifacio. Danny and Lanie are neighbors of the Moradas.

Demer was last seen wearing yellow green sleeveless shirt, cream corduroy short pants and blue rubber sandals.

Action Requested

Please write to the authorities in the Philippines urging them to:
1.    Call upon competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the abduction of  Rodiemer “Demer” Dela Cruz Morada, and ensure that adequate, effective and prompt rehabilitation and assistance is granted to the victim’s family;
2.    Immediately organize and conduct a search operation in search of the victim;
3.    To strictly observe and comply with the Republic Act No. 8371 also known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, which is a law to recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities;
4.    To strictly observe and comply with the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) which recognizes and establishes protection of civilians not belonging to armed forces or armed groups. The military should ensure that civilians under the power of enemy forces must be treated humanely in all circumstances, without any adverse distinction. They must be protected against all forms of violence and degrading treatment;
5.    Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.

Please send your letters to:

1.    His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street , San Miguel
Manila 1005
Philippines
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Email: corres@op.gov.ph /opnet@ops.gov.ph

2.    Hon. Leila M. De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street
Ermita, Manila, 1000
Philippines
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
Tel: + 63 2 521 1908
Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / doj.delima@gmail.com

3.     Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense (DND)
Camp Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo
Quezon City 1110
Philippines
Fax: +63 2 982 5640
Tel: +63 2 982 5638
Email webmaster@dnd.gov.ph

4.    Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2929 0102
Email: rosales.chr@gmail.com

5.    Atty. Roque N. Agton, Jr.
Chairperson, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
2nd Floor N. dela Merced Building
Cor. West and Quezon Avenues, Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +63 2 373 9787
Fax: +63 2 373 9765
Email: resource@ncip.gov.ph

6.     General Eduardo SL Oban Jr
Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
DND Building, Camp Gen Emilio Aguinaldo
Quezon City 1110
Philippines
Tel: +63 2 911 6001 local 8414
Fax: +63 2 421 3531
Email: bacsecretariat@dnd.gov.ph

Documented by:

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
#45 St. Mary Street, Cubao
Quezon City 1109, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 437 8054
Fax: +63 2 911 3643
Emal: tfdp1974@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.tfdp.net

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