Tag Archives: Indigenous peoples

[Statement] OPLAN TOKHANG against “left-leaning” personalities – a Cordillera variant of EJK | LILAK

#HumanRights #IndigenousPeoples

OPLAN TOKHANG against “left-leaning” personalities – a Cordillera variant of EJK | LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) Statement

Poster by LILAK

At the beginning of the Oplan Tokhang in Duterte’s War on Drugs, LILAK along with the human rights community, have already feared that this same violent strategy will be extended to activists, journalists, and human rights defenders. Unfortunately, our fears have been proven right.

More than 27,000 people were killed in this Oplan Tokhang. Nanlaban daw. Now, with the Resolution issued by the Police Regional Office in Cordillera (RLECC-CAR Res 04 s2021), enjoining the members of law enforcement agencies to ‘conduct TOKHANG to known left-leaning personalities in the government, media and other entities” – we fear that the same acts of violence, and impunity, will be committed, as Oplan Tokhang is most notorious for. With red-tagging done in the most irresponsible way by the National Task Force ELCAC, the fear of “nanlaban” as a justification of killings of so-called “left-leaning” entities is very real.

As it is, even without this new variant of Oplan Tokhang, indigenous peoples have been suffering deaths, arrests, and torture from the government. The country has been notorious for having the most number of killings of land rights and indigenous leaders, in the whole world. Recently, we have seen the trumped up charges against Windel Bolinget, chair of Cordillera Peoples Alliance, with a shoot to kill order “’pag nanlaban”. The 9 Tumandok leaders in Panay were killed with police claiming they were resisting arrest. The Tumandok leaders were allegedly members of the New Peoples Army. Two Aeta leaders have been arrested and filed charges of “terrorism’, as they were fleeing from their community, during a cross-fire between the military and members of NPA.

LILAK calls for a serious review and withdrawal of this resolution by the Cordillera government. We are already witnessing so much deaths and violence from the Duterte administration.

Stop the Killings!
Break the impunity.

IPLivesMatter #ScrapTerrorLaw #DefundNTFELCAC

Contact:
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
judy a. pasimio – 09175268341

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[Statement] Indigenous Women Speak out: Anti-Terrorism Act is a direct threat to us as rights defenders -LILAK

Indigenous Women Speak out: Anti-Terrorism Act is a direct threat to us as rights defenders
7 August 2020

Indigenous women speak out and stood up against the Anti-Terror Act. They filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act 11479.

Surmounting the challenges and difficulties of fulfilling technical legal requirements, Teresa dela Cruz, an Aeta Abelen from Zambales, and Nora Sukal, a B’laan woman from Tampakan, South Cotabato, are two of the petitioners of the IP-MORO petition led by the Atty. Tony La Vina and Atty. Efrenita Taqueban as co-counsels. Other petitioners are leaders, mostly women, of indigenous communities from Cordillera and Mindanao, as well as from the Moro communities of BARMM. LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), a collective of feminists and women activists advocating for the rights and empowerment of indigenous women, is also one of the petitioners. This comes two days before the celebration of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples (Aug. 9).

In a time of pandemic, the Duterte government railroaded a bill that would neither combat COVID-19 nor better the situations of many Filipinos suffering from the pandemic. The year 2020 has seen worsening poverty, unemployment, and hunger while Duterte strengthens the military and police to battle against what it considers terrorism – the growing anger, disgruntlement and resistance to its violent, corrupt, anti-people governance.

The vague definitions of terrorist and terrorist act in ATA endanger indigenous peoples who, for years, have been threatened, harassed, terrorized and red-tagged as they assert their rights to their ancestral lands. Even before the introduction of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, the Duterte government has accused indigenous leaders – who are defenders of the environment and natural resources – of being enemies of the state.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, 248 activists were killed from 2015 to 2019, Global Witness tagged the Philippines the most dangerous country for environment and lands rights defenders. They counted 133 killings during Duterte’s presidency; 46% of the cases are believed to have been perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines; 44% occurred in Mindanao; and 22% of the victims were indigenous people. A large percentage of the killings were related to land-grabbing of agribusinesses, plantations, and mining companies and state-sponsored development projects such as mega dams and power plants. These are from killings which were reported. There are more acts of violence and killings within their ancestral domains which are not officially documented and reported.

Teresa and Nora are indigenous women who are in the frontlines of their communities’ struggle against large scale mining within their ancestral domains, and land grabbing. They themselves are victims of different forms of harassment and threats; and they fear that they are the targets of the law. According to Teresa, “Kami na mga naninirahan sa bundok, at doon nagtatanggol ng aming karapatan para mabuhay, ay nangangamba na kami ay matuturing na terorista. Dahil sa ilalim ng pamahalaang ito, ang sino man ang di payag o di sang-ayon sa kanilang gawain ay tinuturing na kaaway (We who live in the mountains, where we fight for our rights to live, are afraid that we will be considered terrorists. Because under this administration, whoever is against of their actions are considered enemies)”.

The ATA is an obvious weaponization of the law aimed to silence dissent. It is a violation of human rights and a mockery of the Philippines’ legal systems. The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) that has the power to permit arrests, surpassing the power of the judiciary, will consist of presidential appointees, Duterte’s loyal “yes men”.

LILAK will continue to support indigenous women and their struggles, as we join hands, and link arms in our collective defense and assertion of our rights against Duterte’s fascism, impunity, and misogyny.

For more information please contact,
judy pasimio – 09175268341 | judy104@lilak.net
Shar Balagtas – 09771966122 | sharbalagtas.lilak@gmail.com

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[Statement] Pahayag ng Pagkundena sa Patuloy na Karahasan ng Militar sa mga Katutubong Dumagat-Remontado -STOP Kaliwa Dam Network

Habang ang karamihan ay nakatuon sa isyu ng COVID-19, ang pwersa ng estado sa kabilang banda ay patuloy naman ang pananakot at pangdadahas sa mga Katutubo ng Quezon at Rizal dahil sa Kaliwa Dam.

Matapos ang pananakot sa mga katutubong Dumagat-Remontadong papunta sa isang pagdiriwang ng anibersaryo ng People Power Revolution noong Pebrero 24, may mga pahayag mula sa parehong komunidad na isang kapwa nila katutubo ang dinakip ng yunit ng militar sa General Nakar noong ika-1 ng Marso. Napag-alaman ding binugbog ang nasabing katutubo habang nasa kustodiya ng nasabing elemento ng militar. May mga nakasaksi sa nasabing pagdukot at mga litrato ng binugbog na katutubo.

Mariing kinukundena ng STOP Kaliwa Dam Network ang patuloy na karahasan ng militar sa nasabing katutubong komunidad. Aming kinukundena ang ‘di-makatuwirang paggamit ng dahas, walang basehang pananakot, at panggigipit na ginagawa ng mga puwersang militar.

Gamit ang katuwirang paglaban sa armadong sigalot sa kanilang lugar, naiipit ang mga katutubo sa kabila ng kawalan ng patunay na sangkot sila sa ibinibintang sa kanila. Lumilikha ng klima ng takot ang karahasan ng militar at matinding ginagambala ang kabuhayan at payapang pamumuhay ng mga katutubo sa kanilang mga lupain.

Ang panawagan namin ay kapayapaan. Iginigiit namin sa militar sa nasabing lugar na maging mga tagapagpatupad ng batas at kaayusan, hindi pasimuno ng panggigipit at pang-aabuso. Ang pangunahing tungkulin ng hukbong sandatahan ay pangalagaan ang teritoryo ng bansa at depensahan ang mga mamamayan nito, hindi supilin ang kanilang karapatan, lalo na ang karapatan tumutol sa mapanirang Kaliwa Dam. Karapat-dapat lamang suportahan, hindi dahasin, ang mga katutubo sa kanilang pag-aalaga sa kanilang lupaing ninuno, na buhay at nagbibigay buhay, na hiram lamang sa salinglahi, at bilang paglilingkod sa sambayanan.

Itigil ang karahasan sa mga katutubo!
Panagutin ang mga puwersa ng estado.

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[In the news] ‘Lumad’ takes IP struggle to Congress -INQUIRER.net

After years of struggling for the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs), Manobo tribeswoman Eufemia Cullamat from Surigao del Sur finally leveled up her advocacy with a seat in the House of Representatives.

“I will pledge my life for our struggle and bring it to Congress,” said Cullamat, a native of Lianga town, after she took her oath of office before Surigao City Vice Mayor Alfonso Casurra on June 3.

Cullamat is the second Manobo to serve in Congress after former Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco, but she is the first from Surigao del Sur and the first “lumad” (IPs in Mindanao) to represent the Bayan Muna party list in Congress.

“We have prevailed, despite the circumstances that we have faced during the campaign period from the harassment and threats,” she said.

“Even if they have accused and vilified us for being supporters of communist armed groups, we stood our ground and we proved them wrong,” she added.

Read more @newsinfo.inquirer.net

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[Statement] PNFSP criticize another attempt to discredit Lumad schools

Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP) vehemently condemn another desperate attempt by the military to discredit and close down the Lumad schools, Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) and Tribal Filipino Programs for Surigao del Sur (TRIFFPSS) on the pretext of legislative inquiry orchestrated by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Congressional Committee on Indigenous Cultural Communities (CICCIP) and the 401st Infantry Brigade (IB) of the Philippine Army.

On April 26, 2019, soldiers belonging to the 401st IB arrived in Km 9, Sitio Simowao, Bgry. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur and encamped in several houses there. In the morning of April 28, the soldiers gathered the community members in front of the school run by TRIFFPSS without asking permission, attempted to forcibly open the doors of the classrooms but were stopped by a community leader. Then an inspection team composed of officials from government agencies, namely, the Indigenous People’s Peace Panel of OPPAP, the Department of Education, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples suddenly arrived in 10 luxury vehicles to allegedly investigate on the reports that the two schools are connected to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. It is, however, confounding that the investigation team was accompanied by the soldiers from the 401st IB who has been accused by the Lumad of committing serious human rights violations against them and members of the paramilitary group, Magahat-Bagani who killed ALCADEV’s executive director, Emerito Samarca and two Lumad leaders in 2015. According to the people, the investigating team did not really investigate but just parroted the same lies and accusations hurled by the military against the Lumad schools.

The “investigation” was part of the relentless vilification campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the Lumad schools being led by its deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, Major General Antonio Parlade Jr., who held a press conference in Butuan City immediately after the investigation accusing the two schools of being communist fronts without presenting any evidence. Instead, they presented two former teachers who were evidently forced to speak against the schools.

PNFSP would like to reiterate that Lumad schools are not communist fronts. They are academic institutions recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), working with government agencies and private institutions through social services, such as food security programs and education. These programs have been beneficial to the Lumad communities since their time of establishment, advancing the communities livelihood, where government services are lacking.

Let us remind the government and the military that education is a universal right and that what the Lumad schools are doing is not just for the realization of the right to education but also their right to food. They deserve recognition, not vilification because these schools were established by the Lumad themselves and operate through the efforts and cooperation of the communities, volunteer teachers, and development workers from the time of its establishment. These schools propagate sustainable agriculture and appropriate technology that are beneficial to the community and the environment, a social praxis that embraces the preservation of native culture and tradition against the pressures of modernization and commercialization. We have never doubted that the continuing harassment, vilification, and killings against the Lumad are connected to the government’s plan to open the whole Mindanao island to foreign investors. These two schools are located in the Andap Valley Complex, a landmark rich in mineral resources and has been the target of huge mining companies after President Rodrigo Duterte opened the area for explorations.

PNFSP declares support to the Lumad despite the shrinking democratic space for development work in the Philippines. PNFSP will continue to support their struggle to defend their ancestral lands and their right to education. ##

Reference:
Renmin Vizconde
Executive Director, PNFSP

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[Press Release] Indigenous Women offered song, prayer to protest Kaliwa Dam Project -LILAK

Indigenous Women offered song, prayer to protest Kaliwa Dam Project

Photo by Susan Corpuz

March 8, 2019/Quezon City – “Ang lupa ay ginawa hindi para lunurin sa tubig.” “Land has been created not to be drowned in water”.

This is a line in the song sang in Dumagat, translated in Filipino, by the Indigenous Women in front of the building of Metro Manila Water Sewerage System (MWSS) early this morning, as offering was made by a Dumagat woman leader.

To mark today’s celebration of the International Women’s Day, indigenous women led by Dumagat women, held a short symbolic action to express their opposition to the Kaliwa Dam project of MWSS. The offering of soil, and mama or betel nut, speaks of their connection to the land, and their desire for peace, and harmony with nature.

“Pinipilit ang Kaliwa Dam na ito sa aming mga lupaing ninuno. Kung payagan naming ang proyektong ito para na rin naming pinayagan ang pagkalunod ng 5 barangay sa Rizal at 2 sa aming probinsya ng Quezon,” according to Remedios Marquez, an indigenous woman leader of the Dumagats in Quezon. (“They have insisted to pursue the Kaliwa project here in our ancestral domain. Our consent to this dam is like giving consent to submerge 5 barangays in Rizal, and another 2 in our province Quezon.”)

“Kami naman ay handang mag bahagi sa iba ng biyaya mula sa likas yaman sa loob ng aming lupaing ninuno. Pero sana naman ay huwag sa ikasasalanta ng aming kabuhayan, tirahan, at kultura” added Ms. Marquez. (We are willing to share the riches of the resources within our ancestral domain, but not at the expense of our livelihoods, and our way of life.)

The Kaliwa Dam which costs PhP 18.724 Billion, will be developed to meet the increasing water demand by consumers in Metro Manila. The construction funds will come from a loan with China.

“Ang patuloy na di pagkilala sa aming sariling pagpapasya bilang mga katutubo ay isang porma ng karahasan laban sa aming kababaihan. Kaya kami, mula sa Aeta community, ay kasama sa pagtutol ng Kaliwa Dam”, pahayag ni Teresa dela Cruz, mula sa Zambales. (“The continuing disrespect to our right to self-determination as indigenous people is a form of violence against women. That is why we indigenous women from Zambales joins the protest against Kaliwa Dam.”)

According to Judy A. Pasimio of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), this dam project is part of the Build, Build, Build Program of the Duterte administration. “Without regard to human rights, and the adverse impacts on human lives, especially those of indigenous peoples, this project becomes part of Duterte’s Kill, Kill, Kill program – kill the environment, kill the food sources, kill the communities’ way of life.”

Several human rights groups also joined the protest action – Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Focus on the Global South, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Non-Timber Forest Products –Task Force (NTFP), among others.

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, we celebrate the courage of indigenous women who continue to fight for their rights, for the environment, and for a better future, not just for their communities, but for us all,” adds Ms. Pasimio.

For more information-
judy a. pasimio – 09175268341 / judy@lilak.net
Abby Dupale – 09155045530 / abby@lilak.net

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[In the news] Govt’ body finds 2 Army commanders in Mindanao liable for human rights violations -www.mindanews.com

Govt’ body finds 2 Army commanders in Mindanao liable for human rights violations

LAKE SEBU, South Cotabato (MindaNews / 08 Dec) –The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has found two military commanders liable for human rights abuses in connection with the killing of seven tribal members in a remote village on December 3 last year.

Erlan Deluvio, CHR Region 12 director, identified the military officials as Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Sultan Kudarat province, and Lt. Col. Benjamin Leander, then commander of the 27th IB based in South Cotabato.

Datu Victor Danyan Sr., chair of the T’boli Manobo S’daf Claimants Organization based in far-flung Sitio Datal Bonlangon, Barangay Ned here, and six other community members were killed on December 3, 2017 in what human rights and militant groups described as a massacre.

Read full article @www.mindanews.com

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[Urgent Appeal] (PHILIPPINES) Torture of Indigenous People -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL
July 9, 2018
(PHILIPPINES) Torture of Indigenous People
ISSUES: Assertion of right to life; freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
______________________________________________________
Dear friends,
The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the torture of four indigenous people in Upi, Maguindanao.
If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP, kindly send email to tfdp.1974@gmail.com or call +632 4378054.
______________________________________________________
Title: Cornelio, et al TOR
Case: Torture
Victims: Jeffrey Dodoy Cornelio, 26 years old
Rizaldo Gante Usman, 20 years old
Rogelio Dodoy Usman, 35 years old
Rodne Timway Labe, 40 years old
Date of Incident: May 5, 2018; 6:00 A.M.
Place of Incident: Sitio Lenilitan, Barangay Borongotan, Upi, Maguindanao
Alleged Perpetrators: Members of Upi Municipal Police, identified as Police Officers Ramon Endrina, Joel Baring, Vincent Gamino, and a certain Castro
Motive: Suspected Cattle Rustlers; suspected members of BIFF
Rights Violated: Freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Right to Life
________________________________________________________________
Account of the incident:
On May 5, 2018 around 6:00 a.m., in Sitio Lenilitan, Barangay Borongotan, Upi, Maguindanao, four men belonging to the Teduray tribe were allegedly arrested and tortured by members of the Upi Municipal Police. The victims were identified as Jeffrey Dodoy Cornelio, aka Longkoy, 26 years old; Rizaldo Gante Usman, aka Ijeng, 20 years old; Rogelio Dodoy Usman, aka Michael, 35 years old; and Rodney Timway Labe, aka Yad, 40 years old.
Cornelio narrated that he was on his way to his farm when he met Police Officer Ramon Endrina. Endrina allegedly pointed his long firearm at Cornelio and ordered him to throw away his machete. He was told to call all the men in their neighborhood and to gather at the basketball court. There were about 15 males who responded to the call.
Police Officer Joel Bareng was talking with someone on his cellular phone when he asked Cornelio if he knew someone named Longkoy. Cornelio replied that it was his nickname. Bareng then told him not to leave. He was also asked if he knew Michael Usman. Cornelio pointed to Rogelio Dodoy Usman, aka Michael, who at that time was in his house having coffee. Cornelio said that there were about ten police officers who surrounded them. All of them had long firearms. Bareng then asked Cornelio again if he knew a certain Yad Usman. Cornelio said that he knew someone named Yad, but his surname was Labe, not Usman.
Rodney Labe, also known as Yad in their community, was at his house meters away from the basketball court. He was about to go to the rice field when he met along the way around 12 police officers, including Endrina and Baring. Cornelio was forced to walk with them going to the basketball court. He did not want to go with them, but Endrina struck his back four times with the butt of the rifle.
Michael said that when the police saw him having coffee, they scolded him and called him a thief. After having coffee, he went to the basketball court and waited for Labe to arrive.
Cornelio saw an unidentified man who was pulled out by the police officers from their mobile vehicle. The man was wearing a face mask and baseball cap. One of the police officers placed his arm around the man’s shoulders and commanded him to point to Cornelio, Labe, and Michael. The three were surprised when the man pointed at them. They were ordered to stand up. Then they were called thieves and “luko-luko”. They denied the allegation and insisted that they are innocent farmers.
As they were going to the vehicle, Labe tried to resist. A police officer punched his stomach twice.
While inside the police vehicle, Endrina confiscated Michael’s voter’s and indigenous peoples’ identification cards. Michael also saw Endrina and Baring punch Ijeng’s side as he was dragged to the police vehicle.
Ijeng recounted that he was at his yard, having coffee while feeding their chickens, when he saw Baring and Endrina running towards their house. When the two arrived, they asked Ijeng if he knew Jing-jing Usman. He replied that his nickname is Ijeng and not Jing-jing. Quickly, Endrina grabbed his shoulder and told him not to move. Baring hurriedly went inside the house and ordered the men in the household to get out and bring with them their firearms if they had any.
Ijeng’s mother was about to go out when he met Baring at the door. He pushed her to the other side of the door and threw the glass she was holding. Ijeng’s younger brother, who was still sleeping inside the mosquito net was awakened. Baring lifted the mosquito net with the tip of his rifle and pointed to Ijeng’s younger brother. Ijeng’s mother and younger brother were shocked.
Ijeng’s father pleaded with the police not to harm Ijeng. The police assured his father that Ijeng would only be investigated at the police station and that the will return home in the afternoon.
Ijeng was then brought to the road crossing where he saw Cornelio, Labe, and Michael inside the police vehicle. As Ijeng was about to board the vehicle, Endrina told him that he was a liar and punched his side.
As they were on their way to the municipal police station, they passed Borongotan School. The police told them that they may have been the ones who placed the improvised explosive device (IED) in the school. They vehemently denied the allegation and told the police that they do not have the capacity to do it.
At around 10:00 a.m., they arrived at the municipal police station in Nuro, Upi. As they alighted the vehicle, each of them was told to close his eyes. Each of them was punched on the stomach. It took them a while to recover from the blow.
They were padlocked in the municipal police station. Michael said that 15 minutes after they arrived, they saw the police buy bottles of Red Horse beer. The police had a drinking session inside the police station.
At around 11:00 a.m., Police Officers Baring, Endrina, and Vincent Gamino went inside the jail. Labe said that he was punched around nine times on his body. Cornelio, Ijeng, and Michael were also beaten. They were called horse thieves. The officers said that they were the ones whom they were after in the early morning. The four denied the accusation and said that they were sleeping at that time.
They were instructed to lay face down. Their feet were beaten using a round 2×2 wooden stick. They shouted in pain. The officers told them not to make noise or else, more harm would be inflicted on them. Minutes after, they were instructed to stand up and form a line. They were told to show their hands and hold their fingers together. When they did so, their hands and fingers were struck with a round wooden stick and bullet magazine of .45 caliber pistol. They were forced to admit to the crime, but they denied the accusation.
The police went out of the detention cell and continued their drinking session. At around 2:00 p.m., the police were already drunk and went inside again. The four were punched multiple times on their bodies. Their hands and feet were again beaten with a round wooden stick. They were again forced to admit that they were thieves, but they denied the accusation.
The police also gave them Red Horse beer to drink but they refused to accept it because they feared that something may have been placed in the drink to drug them.
According to Michael, the beating continued during midnight. Water was thrown at them to wake them up. They were asked if there was someone who can help them with their case. They answered that they did not know anyone.
The beating resumed in the evening of May 6. They were also forced to admit to being members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). They told the police that they are all innocent of the crime being accused of them. They reasoned that they are ordinary farmers and members of the Teduray tribe.
Edison Dodoy Edas, also a Teduray detainee and Cornelio’s second cousin, defended them by telling the police that they indeed are true Tedurays and not BIFF members.
Edas confessed to them that he was the one who mentioned their names to the police which was why they were arrested. Edas apologized to them. He further explained that he was forced by the police to mention the names of his cousin and relatives. He was also beaten by the police and Leo Baybayan, the owner of the two horses. Edas feared for his life, which was why he mentioned their names. He admitted that he regretted his action. He did not think that his relatives would be accused as horse thieves.
They said that among the other detainees in the municipal jail, the Tedurays were the only ones being beaten by the police. They felt discriminated against because they were Tedurays. The police did not hurt the non-indigenous peoples and Moro.
On May 15 around 12:00 noon, they were told to form a line. Police Officer Castro went inside the detention cell and asked how many were detained. They replied that they were eight in all. Castro said that the four will be taken out soon. They felt terrified and thought that they would be salvaged.
At around 1:00 p.m., Police Officer Gamino went inside the detention cell and instructed them to show their respect by saluting him. They followed the order, but Gamino got angry and told them to lay face down for they did not salute correctly. They were again beaten with a wooden stick.
On the same date, the municipal police of Upi had their operation against BIFF members in Sitio Kapalit, Barangay Blensong. When the police returned to their station, they told the four that their BIFF companions fired shots at them. Endrina, Baring, and Castro went inside the jail, threw water at them, and pointed their guns at them. Endrina threatened them that if someone would take a picture of video of him and expose what he was doing, they will be made to answer to him. The four were again beaten with the round wooden stick as they were forced to admit to being horse thieves.
When the police officers grew tired of beating the four, they instructed a detainee known as Bad Boy to beat the four. Bad Boy is a not a Teduray.
Later, the four learned that two horses have gone missing in Sitio Kapalit. At the time of their arrest, while they were on their way to the municipal police station, one of the horses was returned to the police station by an unidentified man.
On June 8, they posted a cash bond worth 78,000 pesos for the case of Cattle Rustling at RTC Branch 27 in Cotabato City.
They said that what happened to them was harassment and intimidation to the tribe members. They reiterated that they did not commit the crime accused of them. They said that they are victims of injustice and maltreatment done by the members of Upi municipal police.
REQUESTED ACTION:
Please write a letter to the authorities, calling on them to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation on the torture done by Police Officers Ramon Endrina, Joel Baring, Vincent Gamino, and a certain Castro, and all members of the Upi Municipal Police in Upi, Maguindanao. Please urge concerned agencies to immediately resolve the case and give justice to the victims.
Thank you.
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
SAMPLE LETTER
Dear ____________,
I am writing to draw your attention to the case of torture committed against four indigenous people in Upi, Maguindanao.
I have learned that on May 5, 2018 around 6:00 a.m., in Sitio Lenilitan, Barangay Borongotan, Upi, Maguindanao, four men belonging to the Teduray tribe were arrested and allegedly tortured by the members of the Upi Municipal Police.
The victims were identified as Jeffrey Dodoy Cornelio, aka Longkoy, 26 years old; Rizaldo Gante Usman, aka Ijeng, 20; Rogelio Dodoy Usman, aka Michael, 35; and Rodney Timway Labe, aka Yad, 40.
I was informed that during the arrest of Ijeng and Labe, they were punched on their bodies as they resisted in going with the police.
I learned that the four were padlocked in the municipal police station and 15 minutes after they were brought there, they saw that the police bought bottles of Red Horse beer. The police had a drinking session in the police station. The police also gave them beer to drink but they refused to accept for fear that something may have been placed in the beer to drug them.
That around 11:00 a.m., Police Officers Baring, Endrina, and Vincent Gamino went inside the jail, beat them up, and called them horse thieves. They were instructed to lay face down and their feet were beaten with a round 2×2 wooden stick. Minutes after, they were ordered to stand and form a line. They were told to show their hands and hold their fingers together. When they did as told, their hands and fingers were struck with a round wooden stick and bullet magazine of .45 caliber pistol. They were forced to admit to the crime.
The beatings lasted until May 15. They were also forced to admit to being members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), when in fact they are Tedurays.
I have known that Police Officer Gamino went inside their detention cell and instructed them to show their respect by saluting him. When they did so, Gamino got angry and told them to lay face down for they did not salute correctly. They were again beaten using a wooden stick.
The municipal police of Upi had their operation against BIFF members in Sitio Kapalit, Barangay Blensong. When they went back to the police station, the police told the four that their BIFF companions fired shots at them. Endrina, Baring, and Castro went inside the jail, threw water at them, and pointed their guns to them. Endrina threatened them that if someone would have a picture or videos of him exposing what he was doing to them, they will be made to answer to him. They were again beaten with the round wooden stick as they were forced to admit to being horse thieves.
When the officers grew tired of beating the four, they ordered a detainee to beat them.
Philippine Republic Act 9745 Section 2(b) provides that, “…the human rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners are respected at all times; and that no person placed under investigation or held in custody of any person in authority or, agent of a person authority shall be subjected to physical, psychological or mental harm, force, violence, threat or intimidation or any act that impairs his/her free will or in any manner demeans or degrades human dignity.”
With this, I urge the Philippine authorities to promptly and impartially investigate this case and ensure that the perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law and that justice will be served for the torture committed against Cornelio, Labe, Michael, and Ijeng.
I look forward to you urgent action.
Respectfully yours,
_______________________
Please send your letters to:
1. His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 736 8645, +63 2 736 8603, +63 2 736 8606, +63 2 736 8629
Fax: +63 2 736 8621
2. Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde
Police Director General
National Headquarters, Camp Crame,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel/Fax: +63 2 726 4361; +63 2 899 7504
3. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, 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 2 929 0102
4. Sec. Menardo I. Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 521 1908, +63 2 526 5462
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
5. Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
Chairperson, (NCIP)
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
2nd Floor N. dela Merced Building, Cor. West and Quezon Avenues, Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 373 9787, +63 2 373 9534

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[Press Release] To have IP rights in the BBL means inclusive peace, say Lumads -Loyukan

To have IP rights in the BBL means inclusive peace, say Lumads

Photo from Loyukan FB page

“To include non-Moro indigenous peoples rights in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) means inclusive peace, and a more lasting one,” says Titay Bleyen Santos Unsad, a Teduray leader from Upi, Maguindanao.

“Peace in Mindanao is a common aspiration of the Moro people and the non-Moro IPs. We have supported the struggle of our Muslim brothers and sisters for peace and development within our region. Their peace, is our peace. And that is why the BBL, to be truly a peace instrument, should also recognize the rights of the Teduray, Lambangian and other non-Moro indigenous peoples in Maguindanao,” adds Titay Bleyen Santos.

Titay Bleyen Santos Unsad is one of the 350 IP leaders who have been part of the Mindanao IP Legislative Assembly or MIPLA, which was convened by the Office of the Presidential Adviser to the Peace Process (OPAPP) last year. The MIPLA was mandated to draft specific proposed revisions to the BBL which would contain the IP agenda. The Assembly worked for 3 months, and came up with proposed revisions.

“We drafted proposed revisions to enhance the BBL, recognizing our rights to our ancestral domains, and our distinct identity as non-Moro IP rights. These were presented to the Congress,” according to Titay Bleyen Santos. “But now, all of these seem to be set aside in favor of the version from the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which prescribes that all peoples within the proposed Bangsamoro territory are all Bangsamoro. But we are not. We are Teduray, with our own ancestral domain, justice system, and governance. We are non-Moro indigenous peoples.”

The Congress plans to pass the proposed BBL before it adjourns on June 1, upon the urging of President Rodrigo Duterte. At the House of Representatives, the House Committees on Local Government, Muslim Affairs, and Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity approved House Bill No. 6475 or the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) without amendments last week. This did not sit well among some members of the House, who said that all the consultations and public hearings were rendered useless, as no revisions were entertained. The HB 6475 is the version submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). The same can be said with the Senate, when Senator Miguel Zubiri decided to author instead the BTC version. The interpellation of SB 1717, or the proposed BBL, is ongoing at the Senate.

“It’s true, that the BBL is long overdue. We have been part of the struggle, too. We have been attending congressional hearings, dialogues, public forums, to express our support to BBL, but also to say that an inclusive BBL is the only way to go to have an inclusive peace,” says Fintailan Leonora Mokudef. Fintailan is a title for a Teduray woman leader. “Indigenous Peoples in ARMM did not enjoy the rights provided by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA). Recognition of our rights is also long overdue.”

The government of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) did not recognize IPRA, a national law, as applicable within its territory. Its applicability over the Bangsamoro Territory is one of the critical revisions that the IP leaders are pushing for. The IP leaders went to the Senate today to have dialogues with the Senators and to observe the plenary discussions of SB 1717, or the Senate version of the proposed BBL.

“The halls of the Senate are familiar now to us. We have been here before, during the Aquino administration lobbying for the inclusion of IP agenda in the BBL. We have allies then who seem to have changed their position,” observes Titay Bleyen Leticio Datuwata, a Lambangian leader, from South Upi, Maguindanao. “We just hope that there will still be a number of members of the Senate who believes in the pursuit of peace, and that peace should be for everyone – even us, non-Moro Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao.”

Titay Bleyen Santos, Fintailan Leonora and Titay Bleyen Leticio are all part of LOYUKAN, a common term among Central Mindanao Lumad to mean comrades. It is a coalition of IP leaders, Indigenous Political Structures, IP rights advocates, human rights organizations, and other members of the social movement who are all pushing for the full inclusion of the IP rights within the BBL.

For more information:
Mabel Carumba — 09998721405 / tubong.mindanao@gmail.com
Judy a. Pasimio — 09175268341 / judy@lilak.net

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[Statement] RISE, RESIST, RECLAIM our rights, our voice, our territories -Lilak

Photo from Katutubong Lilak FB page

March 8 2018 – International Women’s Day
RISE, RESIST, RECLAIM our rights, our voice, our territories

We have been told to go to hell when we filed a complaint against then candidate Duterte with the Gender Ombud for violation of Magna Carta of Women, with his rape jokes and other sexist remarks.

We were on the streets until the eve of election to urge women and men to “Resist Neo-Fascists” and not vote for Duterte-Marcos.

We continued to march, wept for, and protested against the thousands of killings of women, men and even children under the so called War on Drugs; and kept pushing for legal, health-based and humane process for addressing drug addiction and rehabilitation.

We were vigilantly calling out sexist remarks, and anti-women actions of Duterte and his men, especially against women who are courageous enough to stand up for the truth, and against Duterte.

We have opposed Kill Bills (Death Penalty and Lowering the Age of Criminal Liability).

We have rejected Duterte’s persistency in weakening democratic institutions, and institutionalizing impunity.
We have been called “angry feminists” and without sense of humour.

We were harassed. We were maligned, threatened – on line, off line.

We keep on. We stand against the entrenchment of feudal landlords and the wholesale land grabbing of foreign corporations through charter change. We continue to work to end violence against women. We demand accountability to those who perpetuate misogyny. We resist fascists.

Our numbers may be few, but our voices are loud, our feet steady. And we are growing, like flowers abloom.

We are ReSISTERS!

This international Day of Women, LILAK joins our indigenous women sisters who stand with courage asserting their rights to their land, to life with dignity; and World March of Women-Pilipinas as we all RISE, RESIST and RECLAIM our rights, our voice, our territories as we struggle for more humane, just, fair, societies, where women of diverse identities are respected, honoured and celebrated.
http://www.lilak.net / 09175268341 – judy a. pasimio

Source: https://www.facebook.com/katutubonglilak/photos/a.572010879487661.1073741825.446251688730248/1769028266452577/?type=3&theater

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Website: http://www.lilak.net
Facebook: @katutubonglilak
Twitter: @katutubonglilak

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[From the web] Philippines warned over “massive” impact of military operations on Mindanao indigenous peoples -UNOHCHR

Philippines warned over “massive” impact of military operations on Mindanao indigenous peoples

GENEVA (27 December 2017) – The ongoing militarization of Mindanao in the Philippines is having a massive and potentially irreversible impact on the human rights of some of the island’s indigenous Lumad communities, UN experts* have warned.

“Thousands of Lumads have already been forcibly displaced by the conflict and have seen their houses and livelihoods destroyed,” the Special Rapporteurs said.

“They are suffering massive abuses of their human rights, some of which are potentially irreversible. We fear the situation could deteriorate further if the extension of martial law until the end of 2018 results in even greater militarization.

“We urge the Philippines to observe its obligations under international law to protect the human rights of indigenous peoples, including in the context of armed conflict. The authorities must ensure that all human rights abuses are halted and that there is justice and accountability for past attacks.

“This includes killings and attacks allegedly carried out by members of the armed forces against the indigenous communities,” they added.

The experts said they were particularly concerned over the safety of Lumads threatened by bombings and military attacks. They stressed their alarm at figures suggesting 2,500 Lumads had been displaced since October, and by reports that Lumad farmers had allegedly been killed by military forces on 3 December in Barangay Ned in the province of South Cotabato.

“The Government of the Philippines must ensure that military personnel do not engage in violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples,” the experts said.

“We fear that some of these attacks are based on unfounded suspicions that Lumads are involved with militant groups or in view of their resistance to mining activities on their ancestral lands,” they added.

People forced from their homes were suffering multiple impacts on their human rights, the experts warned.

“The very culture and ways of life of indigenous peoples are intimately entwined with their ancestral lands and environments,” they said.

“Forcing indigenous peoples to leave their homes has an incalculable impact on their very lives and ways of living – one that risks erasing their culture and existence from the heritage of the Philippines, eventually forever.”

It was vital to protect people’s rights even after they had been displaced, the experts stressed.

“The humanitarian needs of displaced indigenous peoples must be fully satisfied. It is paramount to implement solutions that allow the displaced Lumads to return to their ancestral lands with guarantees of safety, dignity and protection,” the Special Rapporteurs said.

—–

* The UN experts: Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, Special Rapporteur on internally displaced people.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

See the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UN Human Rights, country page – Philippines

For inquiries and media requests, please contact: Ms. Christine Evans (+41 22 917 9197 / cevans@ohchr.org), Ms. Karina Rampazzo (+41 22 917 99 19 / krampazzo@ohchr.org), or write to indigenous@ohchr.org.

Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org

Read more @www.ohchr.org

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[From the web] Philippine Police Probe Violent Protest Dispersal. Lack of Accountability Fuels Impunity -HRW

Philippine Police Probe Violent Protest Dispersal
Lack of Accountability Fuels Impunity
By Carlos H. Conde
Researcher, Asia Division
@condeHRW
October 21, 2016

200px-Hrw_logo.svgThe Philippine National Police have suspended nine officers involved in the violent dispersal of protesters – some of whom were bearing batons and throwing stones – demonstrating in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “independent foreign policy” in front of the United States Embassy in Manila on Wednesday. They include the driver of a police vehicle who, based on video and still images, drove through the center of the crowd, injuring at least 10 protesters, including women and elderly people. The police chief, Director-General Ronald dela Rosa, pledged to “swiftly and decisively” investigate the conduct of those officers. During the ensuing melee, pushing, shoving, and rock throwing by angry protesters injured at least 30 police officers. The police also arrested 26 protesters.

The images from outside the US Embassy on Wednesday were painful reminders of past police brutality, including the “Mendiola Massacre” in 1987, and the deadly dispersal of protesters in Kidapawan City in April 2016. A Human Rights Watch investigation in Kidapawan found that police used unnecessary lethal force when they fired into a crowd of protesters, killing two and injuring dozens of others.

The national police have long been responsible for serious human rights violations with officers frequently implicated in the excessive use of force and torture of criminal suspects. The police are spearheading President Duterte’s homicidal “war on drugs,” killing an estimated 1,645 suspected drug users and dealers between July 1 and October 15. That dwarfs the 68 killings of suspects police recorded during “anti-drug operations” between January 1 and June 15. Police have attributed the killings to suspects who “resisted arrest and shot at police officers” but dela Rosa has defied calls for an impartial investigation into those deaths.

Dela Rosa said today that images of the police violence on Wednesday “saddened and angered me. I saw people that got hurt. I really don’t want any Filipino getting hurt.” He can take meaningful measures to help prevent unlawful injuries or deaths by police by initiating thorough and impartial investigations of all such incidents and ensuring that officers implicated in such abuses face prosecution. Failure to do so will only guarantee that the culture of impunity for unlawful police violence continues.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/20/philippine-police-probe-violent-protest-dispersal

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[From the web] Workers’ group slam Duterte’s defense of police brutality, holds President accountable -BMP

Workers’ group slam Duterte’s defense of police brutality, holds President accountable

bmplogoSocialist workers’ group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino today lambasted President Rodrigo Duterte’s response to the violent dispersal of protests in front of the US embassy this week, calling it “an act of violence against the people.”

“Instead of saying the only thing that must be said in the face of what
happened—-i.e. that the violence was unacceptable, the President has instead chosen to lawyer for the police and justify their actions,” the group’s spokesperson Atty Luke Espiritu lamented.

“We at the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino are not entirely surprised by this response: This, after all, is the same President who has repeatedly said that he will protect and pardon any cop accused of committing human rights violations, who has said that he is “happy to slaughter” more than 3,000 criminals, and who wants to bury Marcos—the dictator who ran over the lives of thousands—as a “hero,” Espirutu said.

“But, while not surprising, his response is still shocking and unacceptable. By choosing to lawyer for the cops and refusing to condemn their blatant abuse of power, Duterte is in effect telling cops: “It’s OK to ram protesters. You will just be ‘investigated’ and invited to have coffee with the President. And he is in effect telling us: “Don’t count on the police not to run you over in case you decide to fight for your rights,” Espiritu added.

Unlike other groups who have chosen to hold only the police officials accountable, BMP insisted that responsibility for what happened goes all the way back to the top.

“As commander-in-chief of the country’s police and military, the President bears command-responsibility for the shocking violence that happened this week. He certainly did not create the climate of impunity that now reigns in our country. But by repeatedly shielding abusive cops and now refusing to condemn the shocking violence they had just committed, he has certainly further reinforced it—encouraging many other cops to think they really can get away with attempted murder,” Espiritu said.

“We reiterate our demand for justice and we call for accountability—not just from the cops, but also from the President himself,” Espiritu added.

PRESS RELEASE
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
22 October 2016

Contact person: Atty. Luke Espiritu, BMP Spokesperson @ 0933-0417125

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[From the web] Philippine Tribal Minorities Demand Justice Duterte has Opportunity to Deliver on Indigenous Rights By Carlos H. Conde

Philippine Tribal Minorities Demand Justice
Duterte has Opportunity to Deliver on Indigenous Rights
By Carlos H. Conde
Researcher, Asia Division
@condeHRW

200px-Hrw_logo.svgHundreds of indigenous people marched in the streets of Manila on Monday, demanding respect for their basic human rights. They called for the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to drop trumped-up charges brought by the previous administration against 200 tribal minority rights advocates and urged that state-security forces stop committing abuses against tribal minorities, particularly on the southern island of Mindanao.

Monday’s protest is the latest attempt by indigenous groups to seek justice and accountability for abuses against them. Indigenous groups often bear the brunt ofhuman rights violations by state security forces in the Philippines, especially in areas with mining and plantation interests. Oneegregious attack documented by Human Rights Watch occurred in September 2015 in the province of Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, when members of a military-backed paramilitary group killed the school administrator and two tribal leaders in Lianga town, while hundreds of terrified students and residents looked on.

Survivors of an August 2015 attack on Pangantucan town, Bukidnon province, that left five Manobo tribal members dead implicated the military in those deaths. Since early this year, hundreds of tribal minorities have sought refuge in a religious compound in Davao City after fleeing their communities in Davao del Norte province because of abuses by military and paramilitary personnel. Tribal minority rights activists are particularly vulnerable. Victims of alleged paramilitary violence include tribal leader and environmentalist Jimmy Liguyon in Bukidnon province, killed in 2012, and Jimmy Saypan, secretary general of the Compostela Farmers Association, killed last week by unidentified gunmen in Compostela Vallet province.

President Duterte has spoken out in defense of the rights of tribal minorities. In May 2015, while mayor of Davao City, Duterte called for an end to the killings of lumad tribal minorities. Since becoming president on June 30, 2016, Duterte has urged the return of indigenous peoples displaced in the September 2015 Surigao del Sur attack and welcomedtribal leaders to the presidential palace.

Duterte has an opportunity deliver on his promises to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. But that will require him to take measures that he has scorned during his ongoing abusive “war on drugs”: enforcing rule of law, curbing security force abuses, and defending constitutional rights and freedoms. Until Duterte drops his hostility to those concepts, the suffering of the country’s tribal minorities is unlikely to end anytime soon.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/18/philippine-tribal-minorities-demand-justice

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[Statement] Solidarity with and Justice for Indigenous Peoples! -ATM

ATM Statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
Solidarity with and Justice for Indigenous Peoples!
August 4, 2016

atm-logoAlyansa Tigil Mina, an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups from civil society, which opposes the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines, is strongly supporting the Indigenous Peoples (IP) and Indigenous Cultural Communities.

As we commemorate the World’s Indigenous Peoples Day today, we reiterate our firm support in their assertion of their right to self-determination, and their struggle against development aggression, including large-scale and destructive mining. . The IPs have long been fighting against the encroachment of big mining firms on their ancestral domains.  Their land, waters, trees,  and other source of livelihood have been  destroyed in the name of big business and profit.  Places of worship, burial grounds  and other sites of cultural practices have been desecrated.

Despite the passage of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 or IPRA, the violation of the IPs  rights has persisted with both the State and big business in collaboration with one another.   The condition in IP communities has worsened with the use of the military, private armies and investment defense forces resulting to extrajudicial killings, massacres, harassment and intimidation of IP and their leaders openly resisting and opposing mining.

Just like what happened with the Tampakan, almost 4 years have passed when the Capcion family (a B’laan mother and with her two sons­) was killed helplessly after their head declared a tribal war against Sagittarius Mines Inc.   Justice has yet to be served to almost 144 IP environmentalists that are victims of extrajudicial killings!

While we welcome the pro-people and pro-environment declarations of the Duterte government, and its commitment to institute significant reforms in the mining industry to ensure sustainable development, we challenge President Rodrigo R. Duterte to:

1. Investigate IP killings and violations
2. Prioritize the Passage of Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB)
3. Incorporate social, HR issues in on-going environmental audit of DENR
4. fast-track the issuance and awarding of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADTs)

Until the fight of the IPs against mining corporations is not over, Alyansa Tigil Mina will stand with them in their struggle for their collective rights!

Signed:
Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
The Climate Reality Project Philippines
Bayay Sibuyanon Inc.
Baywatch
Fr. Pete Montallana  of Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance Inc. and Indigenous Peoples -Apostolate- Diocese of Infanta
Philippine Association for Intercultural Development
Ang Aroroy Ay Alagaan (4A’s)
Didipio Earth Savers Multipurpose Inc. (DESAMA)
Marian Women Producers Cooperative

###

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator 09175498218 – nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Karl Santos, ATM Media and Communications Officer 09173011934 – media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net

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[Press Release] Mining affects indigenous women human rights, Phil women’s groups said at 64thCEDAW session

Mining affects indigenous women human rights, Phil women’s groups said at 64thCEDAW session

Kakay Tolentino (left) delivering the groups’ oral statement with Judy Pasimio (middle) during the CEDAW committee dialogue with the CSOs / Geneva.  Photo by: WLB

Kakay Tolentino (left) delivering the groups’ oral statement with Judy Pasimio (middle) during the CEDAW committee dialogue with the CSOs / Geneva. Photo by: WLB

atm-logoGeneva, Switzerland – Mining projects which encroached upon IP territories without our genuine consent causing a web of women human rights violations has been one of the statements issued by indigenous women and women’s rights advocates from the Philippines in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 64th Session. The Philippines country report on CEDAW is under review on July 5, 2016.

Kakay Tolentino, from the Dumagat indigenous community, spoke on violence against indigenous women.

Tolentino represented the BAI (National Network of Indigenous Women). She said, “We would like to bring to the attention of the members of the Committee the increasing number of deaths, escalating human rights violations, intensifying poverty, and heightening of vulnerabilities of indigenous women.”

She pointed out that despite the passage of the RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) and the RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, laws containing provisions on equality and the protection of rights of indigenous women, the government has yet to fulfill its obligations to protect them and their communities from different forms of violence, including harassments and extrajudicial killings.

Based on their documentation, ninety (90) indigenous women and men became victims of extrajudicial killings, from July 2010-April 2016, under the Aquino administration. Most of those who have been killed are defenders of their rights from the corporate and state projects such as large-scale mining.

The killing of Juvy Capion was raised in the dialogue with the members of the CEDAW committee. Capion, a B’laan woman leader who was strongly opposed to the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI)-Xstrata Mining project in their ancestral domain, was killed by military men last October 18, 2012, along with her two young sons.

The groups also raised the patriarchal structure of leadership within indigenous communities and how it has the tendency to exclude women in decision-making processes.

“Active participation of women in decision-making regarding mining projects in their ancestral domains is shunned by the manner in which information is transmitted and consultations are conducted. No serious measures are being taken by the State to ensure indigenous women’s consent as part of the decision-making processes. On the other hand, mining corporations are not held accountable for their failure to do so.” Judy A. Pasimio, Coordinator of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) shared to the members of the CEDAW committee during the Philippine lunch briefing.

Pasimio added, “The Philippines national development framework geared towards the maximum utilization of the country’s natural resources for profit gives preferential treatments to foreign investments, whereby women human rights are being sacrificed. Gender biases and discrimination, patriarchal structures, and violence against women are being institutionalized to further the interests, particularly of the mining corporations.”

The shadow report jointly submitted by the Franciscan International, Franciscan Solidarity Movement for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (FSMJPIC), LILAK  and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) focused mainly on the different forms of violations of women human rights brought about  by the development framework which is exploitative, extractive and profit-oriented.

Other major concerns raised in the shadow report include the impact of mining on right to food – rural and indigenous women’s main source of livelihood dependent on forest, land and water, the right to health, and violence against indigenous women human rights defenders,

There were two other shadow reports focusing on the different forms of indigenous women human rights violations by the Philippine State submitted jointly by Tebtebba Foundation, Asia Indigenous Women’s Network, Bai (National Network of Indigenous Women), Teduray Women’s Group (TWG) and the Silingang Dapit sa Sidlakang Mindanao.

NOTE:
Photo from CEDAW 64th session can be accessed at [https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-SCEYNN-_aeazdIN0hkdEVBRUU&usp=sharing] Please credit all photos to LILAK.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

For more information:
Judy Pasimio, LILAK Coordinator – judy@lilak.net
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator 09175498218 – nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Karl Isaac Santos, ATM Media and Communications Officer 09173011934 – media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net

Press Release
July 5, 2016

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[From the web] Dispatches: The Philippine Picture of Badjao Displacement By Carlos H. Conde

Dispatches: The Philippine Picture of Badjao Displacement
By Carlos H. Conde

Carlos_Conde_web  2013 Byba Sepitkova Human Rights WatchThe striking image of a Filipino girl – a member of the indigenous Badjao tribe – begging in the streets of Lucban, a town in Quezon province south of Manila, has gone viral in the Philippines and prompted a flood of public concern and support for her and her impoverished family. A photographer spotted the child, later identified as 13-year-old Rita Gaviola from Zamboanga City on the southern island of Mindanao. Tweets and Facebook posts and media coverage celebrated the girl’s beauty and her dream to become a teacher.

Those reports don’t mention that there are thousands of other residents of Zamboanga City, including many Badjao, who were displaced and forced into destitution following the armed confrontation between government forces and rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front in September 2013. That violence killed nearly 200 people, displaced more than 100,000 residents, and destroyed thousands of homes. The city’s ethnic minorities, including the Badjao, were particularly vulnerable to displacement and forced relocation following the fighting. The authorities, with little or no genuine consultation, forcibly moved the Badjao inland from their homes along the coast, despite their traditional occupation as fishermen. To this day, thousands of Badjao and other residents, mostly Muslims, remain homeless, living in dire conditions in evacuation sites.

The Badjao, like many of the Philippines’ indigenous peoples, are a neglected tribe. Commonly referred to as “sea gypsies” because they live and fish in coastal areas, the Badjao live in extreme poverty – often beyond the reach of state assistance due to their nomadic existence. The result is that many of them join the ranks of beggars in the Philippines’ urban centers or dive for coins thrown by boat passengers.

The public concern for Rita Gaviola is an opportunity for the new Philippine government to strengthen efforts to ensure the rights of livelihood, housing and health to the Badjao and other indigenous peoples who, too often, are denied those rights in the face of discrimination, conflict or displacement. The government should start by providing adequate resettlement based on consultation for the Badjao and the thousands of others who remain in squalid evacuation centers in Zamboanga City. The government should also help ensure the livelihood of the Badjao by relocating them to areas that allow access to the seashore so that they can work as fishermen. Perhaps then Rita Gaviola – and the thousands of Badjao like her – can finally stop begging and return home.

Read full article @www.hrw.org

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[Press Release] Student-Leaders challenge Aquino, Duterte to address ‘neglected’ IP issues in country -SPARK

YOUTH GROUPS: HYPE WON’T SOLVE BADJAO GIRL’S PROBLEMS
Student-Leaders challenge Aquino, Duterte to address ‘neglected’ IP issues in country

SPARK KabataanYouth groups expressed concern over the growing hype surrounding rising internet sensations from marginalized sectors in society, particularly Rita Gabiola, popularly known as ‘BadjaoGirl.’

Viral photos of Gabiola, taken while she was begging for alms in the streets of Lucena City, have propelled the young girl to be propelled into popularity. Since then, several personalities and institutions have rushed to shower her and her family with donations and other forms of aid.

SamahanngProgresibongKabataan (SPARK), a national organization of students which engages issues of exploitation and massive inequality in the country, noted several factors which are downplayed by the hype surrounding Gabiola’s rise to popularity.

“Members of the Badjao community, like many other indigenous groups in the country currently face issues of displacement, exploitation and alienation from their very own cultural heritage because of the growing inequalities, violence in their ancestral lands and the destruction of their native environment and livelihood,” said SPARK National Coordinator Arvin Buenaagua.

“As of 2015, data has placed the population of the Badjao community at 26, 400 scattered across Eastern Visayas, Northern Samar, San Bernardino Strait, Capul Island, San Isidro Island and Manila. While they are traditionally a seafaring tribe, some Badjao families have settled in impoverished coastal sections of highly-urbanized areas due to poverty and displacement,” Buenaagua said. “This leaves open the possibility of members of the tribe, especially children and women, to be subject to exploitation and harassment, not to mention the detachment of younger generations to their well-established traditions and culture,” he added.

“The surrounding hype implies that most people only notice IPs when they are ‘photoshoot-material’ and thus, ‘sellable,’” said Alex Castro of NagkakaisangIskolar Para SaPamantasan at Sambayanan (KAISA UP).

Castro, currently studying Law in the University of the Philippines Diliman, stressed that the ‘romanticizing’ the plight of Gabiola and her family will do very little difference to the quality of life experienced by indigenous tribes. “Since the passage of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act in 1997, no successful attempt has been initiated to address the issue of poverty and exploitation among these nomadic tribes. Not to mention the disenfranchisement of these groups in policies addressing armed violence and environmental destruction in rural and coastal areas of the country,” she elaborated.

Castro noted that while civil society and individual citizens’ efforts to help the family of Gabiola are admirable, the Philippine government must recognize the societal realities that put Gabiola’s family into such dismal conditions. Castro also noted the fact that education in all levels remain inaccessible to most IPs, with its high cost and discriminatory policies.

“Gabiola’s desire for a quality education is reflective of the desire espoused by all citizens, especially those who see it as a tool for social mobility and self-realization,” said Castro. “We cannot simply address this issue by giving out token scholarships, but by providing free education for all citizens, regardless of where they came from and which group they belong to,” she concluded.

Duterte and PNoy urged to integrate IP issues in development policies
Castro and Buenaagua urged the incumbent Aquino government in its last few weeks. and the incoming Duterte administration to take drastic and immediate action to uplift and secure the lives and livelihoods.

“President-elect  Rodrigo Duterte, as the first President to hail from Mindanao, must be very familiar with the poverty and violence IPs have to face daily and therefore should prioritize the integration of their issues in the country’s policies on development and peace,” said Buenaagua. “This entails a departure from the neoliberal policies espoused by the Aquino PDP, which President-Elect Duterte also professed to adopt, putting business interests ahead of the urgent demands of the people and resulting to massive displacement, loss of livelihood and the concentration of wealth to a privileged few.”

References:
Arvin Buenaagua, SPARK National Coordinator – 0915 352 3951
Ale Castro, KAISA Spokesperson – 0906 404 5023
Email Address: spark.diliman@gmail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/SparkKabataan
Website: progresibongkabataan.weebly.com

 

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[Urgent Appeal] Torture and Killing of Indigenous People -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL
April 13, 2016
(PHILIPPINES) Torture and Killing of Indigenous People

ISSUES: Assertion of right to life; freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
______________________________________________________________________________

Dear friends,

TFDP logo smallThe Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the torture and killing of three indigenous people.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP, kindly send email to tfdp.1974@gmail.com.
______________________________________________________________________________

Title: Kipad, Oto, and Mopak TOR, EJK
Case: Torture and Extra-Judicial Killing
Victims: Ruel Falito Kipad, 39 years old
Tono Silongan Oto, 39 years old
Martinez Lagay Mopak, 26 years old
Date of Incident: February 12, 2016; 2:00 A.M.
Place of Incident: Sitio Kuhan, Barangay Upper Sepaka, Surallah, South Cotabato
Alleged Perpetrators:Composite members of Regional Public Safety Battalion, Special Investigation and Detection Team and Special Action Force of Region 12
Motive: Suspected Drug Pushers
Rights Violated: Right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and right to life
______________________________________________________________________
Account of the incident:

On February 12, 2016 around 2:00 a.m., a composite team composed of members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion, the Special Investigation and Detection Team, and the Special Action Force of Region 12 raided five houses of T’boli-B’laan tribe members in Sitio Kuhan, Barangay Upper Sepaka, Surallah, South Cotabato. The raid resulted in the death of Ruel Kipad, 39 years old, Tono Oto, 39, and Martinez Mopak, 26.

According to Angelita Kipad, she and her husband Ruel were awakened by gun shots and loud bangs on their door. When they asked who were outside, they were ordered to get out of their house. When they opened the door, they saw armed men in seven-color uniforms without name tags wearing bonnets. The couple asked the men who they were but they did not receive any reply. They went out of the house while guns were pointed at them.

Ruel raised both hands. He was ordered to kneel on the ground. He was then handcuffed behind his back. Angelita embraced her husband and told the armed men not to kill him. She also asked what his husband’s offense was.

The men asked Ruel about the group he belonged to. He answered that he is a member of the Guardians International–Surallah Chapter. He added that he was a barangay health worker for twelve years and he is now working as a motorcycle driver transporting charcoal. The police told Ruel that he is a liar because he is armed and a member of a bandit who sells drugs. He denied the allegations.

The couple again asked the men who they were. The men replied that they are from the “region” and asked Ruel if he knew one of the policemen who was with them. Ruel answered that he did not know any of them.

Five policemen took Angelita away from her husband. From a distance, she saw that while her husband was being questioned, a dagger was being pressed onto his shoulder. She shouted for the policemen to stop, but she was dragged farther from her husband.

When the policemen went away, Angelita went nearer to where her husband was. She saw that while her husband was in a stooping position, he was shot twice. Angelita was shocked and afraid. The police saw her and dragged her away. She asked if her husband was already dead. They replied that they only gave him a warning so that her husband will admit his membership to the Sipot Gang and identify the other members in the area. Angelita told them that her husband is not a gang member.

She said that after the policemen shot her husband, the other policemen went to the neighboring houses and fired at them. She pleaded for them to stop since her children and the sick elderly were inside the house. The police did not hear her. They went inside the house and dragged the children and brought them to her.

After 30 minutes, a police vehicle with number 03 on the hood arrived and approached Angelita’s house. She saw the policemen carry something to the vehicle, and then went away.

After an hour, the police called Angelita and told her to come near her house since the barangay officials have arrived. When she got there, she looked for her husband but she did not find him. She saw that there was blood on the ground. There was also a grenade, a gun, and his husband’s wallet containing methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).
Angelita cried and told the police that she now understood why she was brought away from her husband, and that was because they would plant evidences against him. She asked where her husband was, and the police answered that he was brought to the hospital. Angelita told the police that she will file a case against them for what they did.

At around 5:00 a.m., she went to the hospital in Surallah. When she arrived at the hospital, she was informed that her husband was already dead and his body was already at the funeral home.

When Angelita found her husband’s body, she saw that there were stab wounds on his face and shoulder. There were also gunshot wounds to his back and stomach.

In the same incident, Amy Oto and her family were sleeping in their house when they heard someone breaking into their fence. After a minute, a loud bang on their door was heard. Her whole family was awakened. They asked the identity of the persons outside but they received no reply. When they asked if they were policemen, someone answered that they were only doing their job and they were just obeying the orders of their superiors.

Her two children got very scared and jumped outside from the window. The police shot at them. Amy shouted for the police to spare her children, but the police did not heed her request.

The police went inside their house and instructed Amy’s husband Tono Oto and his nephew Martinez Mopak to duck on the floor. The police asked them to what group they belonged to. Their heads were stomped while their faces were pressed against the pillows. They were handcuffed and beaten with the butts of long firearms. They were forced to admit who they really were. Martinez who is deaf and mute did not answer. Tono, because of shock, was not able to reply as well. Amy and her children were all crying as they were ordered to get out of the house.

The policemen asked Amy if they have relatives nearby. She answered yes and pointed to the houses of her relatives. She went with the policemen to the houses of her relatives, but when they were a few steps away, she heard two gun shots from her house.

She shrieked in fear and called her husband but there was no answer. Since their house was already wrecked, she saw what went on inside her house. She saw a policeman pull out something from the pocket of his trouser and placed it on the floor. Amy asked the police if they killed her husband because he was not moving anymore. She asked them what crime he committed. The police told her to stay calm because her husband was not dead, and just had a minor cut. The police again told her that they were only doing their job and following orders from their superiors.

Tono and Martinez were brought to the police vehicle, and then the vehicle sped away. The police told Amy that her husband and his nephew will be brought to the hospital.

The police showed Amy search warrants for the houses of Luis Bangon and Ruel Kipad and asked her where their houses were. She pointed at their houses. The police then asked her for her husband’s name and she replied. The police told her that they had no warrant to search her house. When Amy asked them why they included her house in the raid, the police said that they just made a mistake. Amy told them that she will file a case against them. The police did not say anything.

The police then called Amy to enter her house. The barangay officials were also inside her house when one of the policemen asked his companions if there was a junior officer among them. A junior officer went in. When he saw a short firearm on the floor, he picked it up. Amy was surprised when the police told her that they did not own the gun. She realized that it was planted evidence against her husband.

After the incident, she went to the hospital in Surallah to check on her husband and his nephew. When she arrived, she was informed that both were already at the morgue. Her husband’s wrists were broken and had a gunshot wound in the abdomen. Martinez also had three gunshot wounds in his body.

Both Angelita and Amy are mourning the loss of their husbands. They said that they will fight for justice. Amy said that she pities Martinez very much for she was sure that he did not understand what was happening. Angelita and Amy had a hard time recovering the bodies because they did not have enough money to pay for the funeral home services. The bodies were laid to rest after a week.

During the incident, the police raided five houses with eleven families in Sitio Kuhan. The residents said that they were very scared when the raid happened. The children and the elderly were traumatized after the incident.

The police also arrested four alleged members of Sipot gang from Sitio Kuhan and Sitio Matampak through a search warrant issued by RTC Branch 38 signed by Judge Oscar Noel, Jr. of Polomolok, South Cotabato. The suspects were T’boli and B’laan tribe members.

REQUESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to the authorities, calling on them to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation on the torture done by security forces that resulted in the deaths of Ruel Kipad, Tono Oto, and Martinez Opak in Sitio Kuhan, Barangay Upper Sepaka, Surallah, South Cotabato and to urge concerned agencies to immediately resolve the case and give justice to the victims.
SAMPLE LETTER

Dear ____________,

I am writing to draw your attention to the case of three indigenous people who were tortured and later killed.

I have learned that on February 12, 2016 around 2:00 a.m., a composite team composed of members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion, the Special Investigation and Detection Team, and the Special Action Force of Region 12, raided five houses of T’boli-B’laan tribe members in Sitio Kuhan, Barangay Upper Sepaka, Surallah, South Cotabato.

Security forces had a warrant to search the houses of alleged Sipot gang members in the said area. The raid resulted in the torture and death of Ruel Kipad, 39 years old, Tono Oto, 39, and Martinez Mopak, 26.

It has been brought to my attention that Ruel Kipad was ordered to get out from his house and ordered to kneel on the ground while the security forces interrogated him. While being questioned, he was forced to admit that he was a gang member. His shoulder was pierced with a dagger and he was later shot twice that led to his death.

I was also informed that during the raid, Tono Oto and Martinez Mopak were stomped on their heads while their faces were pressed in the pillows. They were then handcuffed and beaten using the butt of a rifle. They were also forced to admit being gang members and later shot to death.

Philippine Republic Act 9745 Section 2(b) provides that, “…the human rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners are respected at all times; and that no person placed under investigation or held in custody of any person in authority or, agent of a person authority shall be subjected to physical, psychological or mental harm, force, violence, threat or intimidation or any act that impairs his/her free will or in any manner demeans or degrades human dignity.”

With this, I urge the Philippine authorities to promptly and impartially investigate this case and ensure that the perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law and that the torture and deaths of Kipad, Oto, and Mopak will be given justice.

I look forward to you urgent action.

Respectfully yours,

_______________________

Please send your letters to:

Hon. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace
JP Laurel St. San Miguel, Manila
Philippines 1005
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Email: op@president.gov.ph

Police Director General Ricardo C. Marquez
Chief, Philippine National Police
PNP National Headquarters
Camp General Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +632 724 8763 / +632 723 0401
Tel: + 632 726 4361 / +632 4366 8763
Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

Police Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo
Chief, PNP Human Rights Affairs Office
Tel: +632 650 2794/ +632 723 0401 loc 3668/3678
Email: pnphrao@gmail.com

Chairperson Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Fax: +63 2929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188

Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
Chairperson
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
Email: chairpersonsoffice@gmail.com

 

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[Video] Damn the Kaliwa Dam in the Sierra Madre

Damn the Kaliwa Dam in the Sierra Madre
Posted on Youtube by Pedro Montallana

Published on Oct 23, 2015

The video is about the peoples’ opposition to the construction of the Kaliwa, Laiban and Kanan B-1 Dams.

President Benigno Aquino III cited Kaliwa dam in his 5th State of the Nation Address (On July 28, 2014) as one of the infrastructure projects approved by his administration as part of its drought prevention efforts.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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