Tag Archives: Maguindanao

[From the web] Military operations are “the main driving factor of displacement” in Maguindanao By Carlos H. Conde

Dispatches: Military Abuses in Southern Philippines
Military operations are “the main driving factor of displacement” in Maguindanao
By Carlos H. Conde

Here’s a snapshot of the plight of tens of thousands of internally displaced people in the Philippine province of Maguindanao after an anti-insurgent military operation: women, children, and the elderly endure the heat in makeshift evacuation camps with inadequate food, medical care, and sporadic electricity supply. Many are sick; at least one child has died from dehydration. They sleep on cartons and blankets on the ground, exposed to the elements.

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This is the ongoing humanitarian fallout from a security forces calamity that occurred three months ago. In the early morning of January 25, dozens of elite police commandos were deployed to Maguindanao to arrest terrorist suspects hiding among local insurgents from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its splinter group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. That operation became a deadly debacle in which 44 of the commandos died, along with 10 insurgents and 7 civilians. The military responded to the incident with an “all-out-offensive” against the insurgents. Politicians obsess over who should take responsibility for the police deaths while ignoring the toll that the ongoing military operation is having on the local people.

The Muslim residents of restive Mindanao, the southern Philippine island where Maguindanao is located, are no strangers to dislocation due to separatist armed conflict. But the scale of the impact of this operation on people is significant, even by local standards. The number of internally displaced people in Maguindanao has fallen to about 70,000 after peaking at more than 125,000 after January 25, but their situation remains dire. In a report issued this week, Protection Cluster, a United Nations-supported initiative of government and nongovernmental groups, indicates that the military offensive has resulted in numerous alleged serious human rights abuses, and that military operations in Maguindanao are “the main driving factor of displacement in the armed conflict.”

The report also alleges that people’s homes were destroyed as a result of the offensive, that the military has created indefinite “no-go” areas and unnecessarily restricted people’s freedom of movement, and that it has harassed people who try and return home to secure livestock, crops, and their belongings. The report also alleges that soldiers are present in evacuation centers and relief distribution sites, are present in schools, and have even deployed children to gather intelligence about insurgent operations.

These allegations demand an urgent investigation. Philippine President Benigno Aquino needs to make clear to the armed forces that the liberty, safety, and livelihoods of the people of Maguindanao cannot be held hostage to anti-insurgent operations.

http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/04/17/dispatches-military-abuses-southern-philippines

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[Blog] On Popularizing War and the Mamasapano Killing by Norman A. Novio

On Popularizing War and the Mamasapano Killing
by Norman A. Novio

Vote for this article for the 5th HR Pinduteros’ choice awards…

Today (January 30) is a National Day of Mourning. The whole nation is in grief on the killing of the 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force in an encounter happened last Sunday, January 25, 2014, birthday of the late President Corazon Aquino, in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Many Filipinos demanded an All-Out War against the so-called terrorist groups like what former AFP Commander-in-chief and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada did. To peace advocates, this proposal is disapproving. Let us not forget that the military victory gained by the Estrada administration was impermanent. After major military camps of the rebels fell in the hands of the government forces, MILF regrouped and gained more strength. Erap’s All-Out War became an open recruitment opportunity for the Muslim rebels.

Norman Novio

Not few among us emotionally resorted to ethnic slurs against the Muslims and a huge number of citizens criticized Benigno S. Aquino III for the tragic incident. As sorrow swallows up the nation, innuendos and speculations came out from practically all sectors of society. There are claims that SAF’s main target, Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan”, Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head is already dead but this needs further confirmation. Stories keep pouring and opinions coming from known groups and influential personalities gained media attention but those voices from civilians who are right there at the conflict areas are hardly heard.

Read full article @nanovio.blogspot.com

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[Statement] SENTRO Slams Sectors Sowing anti-Muslim Prejudice and anti-Peace Talks Sentiments after Mamasapano

SENTRO Slams Sectors Sowing anti-Muslim Prejudice
and anti-Peace Talks Sentiments after Mamasapano

SEEPING OUT of the so-called “misencounter” last Jan. 25 are the troubling questions and apparent evasions and cover-ups: Who really are responsible for sending the PNP-SAF troops into a veritable death trap in a remote village in Mamasapano, Maguindanao? Why did this police operation flagrantly disregard the existing ceasefire mechanisms, including not notifying the Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG)? What are the exact roles and how is the accountability here of President Benigno Aquino III; his favorite PNP chief, the suspended Alan Purisima; his alter ego and executive secretary, Paquito Ochoa; and the shadowy US military-led Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines?

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However, these are not the only ones that unfortunately cropped up in the Mamasapano incident. Impulsive hawks with their knee-jerk reaction and right-wing demagogues with their messianic blabbers are fanning the flames of Islamophobia, or indiscriminate hatred and distrust of anything Muslim, of Hollywood-inspired call to arms for an all-out war, of a distorted black and white worldview of good and evil, of wholesale anti-MILF stance, of reckless and sweeping call to terminate the peace process between the government and the MILF.

Centuries of attempts to violently subjugate and wantonly exploit the peoples in Mindanao (or anywhere else for that matter) – from the colonial invaders to Manila-based “imperial” government – have resulted only to interludes of fleeting “peace and order” but followed again and again by either scattered or organized uprisings. Indeed, a long lasting peace will be realized if genuine justice and freedom are ensured. On the other hand, sincerely talking and striving for peace, however difficult and painstaking, is also a very promising avenue for paving the way for this elusive “peace with justice” dream.

Thus, while actively seeking honest and unedited answers to the Mamasapano incident – from both the government and the MILF – we must consciously strive for an inclusive justice to ALL those who have fallen from this tragedy – the 44 PNP-SAF personnel, the 7 unnamed civilians and the 18 MILF fighters. Their respective families also lost a husband, father, brother, kin, comrade and friend.

This is why the DepEd directive – that during flag-raising ceremonies, schoolchildren should offer one second of silence to every SAF operative killed “plus one more second for all other casualties” – is a half-baked tribute for justice and peace. Why not extend the same homage to every civilian and MILF fighters who were also killed in Mamasapano? What does such a “tribute” tell our kids? That the life of one PNP-SAF is equal to the lives of all the civilians and MILF who were killed?

We must continue to support the current peace process as it remains a viable, just and enduring solution to the never-ending armed conflict in Mindanao. At the same time, any form of religious or racial bigotry should be vigorously opposed as it has no place in human society and it would only further inflame anger, violence and mistrust.

Contact Person: Josua Mata, 0917 7942431

3 February 2015

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[Tula] Mis-encounter? Ni Von Adlawan

Mis-encounter?
Ni Von Adlawan

Mis encounter by von adlawan

Sa gitna ng pagtatalo sa panukalang basic law
Nitong bagong kasunduan sa Bangsamoro
Marami ang namangha, mithiing kapayaan tunay’
Sa mga kapatid nating muslim makakamtanan na?

Ngunit binulaga ang lahat sa balita
bakbakan sa pagitan BIFF at SAF
Mga dugong dumanak sa tigang na damo
Sa gyerang pera- pera at habol ay pondo!

Maraming bilang ang nawalan ng buhay
PNP elite force natimbog sa sagupaan
pamilya’y nagluluksa sa kanilang bangkay
mahal sa buhay tuluyan nang nawalay

Ang kanilang bossing naghugas na ng kamay
tila ayaw madungisan ang mapitagang pangalan
Sa mga pangyayari- daw ay walang silang alam?
44 ka taong- namatay tila naligaw lang ng daan?

Sa Maguidanao ang US troops ay nakakampo!
Sa isang kumpas nito lahat ay areglado!
ilan pa ang bangkay ang bibilangain?
Ilan pang bala ang sasayangin?

Sa Mindanao, US troops ay nakabungad
Laging, dawit at sabit ngunit tikom bibig
Mga tuta nitong AFP, PNP magkaisang panig
Sa teroristang pakay daw banta sa seguridad

Isang kwento, pa ikot- ikot parang gulong
Mga sugat sa gyera na tila di nahihilom
Sa katas at dagta nitong likas na yaman
Makauring tunggalian tila nakabaon na karayom!

von adlawan

 

 

 

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Margin/

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[Press Release] 19 tribal clans affirm no to mining in Maguindanao -LRC/KsK

19 tribal clans affirm no to mining in Maguindanao

The members of the affected clans of the Teduray and Lambangian indigenous peoples stood firm in their declaration against the threat of mining in their communities in Datu Blah Sinsuat, Upi and South Upi municipalities.

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“We are against mining for the present and future generations of our people and for our ancestral domain which will clearly be devastated by mining”, shared Rogelio Patricio during the presentation of the CSO-led fact-finding mission results of mining-related incidences in Maguindanao on November 28 in Cotabato City.

Patricio, 49, heads the organized clans whose members first reported the digging activities and taking of soil samples in barangays Rempes, Renti and Ranao Pilayan in Upi without going through the process of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as required by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act or R.A.8371.

The results of fact-finding mission conducted by civil society organizations that were led by the Kilusang Maralita sa Kanayunan (Kilos Ka) and the Legal Rights and Natural Resources-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines on September 5 to 7 verified that “illegal mining activities took place in the ancestral domains of Teduray and Lambangian in Upi and parts of Datu Blah Sinsuat municipalities as early as April 23, 2014 until September 5, 2014”. So far, these activities have already “caused fear, anxiety, conflict, division and dissonance between and among community members”, the mission report further divulged.

The same communities were also the sites of logging concessions operated by Maguindanao Coastal Logging Concession and Pinansaran Logging Concession, Inc. which started operations in 1999. And now with the speculations on mining as shown by the digging and soil extraction from their lands, the tribal clans are fearful of its adverse effects to their sources of livelihood which have already become scarce because of the denudation of the forests and the destruction of watersheds through the years.

These indigenous communities are part of the claimants to the 201,850-hectare unified ancestral domain claim of the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo currently pending at the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Contact Persons:
Jo Manandil
Spokesperson, KILOS KA Maguindanao
09161822480

Atty. Grace Villanueva
Director, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-KSK/Friends of the Earth Philippines
09189436119

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[Press Release] Congress Holds Historic Consultation with IPs in Maguindanao

Congress Holds Historic Consultation with IPs in Maguindanao

Photo by Pop Salahog

Photo by Pop Salahog

Cotabato City – “We hope that this time, we will be heard, and our desires as a people will actually be considered and included in the forging of a genuine peace here in Mindanao.”

This was expressed by Timuay Alim Bandara, a Teduray leader of the Timuay Justice and Governance, in the congressional hearing held in Upi, Maguindanao.

The Committee on the National Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples of the House of Representatives conducted yesterday the first ever congressional public consultation in Upi, Maguindanao on the “Hopes and Aspirations of the Indigenous Peoples in the Bangsamoro” that gathered close to 800 participants from North and South Upi.

The six members of the committee led by Rep. Nancy A. Catamco heard the various issues and concerns of the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo relating to their socio-cultural, economic and political future in the Bangsamoro. The committee hoped that this discourse will prepare them in deliberating the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) once it reaches Congress.

“We all agreed that we are supporting the peace process but there are several issues that we want to clarify especially on the ancestral domains in the Bangsamoro”, said Rep. Catamco.

The Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo in the prospective Bangsamoro are more or less 122, 327 individuals in a 201, 850-hectare unified ancestral domain claim which covers the whole area of Upi, Datu Blah Sinsuat and South Upi as well as some parts of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Aguak, Datu Hofer, Talayan, Guindulungan, Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sangki in Maguindanao.

17 years after the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) was signed, the delineation process still remains at the initial stage despite the problems of logging, mining and other development projects that continue to plague the indigenous communities.

Timuay Alim Bandara, the head claimant shared his fear that despite their incessant efforts to peacefully struggle for its delineation, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) specifically in the Annex on Power-Sharing, placed the ancestral domain of the indigenous peoples under the exclusive power of the Bangsamoro.

“Our participation in this public consultation is a manifestation that we are already hurt and confused”, Bandara lamented. Meanwhile, Cong. Teddy Baguilat, the vice-chair of the committee assured the indigenous peoples that “the BBL is not a hindrance to the ancestral domain delineation. We encourage the NCIP to continue with the delineation.”

This long-drawn assertion of the IPs in the proposed core territory of the Bangsamoro is a product of raising the stakes in the peace process and making it more inclusive. Along this line, Timuay Labi Sannie Bello of the Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG) ended with an appeal that this politically-negotiated settlement made to address the historical injustices done to the Bangsamoro peoples will likewise correct the injustices done to the Indigenous Peoples through the passage of time.

The consultation was hosted by the local government of Upi led by Mayor Ramon Piang, Sr. The Committee will hold further public consultations in Midsayap and Davao on June 25 and 26, respectively.

Press Release
June 25, 2014

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[Statement] RHRC on the recent skirmishes in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato

RHRC Official Statement on the recent skirmishes
in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato
January 28, 2014

“RHRC calls for the observance of International Humanitarian law and Human Rights in law enforcement operations in Maguindanao and North Cotabato”

On January 26, 2014 , fighting erupted in some municipalities in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato between the government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Initial reports from grassroot monitors state that mortar shelling has reached as near as 100-200 meters away from the public market of barangay Poblacion, DatuPiang Municipality.

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Affected residents from the municipalities of DatuPiang, ShariffSaydona Mustapha, Mamasapano, Sultan saBarongis, DatuSalibo, Rajah Buayan in the province of Maguindanao have fled their homes and temporarily taken refuge in adjacent barangays and school buildings within their respective barangays, as early as a week before the skirmishes started.

On January 27, 2014, at 5:00 o’clock in the morning, heavy shelling started in DatuPiang and DatuSalibo. Helicopters were allegedly firing rockets and using machine guns. One civilian has been reported injured and brought to the Integrated Provincial Health Office – Maguindanao in ShariffAguak. Reports as to damage to properties are still to be confirmed.

We strongly urge the parties to immediately cease their hostilities in the areas populated by civilians and to observe International Humanitarian Law and human rights. The security, protection and welfare of civilians must be upheld at all times.

We call all agencies of the government to mobilize their resources to aid the internally displaced persons in the affected communities and to provide basic services they are entitled to under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (UNGPID). RHRC will continue to monitor these skirmishes and will investigate the incident.

For more information, please contact

Atty. AlgamarLatiph
Chairperson, RHRC
algamar.latiph.rhrc@gmail.com
(064)552-0436

Atty. Abdel Jamal R. Disangcopan
Head, RHRC Communications Group/ Lanaodel Sur Provincial Office
abdel.disangcopan.rhrc@gmail.com
(064)552-0436

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[Blog] Human rights week 2013 and beyond. By Mokong

HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK 2013 AND BEYOND.

By Mokong Perspektib

With the theme, “Sa kulang-kulang na pamamahala, TAO ang kawawa. Dapat Tao Muna,” the right of the people to government’s response in tragedies, climate change and all human rights was the focus of the campaign by human rights groups and activists in the Philippines that commemorated the Human Rights Week for more than one week. 

Here are 10 of the events that I was aware of that groups and individuals conducted in contribution of the 65th year commemoration of the UDHR and/or in the promotion of human rights.

Mokong logo copy

  1. NOVEMBER 23 –JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF AMPATUAN MASSACRE

International Day to End Impunity posterFour years have passed since 58 people were murdered in the deadliest attacked made against media called the “Ampatuan Massacre” on a hilltop in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Four years, and still justice remains illusive at nagiging pahabaan ng pisi ata ang laban.

“Four years after the Ampatuan massacre, it is all too clear that the only way we will ever find justice and the freedom to fully enjoy our rights is to lay claim to them, to seize them and, once we have them, to nurture them and jealously guard them against all those who would keep them from us.”-NUJP

Also worldwide, the International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) is commemorated annually on November 23 by advocates for free expression. IFEX (the global network defending and promoting free expression) declared the day as the International Day to End Impunity in 2011. It is a day dedicated to a call to action to demand justice for those who have been targeted for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and to shed light on the issue of impunity.

They chose November 23 because it marks the day of the Ampatuan Massacre.

http://daytoendimpunity.org/about/

Media groups and people’s organizations held protest action in Mendiola on the night of November 23 and called on PNoy to make good of his campaign promise that the case would be resolved before the end of his term, and that the government would grant financial assistance to the families of the victims.

Photo extracted from Rappler/LeAnne Jazul

Photo extracted from Rappler/LeAnne Jazul

“The media group slammed Coloma for making the claim “considering that nothing has yet been accomplished in terms of hastening the pace of the massacre trial and the fresh killings of members of the media in the first 3 years of the Aquino administration.”

According to Alan Ace-Aclan, spokesperson for the group, “with injustice still rife and the murder of journalists and other critics of the government is still being reported on the fourth year of the massacre and 3 years after President Aquino was elected, it is crystal clear that the culture of impunity is still very much alive.”

photo by Rappler/LeAnne Jazul

http://www.rappler.com/nation/44451-ph-impunity-reigns-4-years-maguindanao-massacre

  1. NOVEMBER 25 -16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER VIOLENCE

take back the techAn international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

In the Philippines, From 25 Nov to 10 Dec, Take Back The Tech! Philippines posted videos of advocates declaring their commitments to end VAW.

See videos @ https://www.facebook.com/takebackthetechPH

Take Back the Tech Philippines is a collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technologies (ICT) to end violence against women (VAW) in the Philippines, and around the world..

  1. NOVEMBER 30 – BONIFACIO @150
Photo extracted from Yuen Abana FB

Photo extracted from Yuen Abana FB

Some 5,000 strong contingent of the broad labor coalition NAGKAISA marched to Mendiola to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of the plebeian hero Andres Bonifacio.

Under the theme “Kalayaan Mula sa Pulitikong Kawatan, Delubyong Kahirapan, Trahedyang mula sa Kalikasan,” they called on PNoy to urgently address corruption, poverty and climate crisis.

The group also demanded that Gat Andes Bonifacio be declared as the first president of the Philippine republic.

  1. NOVEMBER 30 –BAYANIHAN REPUBLIC
Photo extracted from DAKILA FB page

Photo extracted from DAKILA FB page

Cyclists, artists and volunteers gathered together as one on November 30, 2013 as they take part in Bayanihan Republic, a fundraising festival for continued relief operations, psychosocial support, and on-ground initiatives to rebuild communities in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Bayanihan Republic is an initiative of Dakila in partnership with Jam 88.3, with the support of The Asia Foundation and the Fully Abled Nation and in cooperation with the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

  1. DECEMBER 2- 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS NIGHT
Photo by Rommel Yamzon

Photo by Rommel Yamzon

For the third time since 2011, Human Rights Online Philippines or HRonlinePH.com gave recognition to human rights defenders’ efforts to promote, assert and defend human rights by maximizing online platforms. The event celebrated the assertion for freedom of expression and opinion online and offline with the theme “Internet Freedom… our rights, our choice, our voice.”

Winners are

POSTS

AUTHOR

CATHEGORY

Project Byline: Rights All- You-Can campaign

UPCJ

HR Campaign

PR: Teachers ask DEPED to expedite the release of bonus

TDC

HR Network’s Post

[Appeal] An Open Letter to Pond’s and All Whitening Products

Renee Juliene M. Karunungan

HR Pindutero’s Post

WE ARE NATURE rodgalicha.com

Rodney Galicha

HR Blogsite

philippinehumanrights.org

PAHRA

HR Website

Love is…Freedom from Violence!

World March of Women – Pilipinas

HR Event

Rated PG at PETA Arts Zone: “Love Does Not Hurt” campaign launch

Dakila and PETA Arts Zone

HR Photo

March 8, 2013 International Women’s Day

World March of Women – Pilipinas

HR Video

Dissidente!

Jose Mario De Vega

HR Off the shelf/Resources

Hey Coke! RESPECT workers’ rights! FB page

APL

HR featured site

MD4HR.net

MAG

HR featured site

  1. DECEMBER 6 –CSO NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON AICHR TOR
Photo by TFDP

Photo by TFDP

Civil Society National Consultation on the review of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Terms of Reference (ToR) was held on December 6, 2013. at Sequoia Hotel in Quezon City.

The AICHR was established in 2009 and since then CSOs in the region have been trying to engage and advocate for its independence from States and assert relevant space for Civil Society participation for its effective performance as a Regional Human Rights Mechanism. The AICHR’s continuous denial of CSOs participation may be rooted in the limited mandate that is provided in its ToR, which has vague explanation on the role of CSOs in the work of the AICHR.

The ToR, as stated in it, is set for review in 2014 which will be five years after its entry into force. This may be seen as an opportunity for CSOs to propose and assert improvements for strengthening AICHR as a regional human rights body. 

Organized by FORUM-ASIA, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the consultation was attended by Regional and national Civil Society organizations working on different human rights issues and themes.

  1. DECEMBER 7 –POLITICAL PRISONERS DAY
Photo by TFDP

Photo by TFDP

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Balay Rehabilitation Center together with the Medical Action Group (MAG) and other groups held the annual political prisoners’ day on December 7, 2013 in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

  1. DECEMBER 10 -LIGHTUP4 YOLANDA VICTIMS, LIGHTUP4 RIGHTS

In commemoration of the December 10 International Human Rights Day of 2013, human rights groups held nationwide solidarity candle lighting in several parts of the country, for victims of typhoon Yolanda and other natural disasters and victims of human rights violations.

“We devote today’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day for all those who suffered and continue to suffer the result of climate change and environmental destruction caused by greed, development aggression and government neglect,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

Photo by TFDP Mindanao

Photo by TFDP Mindanao

While the group extended their heartfelt solidarity to all victims, they also called on government leaders to prioritize the needs of the victims and refrain from politicking.

 “We Light UP for Yolanda Victims, we Light Up for Human Rights, dahil higit sa lahat ay dapat unahin ng pamahalaan ang kapakanan ng mga taong nasalanta kaysa pagpapabida. Dapat matauhan na ang mga kurap na pulitiko at tigilan na ang pamumulsa ng pondo ng bayan at ilaan sa dapat nitong puntahan. Dahil dapat Tao muna! Hindi tubo at kita, dahil dapat tao muna hindi pamumulitika at pabida,” Amistad added.

 “Although our fellow Filipinos in disaster stricken areas, especially in Leyte needs all the help, relief and support we can provide, it will not be enough to solve the problems. Other future disasters will come and if the government will not be serious and sincere in performing its duty to protect its people instead of profit and corruption, all these will just be repeated,” Amistad said.

Photo by TFDP Visayas

Photo by TFDP Visayas

In Visayas, members of TFDP and its allies from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) held their “Light UP 4 Yolanda Victims, Light UP 4 Rights,” at the University of the Philippines Cebu. “We light candles in solidarity for all victims of climate disaster, mining and other profit driven development projects that does not benefit the people, instead harm them and lead to violations of their human rights.”

In Mindanao, human rights defenders, TFDP, PMCJ and Freedom from Debt Coalition together with other social and climate activists led the candle lighting activities in Centennial Park, San Pedro Street, Davao City. Candle lighting activities at Bukidnon, Surigao Del Sur and Iligan were also held simultaneously.

According to the group they are also dedicated the solidarity candle lighting for victims of Zamboanga siege, Bohol and Cebu Earthquake, and other natural and manmade disasters that devastated our peoples and communities. Saying, “We hope we can help inspire them to stand up and we are with them in struggling to regain what has been damaged and lost from them.”

Photo by TFDP

Photo by TFDP

Youth and students in several universities also gave their solidarity LightUP activity. Students from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde participated in the Quezon City Memorial Circle LightUP activity. Members of Youth for Rights (Y4R) and Teatro Kahimanawari of Marikina Polytechnic University held their candle lighting in front of Marikina City Hall Freedom Park. Others participated in the online solidarity in the social networking site Facebook.

In Quezon City, more than 300 members of the Philipppine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Amnesty International – Philippines and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), held the LightUP for Yolanda Victims, LightUP4 Rights activity at the fountain area in Quezon City Memorial Circle.

The group lamented that “Sa kulang-kulang na pamamahala, Tao ang kawawa.” The group also reminded PNoy of his obligation to issue a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) in compliance with the recommendation of the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

  1. DECEMBER 14 -1ST PHBS HEALTH BLOGGERS MEET AND LAUNCHING OF HEALTHACTIVIST.PH
Photo by HealthActivist.ph

Photo by HealthActivist.ph

The Philippine Health Bloggers Society (PHBS) in cooperation with HealthActivist.ph and @IYCPilipinas held the 1st PHBS Health Bloggers Meet on December 14, 2013 in Quezon City. The event was graced by guest speakers like Ana Santos, Grace Nicolas, and Alvin Dakis (IYC PH Chair).

“Advocacies are not something you will just talk about, you need to walk the talk. Go Offline to become credible and to show your real passion.” – Grace Bondad Nicolas

“To change the way we view sex, we have to change the way we talk about it”- Ana P. Santos

  1. DECEMBER 15 -PADYAKARAPATAN
Photo grabbed from AIph FB

Photo grabbed from AIph FB

More than a thousand participated in the Amnesty International Philippines’ Bike for Rights PadyaKarapatan 2013. They cycled through 7 cities of Metro Manila. The event aimed to remind the Aquino administration and the 16th Congress of their obligation to enact and implement legislation necessary for protecting human rights of Filipino citizens.

“Before the 2010 and 2013 elections, Amnesty International presented its Philippine Human Rights Agenda to the candidates and promises were subsequently made. As the year ends, we ask 10 questions – ‘Sampung Tanong ng Bayan sa Pamahalaang Aquino at Kongreso’ – to remind the Aquino government and the 16th Congress about important human rights agenda which they need to act upon immediately starting 2014,” explained Dr. Aurora A. Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.

 

 Visit the Mokong Perspektib @ http://mokongperspektib.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/human-rights-week-2013-and-beyond/

[People] Dispatches: Four Years On, No Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims. By Carlos H. Conde

Dispatches: Four Years On, No Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims
By Carlos H. Conde

The threat was unambiguous. If Bong Andal testified against one of the Philippines’ most powerful political families about their alleged involvement in the November 23, 2009 massacre on the southern island of Mindanao, his family would suffer. “They came again last month, showing our pictures to my relatives, letting them know that they’re watching us,” Andal told me by phone this week.

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Those threats – and the Philippine government’s inability or unwillingness to stop them – speak volumes about the glacial pace of judicial proceedings against alleged perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre, in which the Ampatuan family’s “private army” murdered 58 people. Four years after the bodies of the victims were located off of a highway outside of the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, the massacre remains a shameful exemplar of impunity in the Philippines.

The basic facts of the case are undisputed. Armed men paid by the Ampatuan family, including local police and soldiers, stopped a convoy that included the wife of opposition politician Esmael Mangudadatu, his supporters and family members, and more than 30 media workers.

Mangudadatu had sent them to file his candidacy for provincial governor in elections scheduled for the following year.

The gunmen herded everyone in the convoy to a hilltop a few miles away and promptly executed them. Many were buried in mass graves excavated by a backhoe operated by Bong Andal. In his statements to prosecutors, Andal said he witnessed members of the Ampatuan militia shoot several of the victims. The crime was the worst single attack against members of the media in history and one of the Philippines’ worst single incidents of political violence.

Four years later, the case is in effective judicial limbo. A total of 94 suspects remain at large. Bail petitions and testimony challenges by the defense lawyers of the 101 suspects in custody have overwhelmed the court.

But the problem of the Maguindanao massacre case is more than a failure of judicial process. It is about whether those threatening Bong Andal rather than the authorities control the proceedings. It’s a cruel reminder to activists, journalists, and politicians critical of the status quo that they too might be targeted with impunity. The human rights rhetoric of the government of President Benigno Aquino III has not transformed the dangerous reality on the ground. As Aquino enters the last half of his six-year term in office, he should recognize that he will be ultimately judged by his actions, not his words.

November 21, 2013

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[Statement] Compulsory poll duties, a legalized exploitation -TDC

Compulsory poll duties, a legalized exploitation

Photo by TDC

Photo by TDC

Public school teachers, under the law are deputized as poll workers and tasked to supervise the whole process, from opening up to the closing of polling precincts. In between, teachers must ensure that the choice of every voter has been cast and counted. But in order for us teachers to do this, we expose ourselves to all sorts of dangers- health risks, harassment, legal charges and physical attack.

The past elections were witness to the violence and danger our teachers suffer. Every election, there were reports of those teachers who were hurt, intimidated, met accidents and worst, killed in line of duty. There were heroic stories like the teacher who died and burned along with a classroom in Batangas, a DepEd supervisor who was killed after elections in Maguindanao, a group of teachers who survived the attacking armed men in Lanao del Norte, a teacher in Pangasinan who run over by a bus and died, a Valenzuela teacher who was hit by a van that made her paralyzed for several months and countless other narratives. All of them faced the danger in the name of service and to ensure democracy.

The list continues, teachers who suffer mental and physical fatigue for working more than 24 hours- without a single minute of sleep. The elections may have been finished the following day, but not the teachers’ suffering. The ire of losing candidates has traditional targeted poll workers, exposing the hapless teachers to violence and election-related cases. The losers would never concede and would always argue that they were cheated by their opponents, with the teachers facilitating the fraud. Most often, teachers have to face these problems alone, DepEd legal assistance is not readily available while Comelec serves as prosecutors, against the teachers.

Yet at the end of all these sufferings, teachers will only get a very minimal compensation- not even enough for transportation, paracetamol, food and energy drink to keep us awake, often, the honorarium comes very late, as late as a month or more.

These are the reasons why we push for the optional election duties. We cannot refuse the assignment to sit as election workers, even if this task may kill us or expose us to harm, even death. We cannot negotiate with the Comelec on the amount they want us to be paid. We can never demand for a lawyer to defend us when we are in trouble. The mandated poll duty of public school teachers is a legal excused for the government to perpetuate exploitation. #

Note: The TDC reiterates teachers’ major demands for the October 28, elections:
1. Ensure the protection of teachers from harassment, intimidation and physical attack;
2. Provide legal assistance for teachers who will be facing election-charges; and
3. Raise the honorarium from P2, 000 to P4, 000

Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chairperson 0920-5740241/ 3853437

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[In the news] ARMM’s Hataman vows to lower poverty incidence to “single-digit during our term” -Mindanews

ARMM’s Hataman vows to lower poverty incidence to “single-digit during our term”
By Carolyn O. Arguillas
May 20 2013

MindaNews

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/20 May) – OIC Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), recently proclaimed winner in the ARMM gubernatorial race, has vowed to lower the double-digit poverty incidence in the country’s poorest region, to “single-digit during our term.”

Among 17 regions nationwide, the five-province, two-city ARMM is the country’s poorest, posting 46.9% according to the National Statistical Coordination Board’s “First Semester Per Capita Threshold and Poverty incidence Among Families, by region and provinces, 2006, 2009 and 2012” released on April 23 this year.

ARMM comprises Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in the mainland, the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.

Nationwide, the NSCB said, “22 out of 100 families were estimated to be poor in the first semester of 2012 with the average poverty incidence at 22.3%. In the ARMM, the figure is more than twice at 46.9% or 47 out of 100 families.

In Lanao del Sur, the figure is thrice the national average at 68.9% and Maguindanao at 57.8%. Basilan’s poverty incidence is at 32.5%, Sulu’s is 30.4% while Tawi-tawi’s is 20.8%.

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[In the news] DepEd supervisor in Maguindanao town shot dead -MindaNews.com

DepEd supervisor in Maguindanao town shot dead
By Ferdinandh B. Cabrera
May 12 2013

MindaNewsCOTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 12 May) – The school district supervisor in the municipality of Salipada K. Pendatun (SKP) in Maguindanao was shot to death while his nephew is in critical condition due to gun shot wounds, police said.

Inspector Haron Macabanding, chief of police of SK Pendatun, identified the district supervisor as Abas Minsu; the injured nephew is Khadaffy Minsu.

Khadaffy has been brought to an undisclosed hospital in Tacurong City in neighboring Sultan Kudarat province, police said.

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[In the news] After the war: Untold stories from women in Mindanao -GMA News

After the war: Untold stories from women in Mindanao
Carmela G. LAPEÑA, GMA News
February 17, 2013

gmanewsonlineForced to flee during the all-out war in Mindanao, Maimona Musa Didatu-Bayan and her family struggled for almost a decade to rebuild their lives. Her story is just one of those from millions of women whose voices are left unheard as they are portrayed merely as victims of war.

Maimona lived in a far-flung area in Maguindanao province, but were forced to leave their home when former President Joseph Estrada declared the all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2000. “Masakit pero we have to prefer to leave our locality kay sa matamaan kami ng bomba,” she said during “Huntahan, Balitaan at Kapayapaan: A Dialogue with Media and Mindanao Women on the Peace Process” held on February 4.

Carrying what they could, Maimona’s family fled. Her aunt, who was pregnant with twins, gave birth in a tunnel, while all around them the bombing continued. The twins did not survive.

Read full article @www.gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] Another suspect in Ampatuan Massacre falls -MindaNews.com

Another suspect in Ampatuan Massacre falls
By Allen V. Estabillo, MindaNews.com
November 2 2012

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 02 November)– A former town councilor in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao who was allegedly involved in the gruesome Ampatuan Massacre has been arrested in Surallah, South Cotabato, a police official said on Friday.

Senior Supt. Randolf Delfin, South Cotabato police director, said that Abedin Alamada alias “Kumander Bedi” was nabbed at around midnight Wednesday by a joint police team in a house in Sitio Lanas, Barangay Upper Sepaka in Surallah town.

He said Alamada allegedly headed the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) of Datu Unsay town and was directly involved in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons, including 32 media workers, in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.

“His arrest was the result of efficient intelligence gathering and cooperation by concerned residents in the area,” Delfin said.

The police official said Alamada, who did not resist arrest, was nabbed based on a warrant of arrest issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn A Solis-Reyes.

The arresting team was composed of elements from the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office, Provincial Police Public Safety Company, Special Action Force, Surallah municipal police station and the Region 12 police intelligence division.

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[In the news] Palace prods SC to speed up Ampatuan massacre trial -InterAksyon.com

Palace prods SC to speed up Ampatuan massacre trial
By Dexter San Pedro, InterAksyon.com
November 1, 2012

MANILA, Philippines — Just weeks before the third anniversary of the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre, Malacanang on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to hasten the trial of those accused of murdering 58 persons, including 32 media workers, in Maguindanao province.

“It (trial) could move faster… It will depend on the Supreme Court on how to fast track the trial,” deputy Palace spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Valte reminded state prosecutors that President Benigno Aquino III does not want any delays to come from the government side.

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[In the news] Body not found but 58th massacre victim recognized -INQUIRER.net

Body not found but 58th massacre victim recognized.

By Jeannette I. Andrade, Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 26, 2012

Although his body has not been found, Reynaldo Momay, a photojournalist from General Santos City, has been formally recognized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the 58th victim of the “Maguindanao Massacre” in 2009.

In a DOJ resolution, Assistant State Prosecutor Bernardo Parico said the dentures recovered at the crime scene in Barangay (village) Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, as well as statements of witnesses that Momay was among those killed were enough evidence to prove that he was a victim.

Momay, 63, was working for the weekly community paper Midland Review when he joined a convoy of 58 people that accompanied the wife of then Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan town in Maguindanao to the capital, Shariff Aguak, to file his certificate of candidacy for governor on Nov. 23, 2009.

All of them, including 32 media workers, were killed allegedly by members of the Ampatuan clan and their henchmen in Sitio Masalay in Barangay Salman, 3.5 kilometers from the national highway in Ampatuan town. Some were buried along with three vehicles, while others were shot in the head.

Murder charges have been filed against 197 people, including former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., in Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221.

Only 96, however, have been arrested and detained, and 78 of them have already been arraigned.

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[In the news] ‘Bakwits’ lament living life on the run -MindaNews

MindaNews » ‘Bakwits’ lament living life on the run.

By Keith Bacongco
August 26, 2012

PIKIT, North Cotabato(MindaNews/25 August) – Most villagers in a refugee camp here are no longer strangers to evacuation.

They have “mastered” the art of evacuation even if tensions are still brewing, knowing where to go for temporary shelter to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

Barangay Batulawan here has become a popular refugee center for displaced villagers, as the amenities of evacuation centers built during the previous wars remain standing and ready to be used.

But if the evacuees would have their way, they want to settle peacefully in their villages since life in the evacuation centers are really difficult.

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[Statement] Let us never allow the MOA-AD experience to repeat itself -MPC

MPC Statement: “Let us never allow the MOA-AD experience to repeat itself

12 August 2012 – The Mindanao Peoples Caucus calls on all peace loving peoples of Mindanao and the entire country to close ranks and unite behind the earnest efforts of the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to put a final closure to the armed conflict in Mindanao by signing a peace agreement at the soonest possible time.

MPC believes that the current attacks in the municipalities of Datu Unsay, Guindulungan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) are being used as a proxy war by politicians and powers that be in Mindanao who feel threatened by an incipient peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The developing scenario is reminiscent of MOA-AD in 2008 where provocation and harassments were launched by armed groups to cause chaos, confusion and hysteria among the people.

From the reports of Bantay Ceasefire, the sporadic attacks by the BIFF have already affected seven towns in Maguindanao and one barangay in Pikit, North Cotabato, displacing around 7,000 families.

While BIFF may have grievances, MPC believes that there are influential politicians riding on in their issues in order to create a scenario that will put to serious question the viability of signing a peace agreement with the MILF. This is an old recycled tactic that is being used every time there is a clear breakthrough in the negotiations.

MPC is also deeply concerned over messages circulating via mobile phones, Facebook and other social media networks on rumors and false information, causing public alarm and panic in the conflict-affected areas.

We urge fellow peace advocates and media to help verify and validate information so that we will not become willing victims of war propaganda.

MPC calls to mind its 16 April 2011 meeting with Ustadz Amiril Umra Kato, leader of the BIFF, who said that he will leave it to the MILF to negotiate with government. His group does not need to negotiate. The peace panels can continue the talks “at kung maganda ang resulta, automatic, agree na kami”. But, “to see is to believe, huwag agad maniwala sa mga salita nila. Hindi na kami madala sa deception ng gobyerno, the MOA-AD is the best proof of such deception.”

Given the positive developments in the peace talks, with the panels already at the homestretch of the negotiations, we challenge the leadership of BIFF to maintain its “wait and see” attitude and not to make further moves that can only derail the negotiations and put civilians in precarious and uncertain conditions in the evacuation centers.

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[In the news] Maguindanao clashes displace 39,000 people -MindaNews

MindaNews » Maguindanao clashes displace 39,000 people.

By Froilan Gallardo
August 13, 2012

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/12 August) — Clashes between a breakaway Moro rebel group and the military along the Cotabato-Isulan highway have forced at least 39,000 people to leave their homes in Maguindanao, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said Saturday.

The NDRRMC said the fighting has also caused the suspension of classes in 16 schools, affecting some 10,000 students and 260 teachers.

Unidentified men also torched 22 houses in barangays Meta, Iganagampong and Maitumaig in Datu Unsay town, one of the hardest hit in the clashes between government troops and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

BIFF gunmen had tried to capture the highway and set off bombs since Sunday last week in a rampage that had left five soldiers and policemen dead and three others wounded, according to the NDRRMC.

The clashes also caused trauma among residents, even those who are no strangers to evacuation having been displaced in the past.

“These clashes are scarier than the earlier conflicts we experienced in the past. The BIFF is different. They are more fanatic,”  Kagawad Roder Apenida of Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan town, said.

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[In the news] SWS: PNoy rates poorly on oil prices, Maguindanao massacre -InterAksyon.com

SWS: PNoy rates poorly on oil prices, Maguindanao massacre
Abigail C. Kwok, InterAksyon.com
July 26, 2012

The Aquino administration is getting “poor” ratings from the public over a perceived inability to control oil prices, and for the lack of justice in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, a recent Social Weather Stations survey suggests.

First published on BusinessWorld, the poll results revealed that the administration posted a -12 rating in ensuring that oil companies do not take advantage of rising global fuel costs and a -16 score in resolving the Maguindanao massacre case.

Public satisfaction with the Aquino administration also slipped after Filipinos gave the government lower scores about its performance in other issues.

Sixty-three percent of those polled by the survey taken from May 24 to 27 said that they were pleased with the government’s general performance.

The rating is equivalent to a +44 net score, down from March’s “good” score of +46.

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