Tag Archives: victims

[In the news] US court orders payment to Marcos rights victims -PhilStar.com

Thousands of human rights victims during the martial law period are set to receive $1,500 each starting next month after a federal judge in New York affirmed the settlement agreement that will divide some $20 million worth of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten assets that were recovered in the United States.

American human rights lawyer Robert Swift, counsel of the martial law victims that won the $2-billion class suit filed in Hawaii, said New York district court Judge Katherine Polk Failla directed the release of $13.75 million to the human rights victims following a hearing on Tuesday.

The Philippine government, after initially engaging in negotiations, sought to stop the settlement agreement that will divide the proceeds from the sale of the paintings seized from Vilma Bautista, an aide of former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.

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[From the web] Honoring Ferdinand Marcos a Gross Insult to His Victims -HRW

Why the Late Philippine Dictator Was No Hero
Honoring Ferdinand Marcos a Gross Insult to His Victims
By Phelim Kine
Deputy Director, Asia Division
@PhelimKine

200px-Hrw_logo.svgThe Philippine Supreme Court has ruled that President Rodrigo Duterte can provide a “hero’s burial” for Ferdinand Marcos, whose dictatorial presidency from 1965 to 1986 involved rampant killings, torture, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary arrests.

Duterte has justified that honor on the basis that it would promote “healing” among Filipinos and “erase from our people one hatred.” Marcos’s son, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., has likewise supported the internment in the Heroes Cemetery in Manila as a means to bring “closure” to “partisan exchange” about his father’s legacy.

But while holding a state funeral for Marcos might bring closure for President Duterte and Senator Marcos, it is a jab in the still-open wounds of tens of thousands of Filipinos and their families who suffered under the Marcos regime and to this day have seen virtually none of those responsible held to account or received redress for their loss. As the University of the Philippines Student Council stated, the Marcos burial plan was equivalent to “branding a dictator as a hero” that would only worsen the country’s “culture of impunity.”

Marcos declared martial law in 1972, which put the country on a path to dictatorship. Under Marcos, the military and police routinely rounded up activists and suspected communist rebels and their supporters – many of whom were never heard from again. A government commission estimated that the Marcos government killed more than 3,000 people and tortured thousands of others. These abuses did not let up until the “People Power” revolution of 1986 forced Marcos out of office. He subsequently fled the Philippines for the United States, where he died in 1989. His family repatriated his body in 1993 and has stored it in a refrigerated crypt in his home province of Ilocos Norte ever since.

The Philippine government should be seeking accountability and redress for Marcos’s victims rather than honoring the man ultimately responsible. Doing so would also send a strong message to today’s violators of human rights that they too will face justice, even if it is a long time coming.

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[In the news] ‘DND misused relief fund’ -INQUIRER.net

‘DND misused relief fund’.

COA: Huge part spent for AFP oil, repairs, etc.
Marlon Ramos, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 3, 2015

MANILA, Philippines–A “huge portion” of the P352.5 million in emergency funding of the Department of National Defense in 2013 had been misused by the military, which spent money meant to help victims of natural disasters to pay for its fuel consumption and repairs of its offices, state auditors have discovered.

inquirer

According to the Commission on Audit (COA), P843.5 million in Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the DND had also remained unliquidated since 2012.

Answering the findings of the COA, the defense department maintained that the emergency fund was “utilized for the purpose it was released to DND.”

In its periodic audit, the COA found out that a number of projects under the DND’s emergency fund had yet to be completed by its attached units despite the release of the budget.

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[Press Release] Philippines: Five years later, no convictions under landmark anti-torture law -AI

Philippines: Five years later, no convictions under landmark anti-torture law

Philippine authorities are failing to tackle torture as not a single perpetrator has been convicted under a landmark anti-torture law that came into effect five years ago today, despite evidence that the practice is prevalent, Amnesty International said.

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The Anti-Torture Act, passed on 10 November 2009, recognized torture as a separate crime and provided a number of important guarantees to aid torture survivors seeking redress. But no one has been convicted under the Act and very few cases have reached the prosecution stage.

“Five years without a single torture survivor obtaining justice shows that this law, which could make a genuine difference towards ending torture in the Philippines, risks becoming nothing but a piece of paper. The government must step up to its commitment to stamp out torture once and for all,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“Torture in the Philippines has persisted for decades, and those responsible almost always evade justice. We continue to receive harrowing reports of the widespread use of torture by security forces – in effect, no one in police detention is safe.”

Although torture is known to be practiced by a wide range of security forces in the Philippines, reports of torture overwhelmingly indicate the participation of police officers, often against common criminal suspects. Those most at risk of being tortured or being subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment after arrest include suspected juvenile offenders, repeat offenders and police informants looking to “get out”.

In January 2014, a “wheel of torture” was notoriously discovered in a secret detention facility in Laguna province, where police officers used it to decide which method of torture to employ on detainees. Most of the 43 detainees found at the facility were believed to have been subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, and 23 of them have filed complaints.

Yet despite high levels of media interest in the Laguna detention facility, all of these cases are still awaiting prosecution ten months after its discovery. Five of these torture survivors have already withdrawn their affidavits.

“The Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice, through its National Bureau of Investigation and National Prosecution Service, must do more to ensure that all reports of torture are properly investigated, that those responsible are held to account and that all victims receive comprehensive reparations,” said Shetty.

In November 2012, President Benigno Aquino passed Administrative Order 35, which sets up special teams of prosecutors across the country to investigate cases of torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. Yet two years later, these teams are still only in the training phase and it is unclear if they are present across the whole country.

In May 2014, Amnesty International launched its new global campaign Stop Torture, where the Philippines is the focus country for Asia. In December, a high level international delegation from Amnesty International will launch a major report highlighting the persistent practice of torture in the Philippines, the lack of accountability for torturers and the barriers to justice for victim-survivors of torture. Amnesty International takes this opportunity to engage constructively with the Philippine government with a view to stop torture in the Philippines.

Cases

The following are three examples of the use of torture and the culture of impunity around it in the Philippines:

In August 2007, activist Raymond Manalo escaped military custody after being tortured and forcibly disappeared for 18 months. He and families of other torture victims accused a military general of involvement in their torture and disappearance in a high profile case. It was only in December 2011 when the regional trial court in Bulacan province ordered an arrest warrant for retired General Jovito Palparan, and it took another two and a half years before he was arrested in August 2014. He is currently being detained under special conditions in a military facility.

In August 2010, torture once more hit the headlines in the Philippines when a mobile phone video of a man being tortured was broadcast on television. The man, identified as Darius Evangelista, a porter and repeat offender, has not been seen alive ever since. Investigators found that Darius was arrested and disappeared in March that year, and that after he was tortured, fellow detainees witnessed an order being given by the police to “finish him off”. The Evangelista family filed a torture case in court in September 2011 – the first filed under the Anti-Torture Act. More than three years later, of the seven police officers charged, three have “surrendered”, the primary suspect has been arrested (in 2013), and three remain at large. The trial is on-going.

In October 2013, Alfreda Disbarro, a single mother from Parañaque City, was arrested, tortured and accused by police of being a drug dealer. In fact, she was an occasional former police informant who wanted out from working with the local police. Once police had taken her to their headquarters, they repeatedly beat her, poked fingers into her eyes, and forced a mop into her mouth. Over the following days Alfreda was in terrible pain. During this period she was photographed with Php300 (US$7) and a sachet of drugs, and told to sign a blank sheet of paper.

Alfreda’s case would have been just one more of many undocumented and unreported cases of torture, if her family did not courageously seek the help of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and human rights organizations like Amnesty International. Apparently persuaded by an international letter writing campaign, the police in May this year started an investigation into the case by its own Internal Affairs Service (IAS). As of October 2014, Alfreda’s family awaits the decision of the regional head of the Philippine National Police on the IAS investigation. Separately the CHR has found sufficient basis to endorse Alfreda’s case to the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation to determine if a criminal case can be filed in court.

Public document
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For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: press@amnesty.org

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
10 November 2014

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[Press Release] Workers in Leyte, still far from recovery a year after Haiyan -CTUHR

Workers in Leyte, still far from recovery a year after Haiyan

Photo CTUHR FB

Leyte–A year after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Central Visayas, the working people of Leyte are still struggling to recover as poverty worsened with continued loss of jobs, lack of livelihood, inadequate government support and turtle-pace rehabilitation programs of the Aquino administration.

CTUHR logo

Even those previously employed and promised jobs are still far from resuming their normal lives. Over 1,800 rank and file workers at PhilPhos for instance, have yet to recover from the loss of property and damage to their homes caused by the strongest typhoon to hit the country in recent history.

In a Center for Trade Union and Human Rights’ interview with Oliver Llagas, Board of Directors of the workers union at PhilPhos, he reported that the company promised many times to re-open (on March, August and October) but has not resumed operations until now allegedly due to conflicts with the insurance company. As a result, over 1,500 casual workers of the PhilPhos were retrenched. Some of them resorted to informal work like fishing and driving pedicabs while others found jobs in Pasar, another fertilizer plant in Isabel, Leyte.

Meanwhile, the remaining 340 union members at Philphos were at least allowed and paid to work for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the factory site.

The income however, is far lesser as Llagas and his co-workers can only work five days a week with no overtime. Their income cannot match the damages caused by the super typhoon and Llagas family situation has worsened than before. Like most of his co-workers in Philphos, Llagas has not fully restored his house one year after.

Llagas and other residents of Isabel, Leyte also expressed dismay over the very little support they have been receiving especially from the government. Llagas noted having received relief goods from the DSWD three times since the typhoon. He heard that financial assistance from P10,000 to P30,000 was given to those families whose homes were partially and totally-damaged but he and his co-workers did not get any.

Llagas also expressed fear that if the company’s situation drags longer, the factory may eventually shutdown which means loss of jobs for another 340 workers.
Network of disaster survivors formed

If there is an obvious positive development in the aftermath of this disaster,it is the formation of ‘Daluyong’, a network of disaster survivors specifically in Visayas and Mindanao following a conference held yesterday, November 6 in Tacloban City. CTUHR who attended the activity, says that the coming together of survivors and taking a lead role in demanding accountability against government neglect, amidst pronouncements of billions of support, is the most positive thing that calamities such as Haiyan had so far created.

“The Aquino government promises and reports of billions of pesos spent for rehabilitation only serve to aggravate the misery of and injustice to thousands still living in tents and from charity of others. In some decent housing projects, it is obvious that private sector delivers more, even without talking about it, and government seems content on private sector taking on the government obligations,” Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director said.

‘Daluyong’ which literally means upsurge brought together typhoon, earthquakes survivors from Visayas and Mindanao as well as victims of atrocities like the Zamboanga siege to hold the Aquino government accountable for its “criminal neglect” to the victims and survivors of calamities.

“The poor who is always the immediate casualties of calamities created and aggravated by capitalist development greed thru forest denudation, reclamation of waters, mining to land coversion is pushed to unimaginable poverty and survivors have every right to demand justice. These demands are worth supporting and CTUHR supports and will continue to support such demand,” Arago added.
Note: CTUHR together with its partner organizations had conducted relief operations in Leyte, Samar, Iloilo, Capiz and has an ongoing rehabilitation projects in farming communities of Eastern and Western Samar. CTUHR is a partner of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) in its effort to support the victims of typhoon Haiyan.

Image attachment caption: A year after Typhoon Haiyan, Oliver Llagas, worker and unionist at Philphos has barely put back their home together.

For reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director, CTUHR, +632.4110256.

RELEASE
7 Nov 2014

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[Announcement] Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) Closes Acceptance of Applications on November 10, 2014 at 12:00 midnight, Will Open Again Once Extension Is Granted By Law

Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) Closes Acceptance of Applications on November 10, 2014 at 12:00 midnight, Will Open Again Once Extension Is Granted By Law

The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) wishes to advise all possible claimants that in view of the legally-set deadline of applications for reparation and recognition under RA 10368, acceptance of applications will close at 12:00 midnight of November 10, 2014 in its main office at ISSI, UP Diliman, and in the regional desks.

Human Rights Violations Victims Claims Board

In view of the assurance of Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, in a public statement yesterday, on the passage of the six-month extension for the filing of claims by victims of human rights violations during Martial Law, the HRVCB will make the appropriate preparations to conduct the next round of acceptance of applications as soon as the extension of the filing period becomes effective.

Rep. Gutierrez stated that “victims of human rights violations during Martial Law who are unable to file by November 10, 2014 may still file their claims for reparation and recognition upon the approval of the Joint Resolution extending the filing period for claims.” Separate Joint Resolutions in the House of Representatives and in the Senate were filed seeking the extension in response to the report of the HRVCB on the incidence of continuing surges of claimants in all the application sites. The extension will also give more opportunity for other legitimate claimants living in far-flung areas to prepare their documents and file their claims.

The House has already approved on third reading said Joint Resolution for Extension of Filing Period. The Senate, on the other hand, is set to approve the same measure on third reading upon resumption of its session on November 17, 2014.

As of 5 November 2014, the total number of applications for recognition and reparation filed has already reached 39,377.

The Board wishes to inform the public about the operations of its desks located in the Commission on Human Rights Regional Offices at: San Fernando City, La Union; San Fernando City, Pampanga; Baguio City; Legazpi City; Tuguegarao City; Cebu City; Iloilo City; Tacloban City; Bacolod City; Davao City; Cagayan de Oro City; Butuan City; Zamboanga City; and Cotabato City (Regional Human Rights Center of the ARMM).

After filing period, each and every claim will be deliberated by the HRVCB to determine legitimacy of the claim and entitlement to an award. After all claims have been decided upon, distribution on the award shall be set and announced to the public. Information about the recognition and reparation process pursuant to RA 10368 is posted at http://www.hrvclaimsboard.gov.ph.

RA 10368 seeks to provide recognition and reparation, both monetary and non-monetary, to all victims of human rights violations during the dark and tumultuous Martial Law regime. Once found to be entitled, their names shall be enshrined in the Roll of Victims of Human Rights Violations, in acknowledgment of their heroism and sacrifices. The law was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino last February 25, 2013.

PUBLIC ADVISORY NO.:11-7-2014
7 November 2014
AUTHORITY: Chairperson Lina C. Sarmiento
Telephone: 0999-505-9737

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[Press Release] Akbayan Rep. Gutierrez assures passage of 6-month extension of filing of claims for ML victims

Akbayan Rep. Gutierrez assures passage of 6-month extension of filing of claims for ML victims

With the November 10 deadline fast approaching, Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez on Thursday assured the passage of the six-month extension for the filing of claims by victims of human rights violations during Martial Law.

Photo from Team Barry

Photo from Team Barry

Gutierrez made the statement amid fears that the deadline will effectively cut-off the other victims from filing for claims under Republic Act No. 10368 after November 10.

“Victims of human rights violations during Martial Law who are unable to file by November 10, 2014 may still file their claims for reparation and recognition upon the approval of the Joint Resolution extending the filing period for claims,” the lawmaker said.

“We assure the victims that the deadline will not disenfranchise them or unduly cut them off from their rightful claims,” Gutierrez said.

Together with fellow Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, Gutierrez principally authored the Joint Resolution at the House of Representatives which seeks to move the deadline of filing from November 10, 2014 to May 2015.

Gutierrez underscored that the extension was sought because of the actual situation on the ground, as reported by the Claims board, where a surge of claimants was noted during actual intake operations, particularly in their mobile intake sites.

“The six-month extension was sought to cope with the large number of persons seeking for reparation and recognition under RA 10368,” the Akbayan solon said.

“Further, this also allows the legitimate claimants, especially those living in far-flung areas of the country, the full opportunity to file their claims with the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB),” Gutierrez said.

The House has already approved on third reading said Joint Resolution. The Senate, on the other hand, is set to approve the same measure on third reading upon resumption of its session on November 17, 2014.

“There is a strong commitment from both chambers of Congress to approve the six-month extension, which we believe is crucial in providing Martial Law victims the full opportunity for redress and ensuring that they are recognized according to their rightful place in our history,” Gutierrez said.

Thousands still pending recognition

According to the HRVCB, the total number of applications for recognition and reparation filed has already reached 36,253 as of November 4, 2014.

The expected number of claimants is at 55,000-90,000.

“It is evident that we need to expand our time frame, particularly the period for filing of applications,” Gutierrez said.

“By ensuring the passage of the proposed extension of deadline, we are giving the victims the proper recognition and compensation they deserve for their sacrifices in protecting this nation’s liberties and freedom, particularly those who are now on their final years,” the lawmaker concluded.

RA 10368, otherwise known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 was signed into law by Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III on February 13, 2013 granting all victims of human rights violations committed by the Marcos regime to receive monetary and non-monetary reparations.

6 November 2014
PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact Person: Rose Humiwat @ 0905 132 5474

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[Press Release] Martial Law still haunts victims -FIND

Martial Law still haunts victims

“There can be no apt and solemn commemoration of the declaration of martial law if there is no full and expeditious enforcement of laws redressing the victims of martial rule and the prevention of human rights abuses which it spawned.”

FIND

This is the call of former Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, the principal author of the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 and the Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

According to Lagman, “recognition must be coupled with monetary and non-monetary compensation, emphasizing that although nothing can fully compensate for the harm and dire effects of martial law, the State must give reparation as part of serving justice.”

Forty-two years ago, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, placed the entire country under martial law purportedly to suppress lawlessness, violence and rebellion.

To the families of victims of enforced disappearance, martial law reminds them of a self-serving charter change that created a mongrel government and lifted the term limits for the president; the imposition of a “new society” paradigm which served as the framework for distorting history and discouraging critical thinking; and a contrived setting that facilitated monopolies, cartels, plunder and corruption, even as it spawned extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary arrest and detention.

“But the waves of repression and deceit could not drown the courage and bravery of patriots and nationalists who consistently unmasked the dictator and refused to be cowed,” Nilda Sevilla, Co-Chairperson of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) pointed out.

“Martial law stoked the flames of resistance as hundreds of fearless activists steadfastly fought for freedom and democracy,” Lagman added.

Lagman and Sevilla’s brother Atty. Hermon C. Lagman, a labor and human rights lawyer, was forcibly disappeared along with labor organizer Victor Reyes on May 11, 1977.

From day one, martial law unleashed its fury on those conveniently labeled “enemies of the State”. Among the victims were the desaparecidos. According to Sonny Resuena, FIND’s Documentation Officer, the organization has documented 882 reported desaparecidos under the Marcos dictatorship, but the number of unreported could be much higher.

Enforced disappearance is a tool of repression that the implementers of martial law used to stifle dissent, silence the critics of the regime, eliminate political opponents, and intimidate their supporters.

Reacting to those who urge the martial law victims to now move on, Sevilla said that “without truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition, martial law will continue to haunt the families of the disappeared and those who surfaced alive.”

She elaborated that “they need to know the truth about the fate and whereabouts of their disappeared loved ones. The passage of time is no reason for the authorities to no longer diligently investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. At the very least, the State must acknowledge the enforced disappearances and other human rights violations and give the victims due recognition as heroes and martyrs who courageously resisted martial law.”

FIND calls on the people to resist any threat to democracy and say, “never again to martial law.”

PRESS RELEASE
20 September 2014

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[Event] NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW: PAGKILALA AT PASASALAMAT Sa mga bayani at martir ng Batas Militar -TFDP

PAGKILALA POSTER 1small

Malugod namin kayong inaanyayahan sa isang hapon ng

Pagbalik tanaw sa panunupil,
pagkilala sa kadakilaan at paggunita sa paglaban
ng mga bayani at martir sa Batas Militar

NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW
Remember repression, remember courage, remember resistance
PAGKILALA AT
PASASALAMAT
Sa mga bayani at martir ng Batas Militar

Ika-19 ng Setyembre, 2014
4:00 ng hapon
Sa Aldaba Recital Hall
Unibersidad ng Pilipinas – Diliman

TFDP logo small

Ang pag-alala sa madilim na parte ng kasaysayan ng pagpataw ng batas militar sa ating bansa ay dapat na ituon sa kadakilaan ng mga bayani’t martir na sumuong at nakibaka laban dito. Dahil mahalagang bahagi ng pagkamit ng hustisya para sa kanila ay ang pagpapasalamat at pagkilala ng mga sumunod na henerasyong nakinabang sa pagbagsak ng diktaduryang dumahas sa karapatang pantao nang panahong iyon.

INIHAHANDOG NG:

TASK FORCE DETAINEES OF THE PHILIPPINES

Sa pakikiisa ng:
Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC)
AKBAYAN
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
BULIG VISAYAS
Collective Arts of Students and Thespians (CAST-University of Makati)
CLAIMANTS 1081
DAKILA
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Initiative for International Dialogue (IID)
KATARUNGAN
KILUSAN/ TEATRONG BAYAN
Medical Action Group (MAG)
NAMELESS HEROES AND MARTYRS, INC.
NEVER AGAIN: Marcos in 2016 FB group
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
SANLAKAS
Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP)
SENTRO
Youth for Rights (Y4R)
University of the Philippines Institute for Human Rights (UP-IHR)
University of The Philippines – University Student Council
UP SAMASA Alumni Association

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[Blog] Torture Rehabilitation should be victim-centered. By Darwin Mendiola

Torture Rehabilitation should be victim-centered
By Darwin Mendiola

rehabilitation-is-a-rightrehabilitation-is-a-right

For human rights advocates, rehabilitation of torture victims is understood as both a right of the victims and a state obligation. It should play an important role in the broader agenda of achieving justice and respect for human rights.

Darwin 2

It must be viewed holistically as it goes beyond physical and psychological care and extend to other types of services (legal, social and economic services, e.g. education, employment, housing, etc.), that enable the victims to restore life with dignity and return to life of normalcy.

However, rehabilitation is more than just responding to victims’ basic needs. It must respond to the real impact of violations in victims’ lives and at the same time, it should be given as sincere efforts on the part of the government to acknowledge the human rights violations and to provide concrete measure of justice to those whore rights have been violated.

The participation of the victims and their families in the designing and effective implementation of rehabilitation programs and services is therefore vital. This will ensure that torture rehabilitation is tailored to each victim’s needs and their particular situation while considering the effects of torture and other violations on families, communities and larger society.

Rehabilitation programs should promote individual, family and social healing, recovery and reintegration. This may include restoring cultural practices, traditions and exercising political beliefs without fear. Working only at the individual level is not enough. There is a need to consider rehabilitation beyond the individual level and to look at social dimension of rehabilitation.

In the Philippines, the passage of the RA 9745 or Anti-Torture Law on 2009 and the promulgation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program in March 2014, did not make any significant improvement in the human rights situation.

Not only for the fact the torture continues unabated, there is still a lack of adequate rehabilitation measures for torture survivors and their families. While institutional efforts are being undertaken to give flesh and blood to this normative framework, the reality remains that rehabilitation services are not yet readily available for torture victims/survivors in many countries including the Philippines.until now, relevant government agencies still have no clear operational procedure and have no budget line for its implementation.

Read full article @dars0357.wordpress.com

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[From the web] Karapatan calls on victims of Palparan to come out and charge him in court -KARAPATAN

Karapatan calls on victims of Palparan to come out and charge him in court

Karapatan welcomes the long overdue arrest of The Butcher Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. Those who harbored and kept Palparan from arrest in the past years should be accountable as well.

karapatan_logo4

Palparan’s arrest is due to the persistent and untiring struggle for justice of victims and kin, and the Filipino people against state repression. His arrest does not absolve BS Aquino from accountability for the human rights violations—killings, torture, and enforced disappearances—committed by the Palparans under his reign.

He should be immediately in jail for the disappearance of Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Palparan should be fully accountable for all the evils he committed—extrajudicial killings, torture and disappearances—under Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.

Among those killed under Palparan are human rights defenders Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy in Southern Tagalog; UCCP Pastor Edison Lapuz, Leyte; Atty. Fedelito Dacut, Leyte; Supreme Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

Read full article @www.karapatan.org

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[Statement] Sentro hails arrest of Palparan, calls for no ‘VIP treatment’ and swift conviction -SENTRO

Sentro hails arrest of Palparan, calls for no ‘VIP treatment’ and swift conviction

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa eagerly welcomes the capture early this morning of fugitive retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan; but expresses at the same time apprehension that he will also be accorded VIP treatment in a “special jail” – like Janet Lim-Napoles and her “pork barrel senators” – and the lawsuits against him will drag on for years – like what happened to the Marcoses, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Ampatuans, and their ilk.

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Dubbed “the butcher,” Palparan left a bloody and terrifying trail of murders and abductions of social activists wherever he was assigned an army command – from Mindoro, Romblon, Samar to Central Luzon provinces. Like a Grim Reaper, his mere presence in an area was a portent of increased number of extrajudicial killings or “salvaging,” forced disappearances of perceived anti-government individuals, and active harassment of mass organizations. Still, Arroyo lavishly praised Palparan for his “successful” counterinsurgency campaigns from 2001 to 2006, when he retired. He went into hiding in December 2011 when a court ordered his arrest because of the 2006 kidnapping in Bulacan of two UP students, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, who both remain missing.

Of course, no direct evidence was ever gathered and not a single witness has yet surfaced to implicate Palparan as the mastermind behind these heinous crimes. This is understandable since Palparan and his gang – not unlike the liquidation crew of gangsters and secret military assassination units during martial law – will ensure at all costs that incriminating proofs will be eliminated and would-be whistleblowers will be bribed or terrorized or “silenced” outright. However, an investigation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) admitted that there was “certainly (circumstantial) evidence pointing the finger of suspicion at some elements and personalities in the armed forces, in particular General Palparan, as responsible for an undetermined number of killings, by allowing, tolerating, and even encouraging the killings.”

Sentro calls on the Aquino government and the judiciary to ensure that Palparan and his cohorts should be immediately imprisoned in regular jails and not be given special treatment. They should be tried and convicted promptly so that justice will finally be served to their victims and the latter’s families.

The government should likewise vigorously work to end the impunity of violence against the people and their organizations; this includes the speedy resolution of abductions and murders of trade unionists and activists, including two Mindanao leaders of the National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Unions (NCTU-APL-SENTRO) – Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin and Kagi Alimudin Lucman – who were slain within the span of one month (July) only last year in Davao City and Cotabato City, respectively.

Source: www.sentro.org

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[Event] Human Rights Advocates Say “Never Again to Martial Law!Never Again to the Marcoses!” -TFDP

Human Rights Advocates Say “Never Again to Martial Law!Never Again to the Marcoses!”

Photo by Orly Gravador/TFDP

Photo by Orly Gravador/TFDP

Human rights advocates led by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) vow to never let martial law happen in the country again. In “Remember Repression…Remember Courage…Remember Resistance – A Gathering of Human Rights Defenders”, victims of human rights violations during martial law recalled their experiences during the Marcos dictatorship held yesterday (July 11, 2014) in Quezon City.

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The disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano, a Redemptorist priest who was abducted by the military exactly 29 years ago today was also called to mind during the activity. Sr. Crescencia Lucero, SFIC, TFDP Co-Chairperson said however, that Fr. Rudy’s case was just among the thousands of cases of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. She added, “Thousands have been arrested and tortured. There were those who disappeared but were fortunate enough to have surfaced alive. Some were found, but already dead. Others were killed outright – salvaged, massacred – left with no chance to survive.”

Photo by Rommel Yamzon/TFDP

Photo by Rommel Yamzon/TFDP

During the event, TFDP also launched its virtual Museum of Courage and Resistance, otherwise known as the Martial Law Museum. It is an online version of the museum located at the TFDP office in Cubao, Quezon City. Pictures of victims of human rights violations, staunch human rights advocates, and important incidents during the dictatorship are just some of the files and memorabilia that can be found in the museum. The list of victims of martial law whose cases have been documented by TFDP, as well as those mentioned in its publications can also be accessed online.

The launching of the virtual museum, with support from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, is part of TFDP’s year-long 40th anniversary celebration. TFDP was established by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) during the height of martial law. “Let [the museum] be TFDP’s small contribution in the resistance against lies and deception being spread to portray the martial law years as this country’s glory days. The truth must come out. It must be told and upheld at all times,” declared Sr. Lucero.

With the enactment of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime can now apply for compensation. With its documentation of more than 9,000 cases of human rights violations during martial law, TFDP committed to assist the victims in their application. The outcome of the law should be consistent with history. It should represent the stories of the victims’ suffering during the dark years of martial rule.

One story of pain and anguish is enough to break anyone’s heart; but each account of torment is also a testimony of courage. The victims’ stories put together reverberate their resolve that never again should the Marcoses be at the helm of power. Never again should martial law or any of its form happen. ###

Photo: Sister Crescencia Lucero, sfic, Co-Chairperson of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Loreta Ann Rosales, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) together with victims of Martial Law and other Human Rights Defenders say “Never again to Martial Law, Never Again to the Marcoses!” Photos by Rommel Yamzon and Orly Gravador /TFDP.

 

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[Statement] Survivors and Families of the Casualties of the February 7, 2014 GV Florida Bus Crash in Bontoc

PRESS STATEMENT
Survivors and Families of the Casualties of the February 7, 2014 GV Florida Bus Crash in Bontoc
Statement delivered on June 30, 2014, Conspiracy, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City

Survivors and Families of the Casualties of the February 7, 2014 GV Florida Bus Crash in Bontoc. Photo from DAKILA

Survivors and Families of the Casualties of the February 7, 2014 GV Florida Bus Crash in Bontoc. Photo from DAKILA

Good morning.

I am Stella Embile, one of the survivors of the GV Florida bus crash in Bontoc last February 7, 2014.

Present today with me are:
Lei Jimenez, wife of Tado Jimenez
Chat Baranda, wife of Don Baranda
Mariel Baja, sister of Gerard Baja
Chris Cabardo, brother of Mylo Cabardo
and
Dino, Paeng, Charley, survivors.

Not present today are:
Alex Loring
Ana Cruz
Andrew David Sicam
Anne Martina Adriana Van De Ven
Arvin “Tado” Jimenez
Christian “Mylo” Cabardo
Emily Gentalian
Gerald Baja
Giovanni “Bam” Morillo
Johnathan Patulot
Katrina Gozos
Leah Reyes
Marcial “Don” Baranda Jr.
Natividad Ngawa
Rosalina Reyes

They are not here today because the management of GV Florida Transport Incorporated did not do their job.

All of you know what happened in Bontoc last February 7.  When GV Florida offered their services to us, the riding public, we trusted that we will be safe; that we will be reaching our destination.  We did not reach our destination.  Fifteen (15) of us died, 32 of us hurt, many of us requiring major surgeries.

We do not want to call the incident an accident.  Accidents are unavoidable; what happened was preventable.  If GV Florida did its due diligence in maintaining their buses in good condition, this would not have happened:  hindi kami nawalan ng mahal sa buhay, hindi kami naoperahan at kailangang magpagaling, at hindi rin naming kailangang maalaala ng paulit-ulit yung trayedyang sinapit namin.

We laud the 6 months suspension handed by LTFRB to GV Florida.  That will make GV Florida realize the gravity of their fault and responsibility.  Also, with those 6 months, that can give GV Florida ample time to fix all of their buses, training their drivers on what to do during emergency cases, and put into order the legalities of their operation.

We have to remind everyone that the GV Florida bus that we took from Manila to Bondoc, unknown to us, used a license plate registered under Mt. Province Cable Tours and utilized engine and chassis that were registered to Dagupan Bus Company and that GV Florida actually didn’t have proper authorization from LTFRB to operate that route.

We would like everyone to know that what we actually dream for GV Florida to be a model bus company considering what had happened.  We actually had thoughts that, considering the gravity of what happened, GV Florida will make drastic changes and improvement to assure the riding public that what happened will not happen again.  And that eventually other bus companies will follow their lead.  However, during the last 3 months, what we saw are buses changing colors and calling the same old GV Florida buses by different names.  And if it’s the same old buses, same old management system, then we strongly fear that what happened will happen again.  Nobody learned any better.

Fifteen (15) of us are now dead.

Lei Jimenez is left without a husband, their daughters without a father.  The same goes for the Chat Baranda and her children; and for Abby Sicam and her sons.  The parents of Bam, Gerard, and Mylo are now suddenly one child less.

I still cannot move my arms well.  I have a metal plate on my left shoulder.  Among us survivors, we had operations in the skull, spine, arms, and legs.

For some of the survivors, we acknowledge that GV Florida has been paying for our medical expenses.  However, we are also speaking now not just as GV Florida bus victims but as representatives of the riding public.  We do not want what happen to happen again.  Lives were lost. Lives were drastically changed.  Let’s not make a senseless, preventable event stay a meaningless thing.  We’re speaking up because we all deserve better.

For us ordinary, non-lawyer Filipinos, the operation of GV Florida was suspended because of irregularities in their practices (changing of plates, operating without proper authority), poor maintenance of their buses, and because they are the ones responsible for the death of its passengers.

What would make us happy with the lifting of the suspension is if we know that their buses are safe and that all victims have received reparations for their losses.   It is surprising every time we hear that there are still victims who have not heard from the management of GV Florida.  [The case of Karina Javier, Annemiek Verwegen, Chat Baranda, Mariel Baja.]

We, survivors and family of the casualties, are already on our road recovery from our loses, but the sudden lifting of the suspension by the Court of Appeals and with us not seeing any reform on the part of GV Florida angers us, it frustrates us, it brings back all the hurt that we felt.  It makes us feel like our lives do not matter; like lives do not matter.

The riding public may not understand what we are crying for. And that is because it did not happen to them.  Thank God it did not happen to you.  Support us because we don’t want it to happen to you or to any of your loved ones.

We hope that LTFRB will file a motion for reconsideration or appeal to the highest court.  We do not believe that the suspension was “a gross and blatant violation of administrative due process.”  And how can there be an “absolute absence of a violation or wrong committed”, when people lost their lives because of GV Florida’s negligence.

To the management of GV Florida, if you feel we are misinterpreting you, approach us.  Initiate discussions with us.  You owe us.

To GV Florida and all bus companies, please do your responsibilities in the right and proper way.  Public transport is a public trust.

To our government, violation and lax implementation of laws governing public transportation poses a grave threat to the riding public. The tragedy will remain senseless unless genuine reforms are instituted in our Philippine Transport System.

To the Filipino public, let us put an end to incidents of jeeps and buses falling off ravines and skyways. We do not want what happened to us to happen to you or your loved ones. And we can only stop this from happening again if we remain vigilant as a people, as a nation.

-End-

Families and Friends of Victims of the GV Florida Bus Crash will hold a street mural activity on July 6, Sunday, at 1pm -6pm in front of the GV Florida Bus Station in Sampaloc to commemorate the 5th month since the bus crash happened last February 7.

The street mural with the theme on road safety will be participated by friends, families, colleagues and supporters of the victims. We invite the Filipino public to participate and join the cause.

At 4pm that day, the mural panel painted with faces of those who died in the bus crash will be installed again for the Filipino public to see. The mural painted last June 6 to commemorate the 4th month since the bus crash with the faces of those who perished was “stolen” 3 days after it was installed.

The activity on July 7 will culminate with a mass and a candle lighting ceremony at around 6pm in remembrance of the 15 people who died in the Florida Bus Crash and to express the continuing call for justice.

For more information, contact 09151780240

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[Announcement] Active Search and Assistance for ML HR Violation Victims/Claimants -PAHRA

Active Search and Assistance for ML HR Violation Victims/Claimants
Dear Friends,
Greetings from the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) .

PAHRA members together with networks and individual volunteers who were in the forefront of the struggle against Martial Law initiated a loose consortium to conduct an active search of undocumented human rights violations victims under the Martial Law regime.

pahra logo copy

This is in line with the implementation of “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013? and its implementing rules and regulations to ensure that more victims will have the chance to claim for a long due recognition and reparation from their struggles and martyrdom. Unfortunately, the law and it’s IRR did not include active search for thousand more victims that were not properly recorder or documented during the incidence of violations.

In the initial scanning conducted by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) from articles/reports in the institution’s magazines during the Martial Law years, resulted to around 7000 more victims who were not individually documented. More are expected as the research continues. These will be among the targets of the group and volunteers to be reached out and assisted in their application for claims aside from those who are already included in the “conclusive presumptions” provided in the law (Hawaii Class Suit claimants and Bantayog ng mga Bayani list ) but still have not been informed of the law.

It is this regard that we are requesting your benevolence and solidarity to pursue the initiative of actively searching for victims/survivors of martial law atrocities and provide them assistance to claim recognition and/or reparation. Your assistance can be in the form of the following:

1. Assistance in the information and dissemination campaign of the Law, IRR and process of application
2. Actively search and reach out to victims / survivors
3. Use of your facilities for documentation and preparation of documents for application of victims/claimants
4. Volunteer Personnel to assist in the documentation and prepare documents for application of victims/claimants
5. Sending this communication and materials to your networks that can also assist us
6. Others which you think could help in this endeavour

Attached is a brief concept paper of the initiative, however we do not have the budget, thus our appeal for your assistance. We hope that these efforts can somehow facilitate an efficient and effective active search and assistance to the victims/claimants.

For list of documented victims of TFDP, please refer to the link

http://tfdp.net/resources/victims-list , The list of victims who were included in the publications of TFDP but were not individually documented will soon be uploaded in the same website. We will send you the names per geographical locations as you express your support to this initiative. We will also constantly update you on new developments from the Claims Board as available.,

Attached are some materials that you can use for the endeavour:
1. Official Application Form for Claimants
2. Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law
3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in Word and Power Point formats. Please take note that the
Power Point presentation have more notes/information gathered from our interactions with the Claims Board.

Please contact the undersigned at mobile no 0906-553-1792 or Max de Mesa mobile no, 0920-908 0480 Tel. no (632) 436-2633, e-mail : pahra@philippinehumanrights.org for clarification and inquiries.

We hope that you will join us in this effort.

In solidarity with the victims/survivors of Martial Law,

(Sgd) Rose Trajano
Secretary General

Noted by:
(Sgd) Max de Mesa
Chairperson

JUSTICE FOR THE BROADEST NUMBER:
A Two-Phased Active Search for Undocumented Martial Law Victims
Of Human Rights Violations (MLVHRV)

Impunity will come to an end
When people who did not suffer human rights violations
Stand with those who did and fight for justice.

INTRODUCTION

The passage of RA 10368 also known as the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013? is a major victory for victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law period. The law is indicative of the government’s recognition that indeed human rights violations were perpetrated during the Martial Law years, and that all victims should be accorded the long-delayed justice in the form of both monetary and non-monetary reparation.

The implementation of RA 10368 entails being able to reach out, inform and mobilize a significant, if not all, victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law years, seek justice and claim their right to reparation. Identifying who these victims are, knowing where and how to reach them, making them aware of the law and its significance, and assisting them satisfy the requirements to become eligible claimants, are among the most urgent and daunting tasks that need to be done at the soonest possible time considering the limited period of six months stipulated in the law to complete the whole of process of granting reparation. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was recently fixed on May 6, 2014 as the starting date for submission of claims.

The active search, nonetheless, of ML victims of HR violations is not part of RA 10368. The Claims Board itself has unequivocally stated that since it is not part of the law, active search is not one of their tasks.

Human Rights Defenders among civil society should take initiative to ensure in this circumstance that justice be obtained by the broadest number.

TWO-PHASED SEARCH

RESEARCH

A big percentage of ML victims are nameless and faceless, impoverished and marginalized, and located in the rural areas of Northern Luzon, Bicol, Eastern and Western Visayas and Mindanao. Many of them were farmers, agricultural workers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and young men and women during the years of the dictatorial regime of former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. Quite a number have died but with surviving family members and relatives who may not be aware of the law and the requirements for claimmants. Researchers are needed to identify these undocumented victims.

Possible sources of information could be archives of organizations and institutions which made or kept publications credibly documenting incidents of violations.

One of the possible area of research is in the archives of the Museum of Courage and Resistance or The Martial Law Museum of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) which has started to receive reports of human rights violations (HRVs) and document HRVs since its establishment in 1974. Another source could be the main library of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City where published materials during martial law have been donated for achiving.

The main expected result of this research is a systematized list of undocumented victims of HRVs.

SEARCH, INFORM AND ASSIST

Search Volunteers (SV) will be assembled proportionally according to the aggregate numbers of identified victims per territory – region, province and town.

All these volunteers will be trained and later coordinated all the time directly with the use of technology by a National Coordinating Center (NCC).

These Volunteers will make and submit their own routes and time table to the NCC.

The Volunteers will search for the persons or their legitimate heirs as found in their lists as well as those that could still be timely communicated during their search period. Upon credible verification, the SVs will inform and assist the victims or their heirs regarding the law and the IRR and the completion of necessary claim forms so that the latter would be recognized and compensated appropriately.

The project duration will be the same as the period stipulated by law for victims to make their claims, i.e., May 12 to November 12, 2014.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
53-B Maliksi St. Diliman, Quezon City
E-mail: pahra@philippinehumanrights.org
Website: http://www.philippinehumanrights.org
Facebook: Philippine Human Rights
Tel/Fax: (632) 436-26-33

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[From the web] Philippines: Justice in the wake of natural disaster -OHCHR

Philippines: Justice in the wake of natural disaster

Typhoon Haiyan has affected nearly ten million people in the Philippines, with more than four million displaced in nine regions. In the aftermath of the disaster, the administration of justice, an essential institution often overlooked, has been severely affected with court buildings, equipment and places of detention substantially destroyed in a number of major centres.

OHCHR

Judicial processes were badly hit in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. © OHCHRAlphinor Serrano, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court in Tacloban City, explains: “the scale and destruction brought by Typhoon Haiyan took us all by surprise. With no emergency plan to rely upon for a disaster of this scale, our court rooms, offices, files and equipment were destroyed. Ninety five percent of my case files were under water and mud and court staff spent their days manually drying files and hanging them out to dry.”

“While we have made great efforts to get our courts functioning again, it is difficult and time consuming work and any delay has an impact on a person’s right to speedy trial and other due process rights,” Serrano said.

The UN Human Rights Office collaborating with the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines has undertaken a joint project to assist in rebuilding the judicial process in the affected regions and to begin a process which ensures better preparedness for future natural disasters.

After the destruction of a number of prisons, some inmates were moved to other jails without adequate access to their families, lawyers and medical care. Often, too, the cases of people who had been arrested and detained before the typhoon could not be processed as the files had been destroyed or lost.

Senior Police Superintendant Domingo Say Cabillan, from the city of Tacloban has reported that he is “dealing with a significant number of detainees who have been held for five months in police cells. The maximum time limit in Philippine law for people to be brought before the Prosecutors office to file a case upon the commission of the crime is thirty six hours for grave offences.”

“As the case files submitted to the Prosecutor’s office have in many of these cases been washed away, we have struggled to resolve the situation of these cases caught in a legal limbo,” Cabillan said.

The Human Rights Office and Human Rights Commission of the Philippines have been working very closely with the police, prison authorities and judiciary to address these issues of concern. At the end of April, OHCHR organized with the Commission a roundtable on the administration of justice with representative of the judiciary, the Philippines police, the Public Attorney and Prosecutors Offices, the Bureau of Jail and Penology Management and the Warden of Leyte province.

Participants discussed the impact of typhoon Haiyan on the administration of justice, proposing solutions to case backlogs, including the situation of twelve inmates, who have been detained in police cells since the typhoon struck in November last year and recommendations to limit the devastating effects of future disasters.

Judge Serrano welcomed the initiative: “It is clear that we need to rethink our institutional preparedness so that we can reduce the disruption to the justice system after a disaster. We need to make clear recommendations for action and put systems in place such as storing information electronically.”

The Chair of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Loretta Ann Rosales stressed the importance of the collaboration with the UN Human Rights Office: “Our joint monitoring with OHCHR has shown that our justice system is not only vulnerable but has ceased to function for a significant amount of time in the aftermath of a disaster such as Haiyan.”

“Where can I go to challenge the legality of my detention if the court is destroyed and the records are washed away? We need to plan. When people caught in this legal limbo have little opportunity to claim their due process rights, and duty bearers in the administration of justice are not able to respond to the challenges of the legality of detention, the right to due process will not be fulfilled,” Rosales said.

“We must not forget the vulnerability of criminal justice systems during emergencies,” she said. “Access to justice should become a critical part of our future disaster risk, resilience and reduction efforts in the Philippines.”

Source: www.ohchr.org

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[In the news] Best Easter gift freedom for all kidnap victims – gov’t peace panel chair -MindaNews

Best Easter gift freedom for all kidnap victims – gov’t peace panel chair
By Mindanews
April 20 2014

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 April) – The best Easter gift would be to see all kidnap victims in the South who were believed seized by Abu Sayyaf bandits released, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, government peace panel chair in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said.

MindaNews

In a statement, Ferrer asked “all sectors including the MILF” to help secure the victims’ release.

She noted that this year alone, 23 kidnapping cases were recorded in Basilan, Sulu, Zamboanga and Lanao provinces involving around 30 victims. “Let us join hands in redeeming them from a most terrible fate of being held hostage.”

She further said that the nearly 100 kidnap victims in the last three years included children as young as a year old, as well as students, businessmen, foreigners, journalists, senior citizens, barangay officials, and teachers.

“Many of these kidnap victims are still in captivity while some have been killed,” Ferrer said.

Read full article @www.mindanews.com

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[Press Release] Hundreds more workers suffer job loss, forced leaves still due to Haiyan -CTUHR

Hundreds more workers suffer job loss, forced leaves still due to Haiyan

Nearly four months after typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit Eastern Visayas, hundreds more workers suffer job loss and forced leaves as companies fail to resume operations due to power outages or ongoing repair.

CTUHR logo
Around 350 contractual workers in PHILPHOS were retrenched in February this year as the fertilizer-producing company is still unable to operate due to power shortages. Over 1,000 contractual and regular workers of the same company were forced to take leaves on rotation while operations are still at a halt.

PHILPHOS, one of two major fertilizer companies in Isabel, Leyte was severely devastated by Typhoon Haiyan on November 2013; all of its 12 plants were completely damaged. While there have been repairs in the factory, the power supply in the province is very low as the Tongonan Geothermal Plant in Cananga, Leyte is still under repair and will be finished on August this year.

According to the PHILPHOS local union President, Pelagio Galban, the company targets to re-open only one of its 12 plants on April which may ease the job situation as some workers can go back to work. But until the company can fully operate, most of the workers are in precarious condition.

“It has become extremely difficult for workers to cope with the damages to property and subsequent job loss wrought by Typhoon Yolanda. Job opportunities in PASAR (another fertilizer company in Isabel) and in rehabilitation projects are mostly for skilled laborers. If you are an ordinary worker like what most of the contractual workers are, it will be  really harder to land on jobs,” Galban explained.

Galban also said that while some workers used to live in farming communities, they have already abandoned their farms in the countryside to become wage workers so they cannot easily go back to the farm, apart from the fact that farming communities were also devastated by the typhoon.

Galban also expressed fear that the situation might worsen if PHILPHOS suddenly declares bankrupcy. “We were scheduled to have a collective bargaining agreement this week but because of the stoppage our negotiations is also hanging. All we can do now is hope that the situation will become better.”

Meanwhile, another 60 workers in Tolosa Oil Mill Inc (TOMI). in Tolosa, Leyte were affected by the company’s temporary closure due to ongoing rehabilitation. Twenty-five of these 60 workers were already terminated while the rest are still fighting to be able to go back to work when the company resumes operation.

Arman Hernando, Documentation Coordinator of Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, expressed the same worry as workers’ welfares and rights are not well-protected whenever natural disaster occur. “While it is true that some companies may incur losses due to typhoons and flooding, sometimes these natural disasters are also being abused by some capitalists to declare bankruptcy to the detriment of the workers.”

Hernando said that some companies in the past have used disasters as opportunities to remove regular employees or bust unions and resume operation with a new set of workforce that are all unorganized and contractual. “It is good PHILPHOS has not totally closed down, but we cannot stop worrying especially now that hundreds of workers have already been displaced.”

The group urged the government to do something to protect the workers’ job security in times of disaster and not just the businesses.

For Reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Documentation Coordinator, +63.411.0256; +63916. 248.4876

RELEASE
5 March 2014

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[Press Release] No extravagant grads, help schools instead, TDC says

No extravagant grads, help schools instead, TDC says

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) calls on school and field officials to abide by the DepEd rules on graduation rites released by the agency earlier.

TDC

According to Benjo Basas, TDC national chairperson, his organization agrees with the department in regulating graduation fees and extravagant rites especially if it is imposed by the school authorities. “Graduation, while considered as special day for most of the students and parents should not be extravagant and burdensome.” Basas said.

Basas said that many of public school students belong to the poor families who may not afford the fees. However, he recognizes the festive mode of some families who wishes the graduation day of their children to be special.

“Some parents would be very happy for their children who accomplished secondary education especially those who are not well-prepared for tertiary schooling, thus they may want to see their kids wearing toga. In that case, we understand that if the parents would want to contribute or donate any affordable amount for the graduation ceremonies then it would be all right as long as it is compliant of the rules set by the DepEd.” Basas explained. “But it should be an initiative from the parents of the graduating class or the PTA.” He added.

Basas particularly cited the case in Typhoon Yolanda-stricken Visayas especially many towns in Leyte and Samar provinces, which until now have yet to recover from the severe damage brought about by the monster typhoon in November, “Until now, there are no classrooms in many schools and the operation is still irregular,” he said.

Basas, whose roots are from Leyte and has been active in relief effort in the Visayas said that the money that some would want to use for extravagant celebration may better be spent for citizens’ effort in rehabilitating schools in Leyte.

“We suggest that those who are not affected by Yolanda be more generous and help our kids and teachers in those areas” he said. TDC has launched Project PAG-ARAM, an initiative to raise school materials for teachers and students in Yolanda-affected areas.

“We have started collecting donations since the first week of January and we have delivered materials to some 15 schools in Leyte last month.” Basas added.

The group will be accepting donations of papers, pens, chalks, crayons and other school supplies until the end of May and will deliver the donations to affected schools in time for the opening of school year 2014-2015.
___________________________________
Reference: Benjo Basas, Chairperson, 0920-5740241/ 3853437
For Project PAG-ARAM details:        Olive De Guzman, 0917-8167130

NEWS RELEASE
February 25, 2014

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[Statement] Rectify HRV Claims Board: All should qualify -PAHRA

Rectify HRV Claims Board: All should qualify

EX-PNP PCSUPT. LINA SARMIENTO:
GOOD PERSON, WRONG APPOINTMENT

Each of the members of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board…
shall possess, among others, the following qualification:
“(b) Must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights
and involvement in efforts against human rights violations committed
during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos;…”
( underscore by PAHRA)
Chapter II, Section 8, (b)
Republic Act (RA) 10368

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) welcomes the long-delayed Presidential announcement of the newly appointed members of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, the formation of which was mandated in Republic Act 10368 – An Act Providing for Reparation and Recognition of Victims of Human Rights Violations During the Marcos Regime, Documentation of Said Violations, Appropriating Funds Therefore and For Other Purposes.

pahra logo copy

With due respect to President Benigno S. Aquino’s prerogative to appoint the composition of the Claims’ Board, PAHRA would like to point out that President Aquino has overlooked two aspects. One is the vital qualification in appointing the members of the Board, much more to be sought of the Chairperson, as cited in RA 10368, Chapter II, Section 8, that each of the members, among others:

“(b) Must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos;…”

Ms. Lina Sarmiento, a good police woman, has been appointed to the wrong position. There is a qualification gap.

Formerly a Police Chief Superintendent equal to the AFP’s two-star General rank and now technically a civilian as recently retired, Ms. Sarmiento comes from an institution which was an instrument of repression during martial law. It must be remembered that the present Philippine National Police (PNP) evolved from the Integrated National Police (INP). The INP was under the Philippine Constabulary (PC), which in turn was part of the AFP.

The militarized INP contributed to the intensity of repression and to the many gross human rights violations perpetrated at that time. The despicable PC-INP minions of the Marcos dictatorship were responsible for many forms of torture, blatant abductions that led to enforced disappearances and the merciless extra-judicial killings. For instance, the Philippine Constabulary (PC), like the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the 173rd PC Company, perpetrated torture and gender violence in 1974 against the Hilao sisters Amaryllis and Liliosa. Liliosa died in the custody of the PC. (Source: Records in the TFDP Museum of Courage and Resistance)

The second aspect seemingly disregarded by the President in Ms. Sarmiento’s appointment is its symbolic character. Ms. Sarmiento, who comes from the PNP, is basically unacceptable to most of the victims and/or those who survived them. The board will be tainted with the presence of a representative from the Security Forces, members of which may be pinpointed for their role in human rights violations. Also, the processes of advancing restorative justice for and of the desired healing process to the victims may thus be adversely affected.

Representatives from the Security Forces cannot be part of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board unless they individually were involved “in efforts against human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos”. Members of the Claims Board are already being judged of their human rights performance during the Marcos regime, and not just of how each would work for the effective disbursement of compensation money.

President Benigno S. Aquino should immediately rectify the situation for the sake of the victims and their families. All the qualifications of the Claims’ Board members as enumerated by the law must be fulfilled in letter and in spirit.

PAHRA, for the sake of the victims and their families among their members and network, will monitor the activities of the Claims’ Board as well as offer assistance within the former’s capabilities.

May the implementation of RA 10358 enhance our dignity and obtain justice for us all.

Martial Law, Never Again.

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

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