Surface James Balao campaign
reaches Congress and the United Nations
November 27, 2009
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY. Friends in Stuttgart, Germany continue to help raise concern over the James' enforced disappearance through public activities issuance of statements.
Photos courtesy of Cordillera Peoples Alliance
BAYAN AND KARAPATAN UPDATE
UNITED NATIONS BODY ON CASE OF JAMES MOY BALAO
Reyes said that the abduction
of Balao occurs in the context of the continuing persecution of legal
activists labeled as "communist fronts" by the Arroyo government. This
includes the legal offensives against 72 Southern Tagalog activists on
fabricated murder charges, as well as the recent incidents of
extrajudicial killings in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
SURFACE JAMES BALAO CAMAPIGN REACHES CONGRESS AND THE UNITED NATIONS. BAYAN National Secretary General Renato Reyes discussing James Balao's Case to Associate Human Rights Officer Claudia dela Fuente and WGEID Secretary Giovanna Zucchelli (left). Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Nonette Balao (James' sister) and CPA Chairperson Beverly Longid filed in Congress a resolution for congressional probe on James' disappearance last Nov. 17 (right)
RESOLUTION CONDEMNING THE
ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF JAMES M. BALAO, AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S AND HUMAN
RIGHTS ADVOCATE OF THE CORDILLERAS IN THE IMMEDIATE SURFACING AND RELEASE
OF JAMES M. BALAO BY HIS CAPTORS
WHEREAS, the spectre of the
continuing enforced disappearances in the country whose victims are known
legal political activists, mass organization leaders, remains unsolved, is
WHEREAS, the pattern of the
enforced disappearances in the country and of James M. Balao is in
consonance with the state’s policy in the counter-insurgency campaign,
popularly known as Oplan Bantay Laya I-II, patterened after the CIA
Operation Phoenix in the Vietnam War that dwells on labelling legal mass
organizations as “communist sectoral fronts”;
WHEREAS, this dreaded Oplan
Laya I & II since its implementation in 2001 had wrought havoc, instill
fear among the ranks of the legal democratic mass movement in the country
including the church sector, with twenty (20) UCCP Church Workers and lay
people were brutally victimized.
WHEREAS, the enforced
disappearance of James M. Balao is a clear violation to various agreements
and statutes that the Philippine government had entered into such as the
Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human rights and International
Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UDHR) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
WHEREAS, the enforced
disappearance of James M. Balao is a clear manifestation of the
insincerity of the Arroyo government to comply with the recommendation of
UN Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, enjoining the government to, “TAKE
CONCRETE STEPS TO PUT AN END TO THOSE ASPECTS OF COUNTER INSURGENCY
OPERATIONS WHICH HAVE LED TO THE TARGETING AND EXECUTION OF MANY
INDIVIDUALS WORKING WITH CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS.”;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED,
AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the 11th National Council condemns to the
strongest possible terms the enforced disappearances of James M. Balao and
other victims of Human Rights violation under the Arroyo Administration.
REV. SANNY PATRICIO
November 17, 2008
61st Day: Our Search Continues
On the 61st day of James
Balao’s enforced disappearance, we continue to hope that he is alive. We
continue to search for him and we strongly reiterate our demand that he be
We mark this day with further
resolve, hope and vigilance to search for James even if the search has
been torturously difficult, and continue to appeal to all our fellow
Igorots to help and assist in to save James' life.
Annexed to the Petition for
the Writ of Amparo is James’ journal that detailed his being surveilled by
state security agents/forces (AFP and PNP). The notes date from April 29–
September 1, 2008. In this journal, he wrote the details of the vehicles
surveilling him, the time and dates when he was followed. The patterns of
surveillance described in his journal are patterned in the operations to
neutralize members and leaders of progressive people’s organizations under
Operation Plan Bantay Laya. James noted this and feared not only for his
life and security but for his family’s and colleagues’ as well. The
journal proves the State’s hand in James’ abduction and enforced
The lies being thrown in now
by the AFP and PNP that the clan and his colleagues are responsible for
his enforced disappearance are the same accusations they made in the other
cases of enforced disappearances and the more than 900 cases of
extrajudicial killings. Their statements have been highly criticized by
the United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston in his report saying
that “The military’s insistence that the “purge theory” is correct can
only be viewed as a cynical attempt to displace responsibility.”
We call on all Cordillerans
and human rights and peace advocates to help us in relentlessly searching
for James. The search for him and the other victims of enforced
disappearances is a search for justice. Mabtad tako amin!
CORDILLERA HUMAN RIGHTS
Cordillera Human Rights
If the Writ of Amparo is
granted it will allow the Balao family access to Philippine National
Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) camps and other
specified places in their search for James Moy Balao. Since the abduction
the Balao family has attempted to search camps in the Cordillera
Administrative Region, Region 1 and the National Capital Region (NCR). On
October 28 the Chairperson of the National
SECOND HEARING. The Second Hearing on the Writ of Amparo last October 30. The process is rather slow and disappointing, but we will pursue this and continue to engage in efforts to search for James.
Commission on Human
Rights (CHR), Leila de Lima, issued a mission order to her staff to aid
the Balao family in their camp searches, facilitating better access.
However, even when they are accompanied by CHR staff the Balao family's
access to PNP and AFP camps has continued to be restricted. Until they
receive a resolution on the Writ of Amparo the Balao family plans to
continue searching camps in Central Luzon and around the NCR, maximizing
the CHR mission order, despite its limitations.#
MISSING IGOROT ACTIVIST TAKES MABTAD! CALL TO CONGRESS
In Cordillera, a "mabtad" is declared in times of emergency, such as when a tribe member disappears, to prompt community mobilization. The family of missing Igorot activist James Balao today echoed the indigenous call in the House of Representatives as militant lawmakers filed a resolution seeking a congressional probe into the disappearance.
"Each passing moment without knowledge of our James' whereabouts is agonizing. Please help us find him," lamented the desaparecidos' younger sister Nonette Balao, who was accompanied to the Batasan Complex by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Manila-based indigenous group TAKDER, and human rights groups Desaparecidos and Indigenous Peoples' Rights Monitor.
In a letter to legislators, Balao's seventy seven year-old father pleaded Congress "to give more pressure to surface my son soonest so we, as a family, will all be together this coming Christmas."
The progressive party list bloc in the House of Representatives composed of lawmakers from Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women's Party and Anakpawis welcomed Balao's family and colleagues, expressing solidarity with them in their unremitting quest for justice.
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and the other progressive lawmakers had earlier filed the Anti-Enforced Disappearance and Anti-Torture Bills.
Meanwhile, Cordillera Peoples Alliance Chairperson Beverly Longid urged Cordillera lawmakers to support the resolution filed by the progressive bloc.
"We call upon our kakailian (villagemates) in Congress to support efforts to immediately surface our Ibaloi and Kankana-ey brother. Isakit ti kailyan (defend, protect and empathize with your fellow Igorots)."
The Cordillera solons are Congressmen Manuel Agyao (Kalinga and Mountain Province), Elias Bulut (Apayao), Solomon Chungalao (Ifugao), Samuel Dangwa (Benguet), Cecilia Seares-Luna (Abra) and Mauricio Domogan (Baguio City).
"President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has Igorot blood on her hands. Under her regime, many of our kakailian have been martyred while defending their ancestral land and self-determination. Help save Jame's life from the punitive handiwork of state terrorism and national oppression," added Longid.
Balao, a founding member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and President of the Oclupan Clan Association of Benguet was abducted by armed men suspected to be elements of state security forces on September 17, 2008 in Lower Tomay, Benguet.
He is the first documented indigenous victim of enforced disappearance under the Arroyo administration according to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Monitor. The human rights watchdog KARAPATAN has documented about two hundred cases of enforced disappearances in the country since 2001. #
International Day of Action to Surface James Moy Balao on November 28, 2008.
Kindly inform the CPA (cpa@cpaphils.
org) and CHRA (chra@cpaphils.
org) of your action in relation to this.
Kindly send communications to