As ILO Mission nears:
Workers picket Crame, Aguinaldo,

call for military pull-out from factories
 

 

Quezon City

 

September 16, 2009

 

 

 
   
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Photos courtesy of B
           
           

 

NEWS RELEASE
16 September 2009

As ILO Mission nears
Workers picket Crame, Aguinaldo, call for military pull-out from factories

Workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno today picketed Camps Crame and Aguinaldo to denounce what they call the “militarization of workplaces and communities” under the Arroyo administration which resulted in blatant killings of unionists and harassment of workers.

The workers asserted that military forces be sent back to the barracks and police forces be stopped from intervening in labor disputes through the labor department’s Assumption of Jurisdiction order.

“The AFP and PNP under the Arroyo regime – these are the real terrorists in factories and workers’ communities,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU executive vice chairperson, alluding to Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s statement in 2002 calling for the expansion of the “war on terrorism” to cover factories being “terrorized” by certain groups.

“It is the Arroyo-led AFP and PNP that has sown fear in the hearts of the Filipino workers and people. Since 2001, they have committed extra-judicial killings, abductions, illegal arrests and harassments of trade union leaders and activists,” explained Ustarez.

“We want to show the people that militarization is not a mere figment of a paranoiac imagination,” said Ustarez, pointing to placards containing demands for the immediate pull-out of specific military units from particular workplaces and communities.

“Even the Hacienda Luisita farms owned by the Cojuangco family hosts its own military units,” said Ustarez, referring to the Tarlac plantation and sugar refinery plant wracked by labor and land disputes.

The labor leader also criticized the police forces for intervening in labor disputes. “The police has always been called in by capitalists to disperse our protest actions, however peaceful our mode of action is and however legitimate our demands are.”

Gokongwei-owned Robina Farms

KMU cited the recent basing of the 16th Infantry Battalion in Gokongwei-owned Robina Farms in Antipolo, Rizal where the military has convened workers for a “seminar” in which progressive organizations and party-lists were denounced as communist fronts.

“The military has no business whatsoever staying in Robina Farms,” said Ustarez. “They have no business and no proof in saying that progressive organizations, including the KMU, are fronts of underground and armed organizations,” he added.

“The military is showing how callous it is by doing these in Robina even as the ILO Mission – which will investigate its crimes against workers – is just around the corner,” said Ustarez.

Ustarez is referring to the International Labor Organizations’ first High-Level Mission to the country which will be conducted this Sept. 22-29.

“Such callousness could only show that it has a powerful backer – no less than the chief of command, Mrs. Gloria Arroyo,” said Ustarez.

Reference: Joselito “Lito” Ustarez, KMU Executive Vice President, 0920-332-8339
 

     
           
           
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Peasant activist killed in front of wife, children

UA No: 2009-09-01
UA Date : September 9, 2009
UA Case :
(1) Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Killing
(2) Threat/Harassment/Intimidation
(3) Violation of children’s right to survival

Victim/s : Romulo Mendoba y Doquilla,

* 43 years old, male, married
* resident of Brgy. Cancaiyas, Basey, Samar
* member of Kapunungan han Basaynon nga Parag-uma (KABAPA); a Samahan ha Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) affiliated organization

Family:

(Wife) Nora Mendoba y Lanigao, 39 years old, female, a Brgy. Councilor of Brgy. Cancaiyas, Basey, Samar

(Children)

1. Eric Mendoba, 21 years old, male
2. Efren Mendoba, 18 years old, male
3. Erwin Mendoba, 16 years old, male
4. Ronalyn Mendoba, 11 years old, female
5. Emiljon Mendoba, 9 years old, male
6. Christine Joy Mendoba, 4 years old, female
7. Ronnel Mendoba, 3 years old, male

Place of Incident : Sitio Cambabang, Brgy. Cogon, Basey, Samar
Date of Incidents : September 5, 2009, at around 4:00 in the afternoon
Alleged Perpetrator(s): Two unidentified men believed to be members of Civilian Armed Geographical Unit (CAFGU)

Account of the Incident:

On September 5, 2009, at around 2:00 PM, the victim Romulo Mendoba, with his wife Nora and their children Emiljon (9 years old) and Christine Joy (4 years old), left their village Sitio Cambabang, Brgy. Cogon for the town proper of Basey, Samar. While they were walking, not far from the community, they came across two unidentified men walking towards them. One of the men who had short hair, fair complexion and slightly fat, wore a white shirt and faded jeans; while the other one who was medium built, had a darker complexion, wore a black shirt and short pants and carried a back pack.

The men stopped and engaged Romulo in a conversation. One of the men told Romulo that it was late for them to go to the fiesta. Romulo answered that they weren’t going to the fiesta in a nearby barrio but was going to town instead. After that, they went on their way.

Romulo and Nora noticed that the men kept looking back at them and stopped again and asked something from two boys who were walking just a few meters behind the family. Getting suspicious, the family stopped a few meters ahead to wait for the boys and inquired what the men asked from them. The boys narrated that the men asked if Romulo was the councilor’s husband which the boys confirmed.

Meanwhile, the two men proceeded to Alejandro Lanigao’s residence, Nora’s father. The fatter of the men asked where the councilor of Brgy. Cancaiyas live; who lives in the house across Lanigao’s; and where its residents were at that time. Lanigao innocently answered that it was his daughter, Nora and her family, who live in the house across his. The stranger then asked Lanigao his name and the name of one of Nora’s son who, at that time, happened to cross from their own house to Lanigao’s. The stranger then explained that they were there because of COCOFED (Philippine Coconut Producers Federation) and wanted to talk to the Barangay Council. The other man stayed away from the house and stood by a coconut tree while the other was conversing with Lanigao.

After a few minutes, the two men then left towards Bgy. Cogon.

When Romulo and his family returned from town to Brgy. Cogon at around 4:00 PM, they noticed that one of the men whom they met earlier was sitting outside a karaoke bar texting. Around ten (10) uniformed soldiers were at the village at that time, two (2) were at the fish stand while the others were sitting nearby.

Romulo just paid for their loaned fish, while Nora bought some bread and after that, started their hike home back to Brgy. Cancaiyas. On their way, they walked together with their neighbor and who was with his son.

They haven’t walked a kilometer away from Brgy. Cogon when a man, who was wearing a long brown curly wig and the same clothes as the darker man the Mendobas met earlier, jumped from the side of the road and ran towards them. He hurriedly confirmed Romulo’s identity, took a short M-16 rifle from his back pack and immediately shot him in the body and head. When Romulo fell to the ground, the man took a .45 caliber gun from his bag and shot him again in the head several times. Romulo even attempted to call for his wife before he lost his breath. The shooter pointed his gun at Nora who was embracing Christine Joy when she attempted to get near her husband. The shooter then ran towards Brgy. Cogon. The neighbor, Jerry Boy who was so surprised of what happened was not able to do anything while Romulo was being shot. Emiljon ran towards the side of the road when the shooting started.

After the shooting, Nora requested their neighbor to go home to their village to fetch their Barangay Captain to ask for help and ordered her son to go to Brgy. Cogon to ask for help. The Barangay Captain of Brgy. Cogon denied them help for the reason that Romulo was not a resident of the said village.

Meanwhile, in Brgy. Cogon, some residents heard the gunshots and saw the shooter, who was not wearing the wig anymore, ran through the village. The soldiers who were still in the village also saw the running shooter but did nothing.

At around 5:30 PM, the Brgy. Captain of Brgy. Cancaiyas, along with some Councilors and Barangay Tanod arrived and helped carry Romulo’s body to Brgy. Cogon. A few meters away from the place of incident, they met the soldiers who just came from Brgy. Cogon. The soldiers’ team leader, who introduced himself as Morales, ordered to put the body down. He asked Nora about what happened, if her husband had any enemies and what firearm was used to kill her husband. Morales also talked to the Brgy. Captain. After that, they continued to Brgy. Cogon and brought the body to the town.

Eight bullet cases were recovered by the residents from the scene and covered the blood stains on the ground with dirt. The police did not investigate at the crime scene and only requested for a post-mortem examination for the body. Romulo sustained gunshot wounds in his body, neck, face and head.

Nora narrated that prior to the killing, Romulo was visited by members of the CAFGU on August 31 and September 1. Romulo was also accused of having knowledge of the August 30 raid conducted by the New People’s Army (NPA) on the CAFGU detachment near the Mendoba home.

On the morning of September 1, 2009, a CAFGU member went to the Mendoba home and told Romulo to go to their camp alone because their “sir” wanted to ask him some questions.

That day, Romulo proceeded to the camp despite apprehensions, and was interrogated in a hut near the camp’s gate. Three (3) soldiers took turns in asking him questions. One of them asked him his children’s name while looking at a list which came from a census from the Barangay Secretary. The soldier also told Mendoba that his wife, who’s a Barangay Councilor won in the election with help from the NPA’s which Romulo denied. The soldiers also accused him of having knowledge about the NPA’s attack last August 30 because someone from his village gave information to the rebels. For two hours, the soldiers repeatedly questioned him about the raid. The soldiers also informed Romulo that he was in the “OB” (order of battle) and threatened that he would be taken to the “higher authorities” if he would not admit to any of the soldiers’ accusations.

Because Nora got worried that her husband had not returned home after an hour, she went to the camp to fetch Romulo. When she arrived there, she saw her husband being interrogated in a hut nearby the gate. She was not allowed to go inside the camp so she decided to wait at a house which is nearby the camp.

Romulo was only allowed to go home when he insisted that he was hungry. His interrogator told him that they would visit him again. Romulo fetched his wife where she was waiting and told her about the interrogation when they arrived at their house.

After that, Romulo always had a hard time sleeping at night, out of fear of the military. He even attempted to convince his wife that he would stay at their hut in their rice field with his sons for the meantime but Nora didn’t give in to the request.

After the NPA’s raid at the CAFGU detachment, residents of Brgy. Cancaiyas also noticed that strangers frequently roamed their village, asking questions from residents. They suspect that they are intelligence agents connected with the military.

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KARAPATAN Urgent Action Alert
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2/F Erythrina Building, #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts.,
Central District, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: (632) 435 4146

 

Youth activist abducted by armed intelligence units
in Cagayan Valley, Philippines

UA No: 2009-09-02
UA Date : 15 August 2009
UA Case : Abduction; Enforced Disappearance
 

Victim/s : Noriel Rodriguez, 26 years old

· Member, ANAKBAYAN (Sons & Daughters of the People)
· Volunteer of Kagimungan, a peasant organization in Cagayan Valley

Place of Incident : Sitio Sta. Isabel, Bgy. Tapel, Gonzaga, Cagayan

Date of Incident : September 6, 2009, at around 5:00 pm

Alleged Perpetrator(s): Four unidentified men in civilian attire armed with .45 caliber guns, believed to be members of the 17th IBPA based in Bgy. San Jose Gonzaga, Cagayan.

Account of the Incident:

Noriel Rodriguez, an ANAKBAYAN member and a youth volunteer of the peasant organization in Cagayan – Kagimungan – was on board a tricycle on his way to Brgy. Tapel, Gonzaga, Cagayan at around 5 pm of September 6, 2009.

At a waiting shed, along the national road going through Sitio Comunal, which was 3.5 kilometers away from Bgy. Batangan, four unidentified men in civilian clothes suddenly stopped the tricycle. Three of the men were armed with .45 caliber pistols. The armed men grabbed Rodriguez out of the tricycle and immediately pushed him unto a waiting red vehicle known to the locals as “spider car”. The tricycle driver only remembers the last three digits (522) on the vehicle’s plate.

The tricycle driver was told by one of the men in vernacular, “You didn’t see anything”.

When Rodriguez was already inside the “spider” vehicle one of the abductors wearing a black shirt, ordered the tricycle driver to get inside the passenger cab of the tricycle. The perpetrator then hopped on to the driver’s seat and drove the tricycle to follow the abductors’ vehicle towards the direction of Bgy. Calayan.

Upon reaching Brgy. Calayan, the abductor alighted from the tricycle and transferred to the “spider” car. The vehicle then drove off towards the direction of Sta. Ana, Cagayan leaving the tricycle behind. The tricycle driver believed that Rodriguez was brought to the 17th IBPA based in San Jose, Gonzaga, Cagayan, since the spider cars were often seen as being used by the intelligence unit of the 17th IBPA.

Rodriguez is a volunteer of Kagimungan under Anakbayan’s community integration program, a program which allows the youth and students to integrate and work with the poor and different sectors of society.

The Karapatan-Cagayan Valley chapter conducted a search and fact-finding mission on September 15. The team inquired at the camps of 17th IBPA detachments in Bgy. San Jose Gonzaga and the Cagayan Police Provincial Station in Bgy. Sta. Ana. The officers of the military and police denied that they have custody of Rodriguez.

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the abduction and enforced disappearance of Anakbayan member and peasant volunteer Noriel Rodriguez.
2. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

You may send your communications to:

 

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Gen. Avelino Razon, Ret. PNP
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
osec@opapp.gov.ph

Atty. Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Email: osnd@philonline.com

Atty. Agnes Devanadera
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: soj@doj.gov.ph

Atty. Leila De Lima
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
 

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)
National Office
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org
Website: www.karapatan.org

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KARAPATAN Urgent Action Alert
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2/F Erythrina Building, #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts.,
Central District, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: (632) 435 4146

           
           
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