National  Interfaith Mission for Peace and Justice in Maguindanao:

Lighting candles for the victims on the 2nd month of the massacre

 

Maguindanao

 

Januarya 22-26, 2010

 

 

 
   

 

The National Interfaith Mission together with families of the victims went to the site of the Ampatuan massacre on the second month of the incident.

25 family members were accompanied by some 200 delegates of the mission coming from Manila, Davao City, Kidapawan, General Santos, Koronadal and Digos City. Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Women's Partylist representative Luz Ilagan, along with journalists, church people, lawyers joined the delegation.

Prayers, candles, flowers and markers were placed on the site to remember the 57 martyrs that included journalists, lawyers and civilians, as the mission calls for continuing vigilance for justice for the victims and to fight against impunity

 

The activity was organized by KARAPATAN, Kawagib, and Kalinaw Mindanao.
 

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Photos courtesy of Kodao Productions, Bulatlat and Kalinaw Mindanao/Karl Ramirez/Raymund Villanueva

For more photos, got to:     http://www.kodao.org/     http://tatayk.wordpress.com/

 

           
           

 

PRESS RELEASE – 23 January 2010

Reference:    Lovella de Castro, Secreatary General

                        0920-918-2174

 

On the 2nd month commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre

Familes of victims revisit massacre site with human rights advocates

          

Ampatuan, Maguindanao-- Exactly two months after the deaths of their loved ones, families of victims of the Ampatuan massacre visited the site of the mass murder, together with human rights advocates who vowed to continue to seek justice for the victims and fight to end the climate of terror and culture of impunity that still reigns in Maguindanao and elsewhere in the country.

 

In an interfaith program, more than 30 relatives of victims offered candles and flowers at the mass graves. They also released white balloons as an expression of their desire for peace based on justice. A bamboo marker with the word “justice” was erected at the site. Also present in the commemoration were Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, a former journalist, and Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan. Atty. Connie Brizuela was a Gabriela member. 

 

The commemoration is an activity of Kalinaw Mindanao, convened by Inpeace Mindanao and Karapatan, and was attended by more than 300 particants from all over Mindanao and Manila. The event was highlighted by the messages of the relatives thanking the organizers of the activity.

“One of the primary objectives of the National Interfaith Mission for Peace and Justice in Maguindanao is to accompany the victims to the massacre-site. As a human rights organization, we consider this as part of their psycho-social therapy. To be able to face their greatest fear and overcome it, is a way of moving on,” Lovella de Castro, Karapatan secretary-general.

 

De Castro also said that the Ampatuan massacre has increased the number of extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo regime to 1,188. “As Arroyo ends her term, it should be noted that not a single perpetrator of these killings have been punished. This is not surprising, given that these killings are perpetrated by state agents carrying out the Arroyo-instigated counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bantay Laya, or by local warlords politically allied with the Arroyo regime. The people must not forget that Arroyo is ultimately accountable for the Ampatuan massacre and other extra-judicial killings that have victimized all sectors of society, including ordinary civilians and journalists,” she said.  

 

Hunger for justice was the general sentiments of the delegates. “May the victims rest in peace while we pursue justice,” was de Castro’s message for the victims and their relatives.

The coalition is holding a National Interfaith Mission for Peace and Justice in Maguindanao from January 23 to 25 to commemorate the massacre and to investigate the plight of and give humanitarian assistance to almost 1,000 civilian evacuees whose lives have yet to return to normal.

 

“It is clear that the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao has brought more fear to the lives of the people. And although it was already lifted, they will continue to live in fear as long as private armies—and Executive Order 546 that legalizes their creation—exist.” De Castro added. 

Tomorrow, Kalinaw Mindanao will launch the Alliance Against Impunity in Mindanao (AIM), a gathering of all families of victims of extra-judicial killings (including the Ampatuan massacre) and other human rights violations.

 

“Karapatan supports the creation of this kind of alliance. As the list of victims grows longer, nobody is being held accountable. Its about time that accountability for all the human rights violations must be addressed nationwide.” De Castro concluded.

 

Photos by Raymund Villanueva (Kodao Productions/Bulatlat.com)

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

PRESS RELEASE – 23 January 2010
Reference: Lovella de Castro, Secreatary General
0920-918-2174

On the 2nd month commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre
Familes of victims revisit massacre site with human rights advocates


Ampatuan, Maguindanao-- Exactly two months after the deaths of their loved ones, families of victims of the Ampatuan massacre visited the site of the mass murder, together with human rights advocates who vowed to continue to seek justice for the victims and fight to end the climate of terror and culture of impunity that still reigns in Maguindanao and elsewhere in the country.

In an interfaith program, more than 30 relatives of victims offered candles and flowers at the mass graves. They also released white balloons as an expression of their desire for peace based on justice. A bamboo marker with the word “justice” was erected at the site. Also present in the commemoration were Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, a former journalist, and Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan. Atty. Connie Brizuela was a Gabriela member.

The commemoration is an activity of Kalinaw Mindanao, convened by Inpeace Mindanao and Karapatan, and was attended by more than 300 particants from all over Mindanao and Manila. The event was highlighted by the messages of the relatives thanking the organizers of the activity.

“One of the primary objectives of the National Interfaith Mission for Peace and Justice in Maguindanao is to accompany the victims to the massacre-site. As a human rights organization, we consider this as part of their psycho-social therapy. To be able to face their greatest fear and overcome it, is a way of moving on,” Lovella de Castro, Karapatan secretary-general.

De Castro also said that the Ampatuan massacre has increased the number of extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo regime to 1,188. “As Arroyo ends her term, it should be noted that not a single perpetrator of these killings have been punished. This is not surprising, given that these killings are perpetrated by state agents carrying out the Arroyo-instigated counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bantay Laya, or by local warlords politically allied with the Arroyo regime. The people must not forget that Arroyo is ultimately accountable for the Ampatuan massacre and other extra-judicial killings that have victimized all sectors of society, including ordinary civilians and journalists,” she said.

Hunger for justice was the general sentiments of the delegates. “May the victims rest in peace while we pursue justice,” was de Castro’s message for the victims and their relatives.

The coalition is holding a National Interfaith Mission for Peace and Justice in Maguindanao from January 23 to 25 to commemorate the massacre and to investigate the plight of and give humanitarian assistance to almost 1,000 civilian evacuees whose lives have yet to return to normal.

“It is clear that the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao has brought more fear to the lives of the people. And although it was already lifted, they will continue to live in fear as long as private armies—and Executive Order 546 that legalizes their creation—exist.” De Castro added.

Tomorrow, Kalinaw Mindanao will launch the Alliance Against Impunity in Mindanao (AIM), a gathering of all families of victims of extra-judicial killings (including the Ampatuan massacre) and other human rights violations.
“Karapatan supports the creation of this kind of alliance. As the list of victims grows longer, nobody is being held accountable. Its about time that accountability for all the human rights violations must be addressed nationwide.” De Castro concluded..
 

     
     
           
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xTHE STRUCTURE OF REACTIONARY VIOLENCE
AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson
International League of Peoples' Struggle
27 November 2009

The International Coordinating Committee and all member-organizations of the International League of Peoples' Struggle condemn with all their moral conviction and strength the monstrous massacre of at least 57 people, including many women and children, 29 journalists and two human rights lawyers, in Ampatuan, Maguindanao last 23 November 2009.

The abominable crime against humanity was perpetrated by the private army of the Ampatuan ruling clan in collaboration with units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army (PA). The private army consists of armed units designated as Civilian Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU) and Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVO), subsidized by public funds and operating as auxiliary paramilitary units of the PNP and PA.

The Ampatuans are governors of both Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM and include a cabinet undersecretary, congressmen and several town mayors . They have maintained their dominant warlord status because they are aligned with the Arroyo regime and have delivered to it large numbers of fraudulent votes in the 2004 and 2007 reactionary elections. Thus, they are allowed to oppress and exploit the people and crush with armed force any opposition.

But it is not enough to see only the relationship of the Arroyo ruling clique and the Ampatuan ruling clan in Maguindanao or even the rotten and violent character of the entire oppressive ruling system in the Philippines. The official designation and government financing of the Ampatuan private army as CVO and CAFGU paramilitary auxiliaries of the PNP and PA are in line with the national internal security plan called Oplan Bantay Laya. This has been designed and directed by the US under its global war of terror policy.

The structure of reactionary violence and human rights violations in the Philippines has several levels, including those of the US, the puppet Manila-based government and the local tyrants like the Ampatuans. The US has been the most culpable for whipping up state terrorism and vigilantism by local tyrants and by army and police commanders under the pretext of combating communists and Muslims who are unjustly labeled as terrorists.

The US is the imperialist master that has dictated upon the Arroyo regime to adopt and implement Oplan Bantay Laya and use the regular armed forces, the police and the paramilitary forces of the Ampatuan type to suppress the national and democratic rights of the people. Along the way, the puppets use their armed power to intimidate and kill their intrasystemic political rivals.

The US has provided the doctrine of warfare against the people and supplied the military equipment and training and other wherewithals of the reign of terror. It has embedded advisors, trainors and operatives within the reactionary armed forces and has deployed its own units in Mindanao and elsewhere to ensure puppet obedience to its imperialist dictates.

Together with the Manila-based puppet government, local tyrants like the Ampatuans and all their military, police and paramilitary minions, the US is culpable and condemnable for pushing state terrorism and the gross and systematic human rights violations and emboldening the human rights violators to commit their crimes with impunity under the pretext of combating terrorism. ###

FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE AMPATUAN MASSACRE

In a land that is familiar to violence by foreign aggressors and local tyrants, the recent massacre of at least 57 people in Ampatuan municipality, Maguindanao Province, Philippines still managed to shock and outrage the Filipino people as well as the rest of the world.

A convoy of journalists, lawyers and women relatives of Esmael Mangudadatu, a local politician contesting the governorship of Maguindanao Province, were en route to file registration papers for the May 2010 elections on the morning of November 23, 2009 when they were abducted and executed by over 100 gunmen. Twenty-four of the victims were women, some of whose bodies were later found mutilated. At least 28 journalists were also killed in the attack which the Reporters without Borders described as the worst loss of life in the history of journalism.

The perpetrators were allegedly led by Andal Ampatuan Jr., the Mayor of a nearby town and son of the incumbent Governor of Maguindanao, who was being groomed to take over his father's position. He was assisted by senior police officials, local police and paramilitary forces who function as a private army of the Ampatuan clan. A backhoe registered to the provincial government was even on hand to bury the victims in pre-dug common graves.

Clearly the Ampatuans consider themselves untouchable because of their loyal ties to the incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who has deliberately created a climate of impunity for human rights violators and mass murderers in the Philippines. Since her ascent to power in 2001, over 800 extra-judicial killings have been committed in the country, including 51 incidents of massacres victimizing a total of 255 persons. Not one has been punished for these vilest of crimes.

In the case of the Ampatuan massacre, it took four days before the principal suspect was taken into custody and only after intense public outcry for justice. The Arroyo government's initial response was to declare a state of emergency in the province which would be enforced, of course, by the local state apparatus controlled by the Ampatuans.

The Ampatuan clan is a prime example of feudal-fascist warlords who are coddled and nurtured by the national ruling clique in order to secure their hold over local populations and resources. The Ampatuans are among the most loyal vassals of the Arroyo ruling clique and responsible for orchestrating the electoral fraud in the region through which Arroyo has kept herself in power.

It was Arroyo who gave the Ampatuan clan the authority to recruit and arm civilians to assist in fighting "insurgents" in the region. As a result, the Ampatuans now have a 500-strong army, which includes 200 special armed civilian auxiliary forces, as well as entire regular military and police units assigned to ensure the security of the clan members.

These local warlords and their "armies", particularly in Mindanao, are not only interwoven with the national security apparatus of the ruling classes, they are also backed by the US imperialist state which has a special interest in Mindanao. The US military considers Mindanao strategic for its force projection in this part of the world. It maintains military facilities in the island in direct violation of the Philippine Constitution. It has conducted at least seven military exercises in Mindanao since 2001, poured millions of military aid and has trained local security forces to enhance "inter-operability" with US troops.

The USAID has funded tens of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects throughout the region to support US military operations and US investors in the regiTo accomplish their objective of securing strategic resources, facilities and suppressing revolutionary and democratic challenges to US interests in the region, the US necessarily works with the local state apparatus and allies with feudal-fascist rulers such as the Ampatuans.

Given the intimate ties of the Ampatuans and other fascist criminals with the US-Arroyo regime, there is no reason to expect that any fact-finding body or investigation initiated by the corrupt, oppressive and brutal government will be credible or will bring justice to the victims of massacres and other human rights violations in the Philippines.

The ILPS calls on all freedom-loving peoples of the world to denounce the Ampatuan Massacre and all other extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, to demand an independent probe of these killings; and condemn the Arroyo government for coddling mass murderers and human rights violators.

Stop the killings!
End impunity!
Justice now!

     
     
     
     
     
     
           

 

■   Mga Larawan: Kaanak ng biktima ng masakar sa Ampatuan, bumalik sa pinangyarihan ng krimen (Ilang-Ilang Quijano, Pinoy Weekly)

 

■   News in Pictures: Quest for Justice Continues (Raymund Villanueva, Bulatlat)

 

     
     
           

 

NDF hits promotion of Army chiefs linked to Ampatuan massacre; says US-Arroyo regime does a chess in placing loyal lackeys in key positions to protect their queen
Rubi Del Mundo
Spokesperson
National Democratic Front-Southern Mindanao
January 23, 2010

http://www.philippinerevolution.net/cgi-bin/statements/stmts.pl?date=100123;author=ndfsm;lang=eng


The National Democratic Front scores the US-Arroyo regime for playing chess by placing its most rabid bootlickers in key positions in the reactionary government, notwithstanding its self-perpetuating move to change the reactionary Charter.

The US-Arroyo regime is getting more and more edgy as its current occupant, Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is becoming more and more despised by the Filipino people. With the widespread discontent on the country's political and economic situation and mounting calls for justice to the victims of human rights violations and the brutal November 23 Ampatuan massacre, Mrs. Arroyo's plan to perpetuate in power through the GRP congress is ever more audacious and blatant.

Thus, the US-Arroyo regime is now placing its rabid bootlickers in key positions to ensure Mrs. Arroyo's victory and protect her from the people's mounting resistance. After putting former 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command chief Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu to lead the anti-coup force in Manila, and grooming its most favored general current Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit to be the next AFP chief of staff, the Arroyo regime promoted Maj. Gen. Alfredo Cayton to the Army's second highest position and is mulling on promoting the on-floating status Col. Medardo Geslani as well.

Cayton, former 6th Infantry Division commander, and Geslani, former 601st Brigade commander, were immediately relieved from office following the Ampatuan massacre. Both, by command-responsibility and by playing complicit with the barbarity of the Ampatuan clan, are equally responsible for the gruesome massacre that led to the death of 57 helpless individuals by the warlord and close Arroyo ally Ampatuan clan.

Cayton is guilty of omission and is as guilty as the Ampatuans for the massacre. It was Cayton who denied the requests of the victims for military escort despite previous intelligence reports that the road was perilous. It was Cayton who was aware of the political tension between the Mangudadatus and Ampatuans in Maguindanao. It was Cayton who knew that the Ampatuans were armed and dangerous, capable of doing the most beastly form of violence. It was Cayton's unit, together with its paramilitary force and the police, who assured of a safe road for the convoy.

Thus, his promotion is a big insult for all the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and their families. It underscores the AFP's penchant on clearing their men who are guilty of blood debt. Notice that the AFP's Board of Generals has approved Cayton's promotion after its own investigative body cleared them from any culpability of the massacre. It only highlights up to what extent the US-Arroyo regime can do to pay its debt of gratitude to military officials who carry out its brutal campaign of suppression against the people and the revolutionary movements like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The US-Arroyo regime's move for Cayton and Geslani is revolting. First, it is done to ensure that both would not spill the truth from what really transpired in Maguindanao especially before, during and right after the declaration of Martial Law in the province. Second, with them knowing the intricacies of the politics in Maguindanao province and other areas under the 6th Infantry Division-AFP, they are groomed to be the next "Hello Garci" generals who will ensure the delivery of votes in favor of the US-Arroyo regime's ticket.

While Cayton is expected to retire on February 14, his remaining days in service are still of use in advancing the US-Arroyo regime's game plan. On the other hand, Geslani's promotion will be imminent considering the notoriety of the US-Arroyo regime in promoting worst human rights violators-cum-military officials.

Now, more than ever, the Filipinos' vigilance is needed. The people's strong resistance is urged to end the US-Arroyo regime's repression.

 

     
     
           
           

BAYAN
Southern Mindanao Region
Office Address: Door #2, RGU Apartment, Medical Drive, Bajada, Davao City
Contact #: (082) 224-2642 Email Ad; bayan.smr@gmail.com

Press Release
January 25, 2010

Bayan marks Ampatuan massacre's 2nd month anniversary on site

Maguindanao – In solidarity with the families of the victims of Ampatuan Massacre, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan along with various church and human rights groups visited the Municipality of Ampatuan to mark the 2nd month of the gruesome murders on site.

“Justice remains a figment of imagination for the families of the more than 57 victims of the massacre--the perpetrator is in jail under a snail-paced prosecution and the masterminds and abettors in Malacanang are still out there," Bayan-SMR spokesperson John Birondo said.

“Then again, we need to ensure that only the truth will prevail. The people's belief that the Ampatuans are guilty of the crime, based on motives and facts, should not be disregarded in any way,” Birondo added.

Bayan also called for accountability of Gloria Arroyo, being the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the probable involvement of no less than the Maguindanao provincial command of the Philippine National Police and the 6th Infantry Division (ID) in the massacre.

“It is understandably damaging for the families of the victims to see Major General Alfredo Cayton, commander of the army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID), get his promotion as Army vice chief knowing his command responsibility when the massacre was committed,” Birondo stressed.

"It is insulting to see that the PNP can only relieve the local policemen of Ampatuan Municipality when they have been accused of taking part in the massacre," Birondo said.

“There is more that should hold the Arroyo administration accountable. It has tolerated the composition of private armies of the Ampatuan clan while tolerating violence to rule over the people of Maguindanao,” Birondo added.

“It has become a legacy of this administration to perpetuate the culture of violence all over the country as it continues to lead extrajudical killings against innocent civilians through its evil scheme Oplan Bantay Laya ,” Birondo said.

“It is disappointing enough to think of how long the trial against the Ampatuans would take. What is more unacceptable is to see Gloria Arroyo and the Ampatuans get away with the crimes they have committed against the people of Maguindanao and against more than a thousand innocent victims of extrajudicial killings,” Birondo ended.

For reference: John Birondo, Spokesperson, Bayan-SMR, Contact #: 09396568925

     
     
  Distributing relief packages for evacues  
     
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