Social justice activists in Montreal hold vigil

for the victims of political killings in the Philippines

 

St. James Unitred Church, Montreal,  Canada

 

April 25, 2010

 

■    Bonus Tracks: A poem by Alex Remollino

 

 

   
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Photos courtesy of Bayan Canada
           
           

 

Montreal vigil for the victims of political killings in the Philippines

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In the lead-up to the much anticipated Presidential elections in the Philippines, taking place in May 2010, social justice activists gathered in front of St James United Church in downtown Montreal on Saturday to highlight the over 1000 political killings in the Philippines occurring since 2001 under the administration of current President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Today, political organizers implicated in movements for social change in the Philippines are under the gun.

Amnesty International concluded in a recent report that "over recent years reports of an increased number of killings of political activists, predominately those associated with leftist or left-orientated groups, have caused increasing concern in the Philippines and internationally."

Human rights activists held the vigil in Montreal to highlight the systemic political killings in the Philippines just two weeks before the crucial Presidential elections.

Saturday's vigil also featured presentations from the five-person Quebec delegation traveling to the Philippines to observe May 10 Philippine elections with the Peoples' International Observers Mission (IOM). The vigil led by Reverend Shaun E. Fryday, Minister at the Beasonsfield United Church and Fr Art Calaycay from the Philippine Independent Church (IFI).

PIOM Quebec delegate, Laura Cliche, also gave her testimony as a participant in the 2009 fact-finding mission for the Ampatuan massacre while doing an internship with the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines. Meanwhile, a street theater paying tribute to some of the victims of political killings and enforced disappearances was also presented, along with the song Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa (Love of native land) by Bayan Canada members in Montreal.

As April 24 is also Cordillera day, the organizers of the event included a tribute to the victims of political killings among the members of the Cordillera people and played a recorded message by Dr. “Chandu” Claver, chairperson of Bayan Canada and member of the indigenous Bontoc tribe in Northern Philippines. Also present were some members of the BIBAK (Bontoc, Ifugao, Benget, Apayao, Kalinga) community in Montreal.

The event was organized to raise broad public support and awareness for the victims of the Philippine state’s Operational Plan Bantay Laya (operation “guard freedom” – a counter insurgency plan), election related violence and the important People's International Observers Mission (PIOM) heading to the Philippines.

Event organized by the Stop the Killings in the Philippines Campaign

BAYAN Canada (Montreal)

Centre for Philippine Concerns

Also attached, Audio message of Dr. Chandu Claver, chairperson of Bayan Canada.

 

Click here to download Audio Message of Dr. Claver
 

Bayan Canada sec-gen statement for the press
Bayan Canada, Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa 2
      Eileen, Centre for Philippines Concerns closes
     
Fr Artemio leads a prayer for HR victims Local musician Janet Lumb
  Rev. Shaun Friday leads a praye Street theater tribute to HR victims
     

 

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD)
2/F Doña Anita Bldg, 284 E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City
Telefax: (02) 725 4760 Email: headphil@gmail.com
Media Release
24 April 2010

AFP and PNP Colluding To Defy the Courts

First, it was the Court of Appeals. Then, it was the Commission on Human Rights. Now, it is the Regional Trial Court of Morong, Rizal.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police continue to defy the laws of the land, this time by refusing to carry out a direct order from Morong RTC,” said Dr. Geneve Rivera, secretary general of Health Alliance for Democracy.

The order is for the transfer of custody of the detained health workers held in Camp Capinpin, known as the Morong 43, to the PNP in Camp Crame. Yet instead of taking custody of the 43, the PNP has filed another motion to refuse.

“If the two biggest groups of state security forces cannot even effectively carry out a simple transfer of custody, they are either shamelessly incompetent or arrogantly making a mockery of the judicial process.”

“Either way, the AFP and PNP should both be held in contempt of court by the Morong RTC,” added Dr. Rivera.

The Commission on Human Rights has earlier threatened to hold the military officers in contempt of court for refusing to attend its hearings investigating human rights violations and abuses.

In the meantime, the health group vowed to continue supporting the 43 health workers in their struggle for freedom. They and their families are now on their eighth day of fasting as a form of protest to demand their immediate transfer.

“The actions of the AFP and PNP reveal how easily these two can undermine civilian authority. The AFP and PNP is proving to all Filipinos that legal processes are merely tools by the government to exonerate its allies and punish its enemies and detractors,” concluded Dr. Rivera. ###

References:
Dr. Geneve E. Rivera
Secretary-General, 0920 460 3712
 

Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700
 

Street theater tribute to HR victim
Tony reads out victims names      
     
BIBAK and BAYAN Canada members Candle lighting for victims of massacre CPC STKP PINAY
     
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Law student Emil Members of BIBAK in tradional dress patterns Members of the Centre for Philippine Concerns and the STKP
           

 

April 27, 2010
Media Release
References: Dr. Julie Caguiat, Spokesperson, 0909-1133038
Philip Paraan, Media Officer, 0919-4861580

To solve detention problem, group demands for the release of the 43 health
workers

The Philippine National Police thinks it can get off the hook and renege on
its responsibility by citing different (and outrageous) reasons to block the
transfer of the health workers in their custody.

Relatives of the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal today condemned
the PNP’s latest move to take a hands-off on custodial issues by filing an
omnibus motion for reconsideration. “The Morong court should cite the PNP
Custodial Center for contempt this time,” Dr. Julie Caguiat of the FREE THE
43 HEALTH WORKERS alliance said.

The group decried that it was very cunning and deceitful of the PNP to
blatantly defy the Morong RTC order before making any legal action to counter
the decision. The omnibus motion of the PNP was only officially filed at the
Morong RTC and was received by the Office of the Clerk of Court at around
8:20, April 26 (Monday), when the said court order was supposed to be served
within 24 hours since it was issued last April 23.

Dr. Caguiat added that the relatives and supporters of the health workers are
angered at the PNP and AFP’s malicious tactics. “We are even more angered at
the government for tolerating this injustice by not ordering the PNP and AFP
to follow court orders,” the doctor said.

At first, PNP officials refused custody of the 43 to Camp Crame citing lack
of space for additional detainees especially since the Ampatuan-massacre
suspects are detained in their facility. But when the massacre suspects were
transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, the PNP came up with
“unloading its detainees for eventual abolition [of the custodial center]”.

“The PNP can come up with random reasons to prevent the Morong 43’s transfer
to their custody. But as far as truth is concerned, they are merely trying
hard to evade responsibility,” Dr. Caguiat explained.

“The PNP and AFP’s finger-pointing is proof that their own monster is chasing
them. That monster is eating the very same persons who concocted this
problem – Mrs. Arroyo and her high ranking PNP and AFP officials. The only
way to resolve the problem of which detention facility the 43 health workers
should be placed in is to release them back to their families and the
communities that they serve,” Dr. Caguiat ended.##
 

Members of the Filipino Workers Support Group
      Photos of HR victim
     
Some curious passerbys stop to listen, grab flyer st james united church courtyard Str James United Church Entrance
     

 

‘Unholy trinity’ to blame for ‘43’

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:21:00 03/23/2010

Filed Under: Government, Military, Human Rights, Justice & Rights, Crime and Law and Justice

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Court of Appeals, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo compose an “unholy trinity” that makes sure that Philippine democracy is trampled, civil liberties are bastardized and basic human rights violated as a matter of course.

The 43 illegally detained health workers have to endure another round of physical, emotional and psychological abuse, courtesy of the Court of Appeals which junked their petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In effect, the Court of Appeals justified all the atrocities committed by the military against the 43.

Every minute in illegal detention is in itself torture, every moment a physical and mental torment. The longer the 43 health workers are detained in the military camp, the more they become vulnerable. Worst of all, this Court of Appeals decision sends a chilling message: the military can go ahead with its violation of the people’s civil and democratic rights.

Families of the detained health workers are afraid that the longer the 43 stay in detention, the more they will experience abuses and violations of their rights. They have all the reasons to feel that way, as their rights were brazenly violated as soon as they were arrested. Coming from several families, some of them may have been living more comfortably than the others or may have the chance to live a better life. Others may be so poor like the ones they have committed themselves to serve. They may be missing their parents and loved ones while they are serving in barangays where no medical practitioners dare go.

They may have different backgrounds and levels of commitment, but they have one thing in common: all of them were arrested at the time when they were training to become better skilled health workers. The illegal arrest suddenly distracted them from this noble intention and has utterly deprived people, whom these health workers could have been serving now, of badly needed health care.

How do we now define the injustice done to the 43 health workers and the rest of the Filipino people? Just think of the AFP members who blindfolded, detained and continuously tortured them. Think of this decision of the Court of Appeals. Think of GMA whose power and despotic rule allow human rights violations to go unpunished.

—NORMA P. DOLLAGA,
Kapatirang Simbahan
Para sa Bayan (Kasimbayan),
3/F NCCP, 879 Edsa, Quezon City
 

STKP PINAY Bayan Canada
Tony HR committee of the CPC      
           

BONUS TRACKS

A poem by Alex Remollino

           
           



Stills from a Kodao Video on Hacienda Luisita

 

Higit na Mahal
ni Alexander Martin Remollino


Sa silid-kainan ng iyong isip,
kailanman ay hindi nila natikman ang ipaghain --
kailanman ay hindi.
Ni hindi nga nila nalasap doon ni minsan
ang alukin man lamang na kumain --
ni minsan ay hindi.

Ano kaya,
ano kaya kung sa isang biglang pihit ng pagkakataon
ay maglahong tulad nina Juan Feleo,
Manuel Merino at Jonas Burgos
silang lahat na humahawak ng araro't asarol?
Tiyak na magmamarkang parang kagat sa iyong isip --
sa iyong isip na kasinliit ng mumo --
ang katotohanang ang mga lipaking palad
na naghahatid ng pagkain sa iyong hapag

ay higit na mahal, higit na mahal
kaysa sa iyong mga pinggang
porselana.
 

 

     
     
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