On the eve of the 27th anniversary of Ninoy's assassination:

DESAPARECIDOS and HUSTISYA unveil the biggest yellow ribbon

to show their missing loved ones that they are still waiting for them to come home

 

Scout Jamboree Circle, QCI

 

August 20, 2010

 

 

Mother and missing daughter Father and missing daughter Mother and missing son

 

On the eve of the 27th Anniversary of the assassination of late Senator Ninoy Aquino, Families of the Disappeared for Justice (Desaparecidos) and Victims of Arroyo United for Justice (Hustisya!) tie a long yellow cloth around Scout Jamboree Circle to signify their continuing search and fight for justice.

As the two groups unveil the yellow cloth, photos of the disappeared and other victims of human rights violations unravel with the long cloth amidst the playing of the song ‘Tie A Yellow. “Like this song by Tony Orlando, we are tying the biggest yellow ribbon to show our missing loved ones that we are still waiting for them to come home,” Lorena P. Santos, deputy Secretary General of Desaparecidos said.

 

--- fromt the press statement of DESAPARECIDOS and HUSTISYA

 

   
   
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PRESS RELEASE:
August 20, 2010
Reference:
Lorena P. Santos, Deputy Secretary General, Desaparecidos
09175415133/ 434 2837
Evangeline Hernandez, Convenor, HUSTISYA
09158562151/ 4342837

Families of victims of human rights violations to P-Noy: How long shall we wait for justice?

On the eve of the 27th Anniversary of the assassination of late Senator Ninoy Aquino, Families of the Disappeared for Justice (Desaparecidos) and Victims of Arroyo United for Justice (Hustisya!) tie a long yellow cloth around Scout Jamboree Circle to signify their continuing search and fight for justice.

As the two groups unveil the yellow cloth, photos of the disappeared and other victims of human rights violations unravel with the long cloth amidst the playing of the song ‘Tie A Yellow. “Like this song by Tony Orlando, we are tying the biggest yellow ribbon to show our missing loved ones that we are still waiting for them to come home,” Lorena P. Santos, deputy Secretary General of Desaparecidos said.

“This is also a reminder to our new government that as he, Pres. Benigno Aquino Jr, commemorates the death of his father, many other Filipinos who fought for democracy were brutally killed by the Arroyo government but are still without justice,” Evangeline Hernandez, Convenor of Hustisya! said.

“The president once said, ‘Ang sinumang nagkamali ay kailangang humarap sa hustisya.’ (Anyone who have done wrong must face justice.) But until when shall we wait for justice?” Santos of Desaparecidos asks. “Our loved ones remain missing and their abductors are still free,” she continues.

“Mid-way through the first one hundred days of President Noynoy’s administration, we are yet to see any concrete steps taken or promised to be taken by this government. We are concerned on how sincere the President is in seeking justice for victims of human rights violations.” Santos says.

The organizations expressed their disapproval on the series of political decisions that P-Noy has made. “First, the President did not mention anywhere in his SONA that he will address the human rights violations done by his predecessor. He goes on by approving the anti-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya’s extension until the end of the year; ignoring the fact that this program has been responsible in the killing of thousands and the disappearance of hundreds of Filipinos under the Arroyo Regime.” Santos declared.

“And to add insult to our injury, he appoints Ms. Etta Rosales as Chairperson to the Commission on Human Rights.” Hernandez added, “With nothing much to show for her track record at the House of Representatives and for her insincere and lack of genuine concern to fellow victims of human rights violations under the Marcos Regime who, until now are still fighting to claim justice and indemnification, how can present victims of human rights violations trust her?” She added.

“As we tie the yellow ribbon with the faces of our loved ones who are victims of the past regime, we are reminding the public that we will not let the sacrifices of our missing or killed loved ones be forgotten. Our quest for justice will continue no matter how long it will take.” Mrs. Hernandez concluded. ###

 

     
           
     
     
     


Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (Society of Ex-Detainees for Liberation against Detention and for Amnesty)
2/F Erythrina Bldg.,No. 1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Street , Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 Telefax 4342837 Email: selda_phil@yahoo.com.ph

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
July 25, 2010
 

It is a travesty of history when one distorts and denies it. It is doubly insulting when the real and historical role of the people and martyrs are diluted and denied to suit one’s self-interest for an appointment for a government position.
 

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), the organization of former political prisoners, would like to re-state and clarify the historical role of the Filipino people in our struggle for justice and indemnification for the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship. It is but incumbent for us to speak especially when we hear and witness the height of distortion of history; when the likes of former Akbayan Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales, an avid aspirant for the top plum at the Commission on Human Rights, and Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros peddle lies such as the claim of Rosales’ alleged leadership role in the struggle for justice and indemnification of the victims of Martial Law.
 

In 1984, those who suffered illegal arrest, torture and detention organized themselves into SELDA to strive for the freedom of those detained and to work for the achievement of justice. SELDA was first established by former political detainees, led by Fidel Agcaoili, with Don Chino Roces as founding chairman and Agcaoili as founding secretary general. Immediately after People Power I, in its desire to show the world the systematic and gross human rights violations unleashed by the dictator on the Filipino people and their courageous struggle to fight it, SELDA filed a class action suit against the Marcoses at the US Federal Court System.

 
At that time, the leaders of SELDA contemplated to institute measures to remind the nation of Marcoses’ crimes against humanity and hold the dictator accountable for such as the Cory government did not file any charges against the dictator. Invoking the Aliens Tort Act with the assistance of American lawyer Atty. Robert Swift, SELDA filed the case against Marcos in the US Federal District Court System on April 7, 1986, which would later be heard at the Federal Court of Hawaii at the sala of Judge Harry Fong as Marcos lived in that state. The case would prosper as MDL-840 (Maximo and Celsa Hilao et al vs. the Estate of Ferdinand Marcos)


The Federal District Court of Hawaii dismissed the case, arguing that Marcos had a privilege of immunity from suits. SELDA appealed the case at the US Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit, which later issued a ruling favoring the Marcos victims reversing the earlier decision of the Hawaii Federal Court. From the time of the filing of the suit up to the time of filing of the claims of members of the class, SELDA, which initiated the suit, did all the work in looking for the named plaintiffs, helping in the depositions, getting the materials for the case, and all necessary work for the lawyers. The organization has consistently been at the forefront of the struggle for justice of and for the Martial law victims even as lawyer Robert Swift, the Ramos administration and some individuals had initiated moves for compromise settlements which aimed to exonerate the Marcoses from any accountability and guilt for their atrocious acts in exchange for money.
 

It was in 1994 when a small group of SELDA and class members formed a breakaway group and formed Claimants 1081, led by Rosales. Rosales and Claimants 1081 had ingratiated themselves to Atty. Swift so that they can form another group which would work for the “early” resolution of the case to obtain money. It was very clear that they established themselves only after the Federal Court issued monetary awards on the case. Through Swift, Rosales and Claimants 1081 sought to collect membership fees and quarterly fees from the victims in utter violation of the Federal Court order which prohibited solicitations from the victims. Further, Rosales, using the reason to obtain “compensation money for the claimants right away” has adhered and agreed with Swift with regard to the various compromise settlements entered into by the American lawyer with the Marcoses, without consulting the victims, and even without a final, executory Court ruling.
 

Thus, with Rosales’ record and her subsequent distortion of history, we are raising serious questions and objections to Ms. Rosales’ rumored appointment to the Chairperson position of the Commission on Human Rights. As victims of human rights violations during Martial Law, we demand a transparent and democratic process of selection of public officials at the CHR, where we can actively participate in and where we can look at the integrity and sense of historical delicadeza as among other standards for good and democratic governance, of those who are being considered for the position.

(sgd) Marie Hilao Enriquez
Secretary General, SELDA
(Parents and sibling are among the named plaintiffs in the Marcos class action suit in Hawaii)
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

xKARAPATAN-CENTRAL VISAYAS
Door 2-Annex bldg., UCCP-CENDET Compound.
#85 osmena blvd., cebu city 6000 philippines

PRESS STATEMENT -- 10 July 2010
Reference: Dennis Abarrientos, Secretay-General
Contact Nos.: (+63 32) 255-5549

JUSTICE NOW!

It has been two weeks since the brutal murder of peasant activist Fernando Bejino in Siaton, Negros Oriental, but until now, no action has been taken by authorities to zero in on the murderers. After almost two weeks, no assistance and relief has been extended to his bereaved family by any government agency.

Fernando Bejino, 45, was an active member of the Casalaan Farmers Association and an ardent oppositionist to the operation and planned expansion of the environmentally-destructive and economically-disruptive jathropa plantation in their locality. For this, he and his group earned the ire of members of the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) who guard the plantation and arm local thugs in harassing activists. He has been warned by 79th IB troops and their vigilantes to “surrender” and stop criticizing government programs, particularly the bio-fuel project in the Tamlang Valley, Negros Oriental.

On 27, June, 2010, 1PM, as P.Noy was busy sorting out his attire for his inauguration, Bejino was brutally murdered inside a passenger jeep. He was on his way home, with his wife and his mother, when a fellow passenger with a military physique, disembarked near a jathropa processing plant, pulled out a pistol, aimed this at the passengers and ordered that those who are not “involved” should leave. As if on cue, another passenger who was seating right across Bejino, pulled out his own pistol and shot Bejino pointblank.

Bejino died on the spot. He sustained five gunshot wounds from a .45-cal. pistol.

Two weeks before the incident, KARAPATAN member Benjamin Bayles, 49, was peppered with 15 gunshot wounds from same kind of pistol by two soldiers of the 61st IB in Himamaylan, Negros Occidental. The local police arrested the suspects and identified them as Roger M. Bahon and Ronnie L. Caurino, who both confessed to being “organic” members of the 61st IB. The following day, however, the police retracted its statement.

Indeed, these acts have not ended with the formal lifting of martial law. An undeclared military rule continues to hang over the country with the unabated killings and enforced disappearances of activists, human rights defenders and media practitioners.

As we condemn these acts, let’s do our share in working for justice. We could start by urging P.Noy to send direct assistance to the victims, and to suspend military commanders in whose areas of responsibility these atrocities were committed.ÿ

for Human Rights updates in Central Visayas, visit: http://hrdefenders.wordpress.com/

--

Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.

--
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights

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▼  Some of the hundreds of desaparecidos  
     
           

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE – 16 August 2010
Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson
Mobile No. 0917-561-6800

On the AFP Extension of Oplan Bantay Laya II
“Not in the name of human rights, not one day more!” – Karapatan

The human rights alliance Karapatan assailed the extension of Oplan Bantay Laya II announced by Armed Forces Chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo David last Sunday.
 

Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao Enriquez scored the AFP for claiming that they would “emphasize the respect and upholding of human rights,” for it is one of the thrusts of President Benigno Aquino III. “This is the height of deception and distortion by the AFP and the President to lull the people into accepting this abominable counter-insurgency strategy which was already found by both local and international bodies to be one of the reasons for the series of killings and enforced disappearances committed against activists and critics of the US-Arroyo regime. It is now becoming clear that this Aquino II regime is nothing but a continuation of its predecessor in terms of human rights,’’ Enriquez declares.
 

The Aquino II administration must stop deceiving the people. “Not in the name of human rights,” Enriquez said. “The bloody record of Oplan Bantay Laya has shown the AFP’s total disregard for human rights. Its mercenary tradition has shown not even a modicum of respect but rather total contempt of human rights,” she added.
 

“This is proven in the series of cruel military operations now being undertaken in the hinterlands of Negros island province, Samar, the Bicol provinces, Davao and Compostela Valley and other parts of the land wreaking havoc on the lives of poor farmers’ communities and rendering them more vulnerable to human rights violations. Extending Oplan Bantay Laya means extending massive militarization campaigns and displacement of entire communities at the mercy of the military, paramilitary and armies of poltical warlords and big business interests,” Enriquez stated.
 

“If President Aquino really wants peace based on justice, he should address the fundamental causes of the armed conflicts rooted in the system dominated by the US and local ruling elite of big landlords and businessmen. He can start with the land distribution of the Hacienda Luisita,” Enriquez further explained.
 

“The ultimate solution to the armed conflict is on socio-economic reforms and social justice,” KARAPATAN asserts as it holds its National Council meeting and assess the damage done by the Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program that victimized thousands of activists during the US-Arroyo regime. ###
 

 

           
     
     
     

 

URGENT APPEAL!URGENT APPEAL!
Peasant activist shot dead in Siaton, Negros Oriental, Philippines

We are gravely concerned over the continued inaction of government authorities in Negros Oriental over the execution of a peasant activist in Siaton town of the said province on 27 June, 2010.

In a preliminary investigation launched by KARAPATAN, it was found out that the police still has to take action on the case in spite of a complaint earlier filed at the municipal police station. No relief has also been extended to the bereaved family by any government agency.

THE INCIDENT: SUMMARY EXECUTION

VICTIM : Fernando Bejino, 45, married, of So.Casayan, Brgy. Casalaan, Siaton, Negros Oriental; active member of Casayan Farmers Association and most vocal oppositionist to the operation and planned expansion of a jathropa plantation, which is being guarded by soldiers of the 79th Infantry Battalion-302nd IBrigade of the Philippine Army and vigilantes

SUSPECTED
PERPETRATORS: agents of the 79th Infantry Battalion-302nd Infantry Brigade

MOTIVE : to silence local opposition to the operation and planned expansion of a jathropa plantation

PLACE : the junction of Lamtoc, Casalaan, near the jathropa processing plant

DATE : 27 June 2010

ACCOUNTS : At around 1PM of 27 June 2010, the victim, along with his wife and mother, took a ride aboard a passenger “Canter” jeep on their way home from Poblacion, Siaton.

Thirty minutes later, upon reaching the junction of Lamtoc and Casalaan, near the jathropa processing plant that 79th IB soldiers guarded, a man with his cap on disembarked. The man then pulled out a pistol and ordered the passengers to “pahawa ang way labot!” (Leave, those who are not involved!) At that point, the triggerman, who was sitting just across the victim, aimed his own pistol at the victim and fired pointblank.

The victim sustained five gunshot wounds at the neck and collarbone from a .45-caliber pistol. He died on the spot.

The two assailants vanished in the commotion, which curiously did not attract response from soldiers stationed at the nearby plant.

Prior to his death, the victim was harassed by the vigilantes created by the military assigned in the detachment inside the jathropa processing plant. He was pressured to admit his alleged involvement with the underground movement and to surrender to “clear his name” and “earn money.” He was visited in his house right after the UDHR commemoration rally on December 10, 2009.

RESPONSE NEEDED
 

For a start, please send notices of concern demanding that the Philippine government 1) ensure an impartial investigation on the extra-judicial killing of Fernando Bejino; 2) demilitarize the area pending investigation and disarm military-backed vigilantes and goons; 3) extend protection and assistance to the family of the Fernando Bejino; and, 4) review the government's counter-insurgency program as per recommendation of UN rapporteur Philip Alston. Please send to the following:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail:

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
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
E-Mail Address: osec@opapp.gov.ph

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
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. Leila De Lima
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


Officer-In-Charge Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing
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: coco.chrp@gmail.com,

Hon. Navanethem Pillay
UN High Commisssioner of Human Rights
OHCHR address:
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 917 90 00
Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org

Hon. Agustin Perdices
Office of the Governor
Province of Negros Oriental
Tel.No.: (035)225-2848
Fax.No.:(035)225-4835
Email: ec.macias@negor.gov.ph

Hon.George P. Arnaiz
Representative, Second District
Provincial Capitol, Dumaguete City,
Negros Oriental 6200
Tel.No.: (035)225-2848
Fax.No.:(035)225-4835

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     
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PRESS RELEASE
July 6, 2010
Reference: Roy Morilla, KMP Public Information Officer (0907-418-0098)
 

Aquino mute and deaf on extra-judicial killings against militants

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights) condemned the first case of extra-judicial killing (EJK) under the Aquino government, victimizing Lezo town councilor Fernando Baldomero, Bayan Muna and Makabayan coalition provincial coordinator of Aklan. Baldomero is also a member of SELDA (ex-martial law detainees group) and the municipal coordinator of Liberal Party. He was killed morning of July 5 in Bgy. Sta. Cruz Bigaa, said town by 2 motor-cycle riding men believed to be military agents.

“This is the very reason we set-up our 100-day camp-out, to call for genuine land reform and justice for victims of human rights abuses under the Arroyo government. But Aquino is mute and deaf as he continues to ignore us, worse, we were violently dispersed and killings continue until now,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka co-convenor.

“Ka Fernando fought for genuine land reform, justice and democracy since Marcos’ times, a defender of peasant rights, thus, he was targeted by fascist forces of the state and was not spared though he was a member of Aquino’s Liberal Party,” Flores added.

KMP with Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK, KMP Southern Tagalog) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL, KMP Central Luzon) have set-up their 100-day camp-out at Mendiola last June 30 to push President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to implement genuine land reform and serve justice for victims of human rights abuses. But after 3 days, July 3 about 3:30pm, more than 200 elements of Manila police violently dispersed the farmers and demolished their make-shift shelters. The incident resulted into 11 wounded and 42 farmers and supporters arrested. The groups file complaints at the Commission on Human Rights yesterday morning. They are now staying at the compound of Caritas Manila near Nagtahan.

Tanggol Magsasaka said that KMP has the most number of member-victims of EJK by the Arroyo government reaching to 561 of the 1,190 victims documented by Karapatan human rights group. The group said that EJK victimized 119 KMP leaders including Eddie Gumanoy of KASAMA-TK (KMP Southern Tagalog), Renato Pacaide of KMP Far Southern Mindanao Region, Arthur Orpilla and Dionisio Battad of DANGGAYAN – CV (KMP Cagayan Valley), Marcelino Beltran of AMT (KMP Tarlac), Fermin Lorico of KAUGMAON (KMP Negros Oriental), Celso Pojas of FADC (KMP Davao City) and more. In addition, there are 129 peasants and organizers who were victimized by enforced disappearances including Nilo Arado of PAMANGGAS – Panay and Jonas Burgos of AMB (KMP Bulacan).

KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka said that Aquino is inclined to implement the same or worse oppressive measure as Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), the counter-insurgency program of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“During the campaign period, he disapproved of disarming the CAFGUs and para-military groups, issued statements exclusive on media killings prior his inaugural and attended military rites where AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo David imposed a deadline of 3 years to end insurgency, to add, there were no release of political prisoners, no signs of resumption of peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the government,” Flores said.

The groups said Aquino kept quiet on the killings of activists, thus, sending no deterrent on the perpetrators. They added that Aquino has done nothing so far to put down the culture of impunity in the country.

“The Aquino government with all its machinery and influence is helpless of stopping the killings. The mere inaction of Aquino is the very promotion of killings in the country,” said Flores.

“The Aquino government is hopeless this early and it is clear that change could only be from the people struggling for democratic rights and fundamental reforms. We now declare Aquino and Arroyo are synonymous, we expect nothing from him but more killings, more human rights abuses, more terror and fascism. We call on all sectors to rise up against the oppression as the Aquino government is pathetic to protect and promote our basic rights,” Flores called. #
 

     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
2 July 2010

KMU condemns murder of another labor leader, presses Aquino to probe AFP’s hand
Workers wary of Aquino’s full support for military

Militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed the murder of another labor leader in Negros Occidental by alleged members of the Philippine Army, calling it as ex-President Gloria Arroyo’s “bloody parting shot on government critics” and as added pressure for the Aquino administration to look into the role of military on countless cases of political killings.

Sugar worker Benjamin “Benjie” Bayles was with his friend waiting for public transport in Sitio Antipolo, Brgy. Buenavista at around 4:30 pm on June 14 when two motorcycle-riding men stopped in front of him and shot him with a .45 caliber pistol. Bayles, an organizer of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), actively took part in the struggle for genuine land reform.

KMU said army soldiers belonging to the 61st Infantry Batallion (61st IB) who are encamped at the barangay center in Brgy. Buenavista, had been asking the whereabouts and other related information about Bayles.

Bayles is the 11th NFSW member killed since 2001 and the second labor leader murdered after the May 10 elections. Last June 3, union president Edward Panganiban was killed in Sta. Rosa, Laguna by alleged members of the military. Since 2001, 98 labor leaders and organizers have been killed.

“Bayles’s murder, along with the murder of thousands more, should put more pressure on President Noynoy Aquino to be tougher on his promise to prosecute Arroyo and the perpetrators of these atrocities. This should also push him to junk his predecessor’s counterinsurgency plan of the military that spawned extra-judicial killings, abductions and other forms of gross human rights violations,” KMU executive vice chairman Joselito “Lito” Ustarez said.

Full support for AFP?

KMU issued this statement as Aquino formally welcomed today new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Ricardo David Jr. The group said workers are wary of Aquino’s full support of the military in light of AFP’s record of brutally suppressing unarmed civilians.

“President Aquino’s failure to mention his plans on Arroyo’s counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2, makes workers and people cautious of his avowed full support of the military. Will he continue Arroyo’s killing spree? Will he lay down a new security plan directed against government critics and vocal opposition to US-dictated policies? The people are waiting for Aquino’s answers to these questions,” Labog said.

KMU said AFP Chief of Staff David’s vow to keep the military a “responsible institution subservient to the civilian community” will remain a lie unless the military’s hand on extrajudicial killings will be investigated. The group also noted that David, former Northern Luzon Command (NolCom) chief, has responsibility with the persistent militarization and harassment of farmers in the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

“David’s stint as NolCom chief constrasts his pronouncements on civilian supremacy. For the longest time, NolCom has kept Luisita highly militarized and dangerous to those vocal against the abusive schemes by the Cojuangco-Aquino family,” Ustarez said.

KMU also cited the findings of international bodies indicting the previous regime and the military on the bloody campaign against activists, including the initial report of the International Labor Organization last year.

Reference: Joselito “Lito” Ustarez, KMU executive vice chairman, 0908-6491992
 

     
           
     
     
     

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Negros Farm Worker Murdered. Victims of EJK from NSFW now 11.

Negros Occidental -- Another labor leader, Benjamin Bayker, 44, was murdered last June 14, 2010 by alleged members of 61st Infantry Batallion Philippines Army.

At around 4:30 pm, Bayles was with his friend waiting for public transport near the waiting shed in Sitio Antolo Bgy. Buenavista when a couple of unidentified men riding a Honda motorcycle stopped in front of the victim and using a .45 caliber pistol shot Bayles, the other man driving the vehicle also fixed shots at the victim.

On April 2010, Army soldiers belonging to the 11th IBPA encamped at the barangay center of Bgy. Buenavista. Witnesses say that since the last week of April, army soldiers had been asking the whereabouts and other pertinent information about Bayles.

Fighting for Land, Survival and Human Rights

Bayles, also known as Ka Benjie, became an organizer of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) beginning 2002. He took part in the long and arduous struggle for land and survival of the peasants and farm workers of Himamaylan City in Negros. Bayles is also an active human rights defender and facilitates campaigns of Karapatan Negros. He is also the treasurer of a local chapter of Bayan Muna.

The NFSW is an organization of farm workers established in 1971 to counter the many “yellow” farm organizations and create a force that will genuinely forward the interests of the toiling class.

Negros Peasant-Worker Leaders Under Attack

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) Executive Director Daisy Arago points out that Baylen’s assassination demonstrate the relentless attack on Negros peasant and labor leaders as well as the entire movement in Negros pushing for genuine agrarian reform and social justice.

Baylen is the 11th NFSW who became victim of extrajudicial killings since 2001. “Clearly there is a an overt campaign against organizations and sectors that uphold and fight true land reform,” Arago expressed.

Other than the killings, NFSW members also faced a slew of criminal charges. More than 300 criminal cases were filed against NFSW members while 83 warrants of arrests have been issued against the farm workers that came from various haciendas.

“This criminalization of Negros [farm] workers,” Arago added, “is also part of the large scheme of deterring people’s organizations who has legitimate demands from the government and the landowners. It is still part of the legal offensives against purported communists and the notorious anti-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya or OBL.”

“But what must be clearly understood is that victims [of EJKs and criminalization] are not mere political activists in the sense that they adhere to certain political or ideoligical beliefs. Organizations such as NFSW fight for their right to own and till the land. Land dispute and economic injustice is the fundamental issue here. And this should not be addressed by the government not by annihilating the people who seek to live decently but by providing the needed reforms to end social injustice,” Arago furthers.

Poverty and Struggle

Negros is an island known for it vast lands dominated mostly sugar-producing haciendas whose history dates back in the era of Spaniards colonization. To date, the island despite its rich and fertile land is considered one of the poorest in the Philippines. Extreme poverty and high incidents of malnutritution is largely attribute to the sacada system of farming. The average family income is of P73 923 per annum (2000 data). Even the urban centers such as Bacolod City face the problem of ballooning informal settlers and unemployment. About 70% of the population are either unemployed or have no stable jobs.

Farm workers from NFSW however have learned to struggle their way to survive and resist continued oppression. They launched the land cultivation campaign wherein farmers tilled the land which were supposedly subjected to land distribution. Hacienderos continue to question the decision to distribute the land and in past prevent the farmers from planting crops in contested areas. In order to deter the farmers from their successful land cultivation campaign, they slapped the peasants mostly from NSFW with the trumped-up criminal cases.#

Reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director CTUHR, 0910.380.1897
 

     
     
 
           
     
▼  Some of those who died in connection with the Hacienda Luisita dispute  
     
     
     

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Negros Farm Worker Murdered. Victims of EJK from NSFW now 11.

Negros Occidental -- Another labor leader, Benjamin Bayker, 44, was murdered last June 14, 2010 by alleged members of 61st Infantry Batallion Philippines Army.

At around 4:30 pm, Bayles was with his friend waiting for public transport near the waiting shed in Sitio Antolo Bgy. Buenavista when a couple of unidentified men riding a Honda motorcycle stopped in front of the victim and using a .45 caliber pistol shot Bayles, the other man driving the vehicle also fixed shots at the victim.

On April 2010, Army soldiers belonging to the 11th IBPA encamped at the barangay center of Bgy. Buenavista. Witnesses say that since the last week of April, army soldiers had been asking the whereabouts and other pertinent information about Bayles.

Fighting for Land and Survival

Bayles, also known as Benjie, became an organizer of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) beginning 2002. He took part in the long and arduous struggle for land and survival of the peasants and farm workers of Himamaylan City in Negros. Bayles is also an active human rights defender and facilitates campaigns of Karapatan Negros. He is also the treasurer of a local chapter of Bayan Muna.

The NFSW is an organization of farm workers established in 1971 to counter the many “yellow” farm organizations and create a force that will genuinely forward the interests of the toiling class.

Negros Peasant-Worker Leaders Under Attack

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) Executive Director Daisy Arago points out that Baylen’s assassination demonstrate the relentless attack on Negros peasant and labor leaders as well as the entire movement in Negros pushing for genuine agrarian reform and social justice.

Baylen is the 11th NFSW who became victim of extrajudicial killings since 2001. “Clearly there is a an overt campaign against organizations and sectors that uphold and fight true land reform,” Arago expressed.

Other than the killings, NFSW members also faced a slew of criminal charges. More than 300 criminal cases were filed against NFSW members while 83 warrants of arrests have been issued against the farm workers that came from various haciendas.

“This criminalization of Negros [farm] workers,” Arago added, “is also part of the large scheme of deterring people’s organizations who has legitimate demands from the government and the landowners. It is still part of the legal offensives against purported communists and the notorious anti-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya or OBL.”

“But what must be clearly understood is that victims [of EJKs and criminalization] are not mere political activists in the sense that they adhere to certain political or ideoligical beliefs. Organizations such as NFSW fight for their right to own and till the land. Land dispute and economic injustice is the fundamental issue here. And this should not be addressed by the government not by annihilating the people who seek to live decently but by providing the needed reforms to end social injustice,” Arago furthers.

Poverty and Struggle

Negros is an island known for it vast lands dominated mostly sugar-producing haciendas whose history dates back in the era of Spaniards colonization. To date, the island despite its rich and fertile land is considered one of the poorest in the Philippines. Extreme poverty and high incidents of malnutritution is largely attribute to the sacada system of farming. The average family income is of P73 923 per annum (2000 data). Even the urban centers such as Bacolod City face the problem of ballooning informal settlers and unemployment. About 70% of the population are either unemployed or have no stable jobs.

Farm workers from NFSW however have learned to struggle their way to survive and resist continued oppression. They launched the land cultivation campaign wherein farmers tilled the land which were supposedly subjected to land distribution. Hacienderos continue to question the decision to distribute the land and in past prevent the farmers from planting crops in contested areas. In order to deter the farmers from their successful land cultivation campaign, they slapped the peasants mostly from NSFW with the trumped-up criminal cases.#

Reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director CTUHR, 0910.380.1897

     
           
           

 

KARAPATAN-Davao del Sur
karapatandds@yahoo.com.ph

Press Statement
July 30, 2010

Where is my Husband?

Last July 01, 2010 Mr. Beño O. Caray member of LUMAKAS, and indigenous people’s organization, walking for about 4 hours going to Sitio Maligui, Barangay Little Baguio, Malita, Davao del Sur carrying his product abaca to sell and grab the opportunity for high price as compared to Sarangani Province. When he come back to his way home accompanied 4 others approaching to Sitio Lagumit, Upper Suyan, Sarangani Province they met the 39th Infantry Battalion along the way but unfortunately only Beño was illegally arrested and hit in different parts of his body.

Until at present, almost a month or 29 days after the enforced disappearance, the families are anxious as to where is the innocent indigenous people farmer, beloved husband and good father. The wife of Beño O. Caray are very much affected of the incident since he has 4 children waiting for him, if doesn’t surface, how they live without Beño. The 4 children could not help his wife because the eldest is only 4 years old.

Meanwhile, the unparalleled as it covertly targeted leaders and members of legal, democratic organizations, including those from the media and the political opposition as well as ordinary, unarmed civilians labeled as “NPA sympathizers” for “neutralization” in its counter-insurgency military operations . As the government rushed to achieve its self-imposed deadline to defeat the CPP-NPA, those branded by the AFP as "enemies of the state," whether combatants or non-combatants are "neutralized" through physical elimination. These attacks continue with impunity. Victims and their relatives are denied justice. And Beño is in line with series of victims it should be stop by the new administration of President Noynoy Aquino and prosecute the perpetrators.

Right now, the family is appealing to the 39th Infantry Battalion to immediately surface him since he is innocent civilian, to the church people, media, local government units, human rights advocates and concerned individuals to help them locate their family member and assist them to achieve justice.

Reference:
Karapatan-Davao del Sur

 

           
     

GMANews.TV NATION: Families of human rights victims tie a yellow ribbon for justice http://bit.ly/b2tEj9

----------------

newsinfo.inquirer.net

MANILA, PhilippinesTo remember their disappeared loved ones, relatives of missing human rights victims tied a long yellow ribbon at a monument in Quezon City Friday morning, taking a cue from the famous song.

 

 

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