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‘Shooting of female guerrilla fighter in vagina proves Duterte’s anti-women remarks not joke, sarcasm’

“The military proves that Duterte’s ‘shoot the vagina’ remark is a brutal war policy.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Not too long ago, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the shooting of female armed guerrilla fighters in their vaginas to render them “useless.” He later defended his remark – one of the many he issued against women – as mere sarcasm.

Not anymore.

Last week, Gabriela Women’s Party deplored the desecration of the remains of an alleged New People’s Army female fighter Cindy Tirado, whose remains were found to be desecrated as her genitals appeared to be shattered by a bullet.

Tirado was among those killed in an alleged military operation led by the 71st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army on April 15 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Apart from her genitals being shot, the women’s group also noted that her arms were fractured, indicating possible torture.

Tirado’s grieving mother Emma, in an interview with a national daily, noted that her daughter was most probably captured alive and tortured before she was killed.

Rape incidents on the rise

Apart from the “shoot in the vagina” remark, Duterte has not been sitting well among many women’s group due to what they said are anti-women pronouncements.

He has repeatedly “joked” at the expense of women or on the issue of rape.

Such pronouncements, critics said, contribute to the poor regards for women and their rights in the country.

In a report earlier this year, the Center for Women’s Resources said there were 2,962 cases of rape or about 20 incidents per day from January to May 2018 alone.

Among the cities with the highest number of rape incidents in 2018 were Quezon City, Manila, and Davao.

There are also 59 cops implicated in the cases of violence against women from July 2016 to December 2018, the CWR report added.

Independent probe sought

Meanwhile, Gabriela Women’s Party called for an independent probe, saying that this constitutes a war crime and violation of international humanitarian law, adding that those involved must be probed over its apparent excessive use of force and possible sexual violence.

The military, the group added, “proves that Duterte’s ‘shoot the vagina’ remark is a brutal war policy.” #

AFP and PNP lying; Red fighters only use command-detonated explosives—CPDF

By Joseph Gregorio

The Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF) accused the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of lying when they alleged the New People’s Army (NPA) used an unmanned improvised explosive device (IED) in their April 2 clash that killed a policeman and wounded nine others at Cabunagan, Poblacion, Tadian, Mountain Province.

“Accustomed to releasing fake news, it is not farfetched for these spinmasters to concoct a preposterous story to downgrade their defeat. They simply cannot accept that even with their superior manpower and weaponry, they are still defeated by the NPA,” CPDF Spokes person Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan said.

Naogsan said the AFP and the PNP vainly conjured a scenario to accuse the NPA of violating the Ottawa Treaty on the employment of unmanned IED that explodes when subjected to pressure or extreme heat.

“The NPA has long adhered to the Ottawa Treaty through banning the use of landmines in its operations and has been employing command-detonated explosives instead,” Naogsan said.

“The AFP and the PNP further show their ignorance as they do not know how to differentiate a command-detonated explosive from an unmanned landmine,” he added.

Government forces, through statements and social media posts, alleged the NPA used unmanned IEDs and landmines in their clash last Tuesday, their third fire fight with the communist guerrillas within a week.

“International humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions have outlawed the use of landmines in warfare because of the risk of civilian casualties or collateral damage,” Police Regional office Cordillera (PROCor) Chief PBGen Israel Ephraim Dickson said.

But Leonardo Pacsi Command-NPA-Mountain Province spokesperson Magno Udyaw said their troops only used a command detonated device, exploded by an operator upon the order of the unit commander when government soldiers have entered the designated killing zone.

Udyaw clarified that there was no forest fire on the blast site at the time of the clash, adding they are not stupid to start a forest fire that can limit their combat manoeuvres. #

Tugon sa pamanang hamon

Alay kay Maya Daniel ng Antique 7

 

“we stand undaunted/to dark clouds/we fight and we get up/to see our bright day!”—Verse, Maya Daniel

 

Namamatay ang daigdig

Tuwing may pulang makatang pumapanaw

Tumitigil sa pag-inog, ang mundo’y

Hindi humihinga sansaglit.

 

Hindi dumadaloy ang mga ilog

Ang hangi’y hindi umiihip

Ang ulap ay ayaw lumipad

Ang dagat ay hindi dumadaluyong

Walang tumutubo sa lupa

Ang buhangin ay nalulusaw

Walang bulkang sumasabog

Ang mga bato’y nadudurog.

 

Samahan natin silang humimlay panandalian.

At sa gitna ng ating dalamhati…

 

Ating handugan ng awit ang martir

Bayaning aalayan ng bulaklak at berso

Pagpupugayan ng mga talumpati

At palakpakan ng mahaba’t masigabo.

Gawing balada ang pamanang sulatin

Ipatupad ang kanyang habilin

Sa paraang ito natin muling buhayin

Ang damdaming lugmok sa pighati.

 

‘Matapang na tumindig sa unos

Bangon! Lumaban! upang masilayan ang ating bukas.’

 

At tayong naiwan ay tutugon

Matapang na haharapin ang hamon

Atin muling painugin ang daigdig

Ipagpapatuloy ang rebolusyon.

 

                                                 –9:36 n.g.

                                                   16 Agosto 2018

                                                   Lungsod Quezon

Sagada peasants fear red-tagging by military

By Jeoffrey Mhar Larua

SAGADA, Mountain Province – Peasants in the northern villages of Aguid, Pide, and Fidelisan here worry as elements of the 54th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army started listing individuals they allege to be members or supporters of the revolutionary New Peoples Army (NPA).

A Barangay Pide councilor who asked not to be identified told a fact-finding mission team August 9 that soldiers are making rounds in the villages with a list of names and ordering those in it to “clear their names” to their commanding officer.

The village official said that the list has nine names from the three northern villages.

“We are not sure who else is in that list,” the councilor said. “It bothers us that there’s a list that might risk our lives,” he said, adding that one elder from Pide is among those listed.

According to earlier reports, six soldiers went to Fidelisan village last August 1 and told barangay officials that three of their constituents are in the said list and must prove themselves innocent in nearby Aguid Elementary School where they set up camp.

The soldiers were led by 2Lt Keith Gabriel Paquibot of the 54th IBPA.

Fidelisan officials and elders called for an emergency meeting with their constituents August 3 to caution them about the said list.

“They warned the umili (community) not to open their doors to outsiders at nighttime and not to come alone when invited by the military,” said one Fidelisan resident.

Fidelisan officials recalled that the military often come uninvited to community meetings, taking notes and pictures of proceedings. The last incident, they said, was on June 25.

54th IBPA soldiers present in a community meeting in Sagada. (Photo by Jeoffrey Mhar Larua)

‘Disrespect of culture’

Meanwhile, officials from the three barangays decried the “peace rally” organized by the 54th IBPA troops in Aguid Elementary School while burial and a wedding ceremonies, deemed sacred event by the community, were being held.

“What they did was an insult to the sacred culture of Igorots,” said one Aguid official adding that the troops even took advantage of the food served during the wedding.

The soldiers, they said, refused to postpone the rally because their “boss” will be coming from Manila to observe.

Since early June, 54th IBPA troops have been observed by the community as using the Aguid school’s old buildings as their quarters. #

NUJP slams Army unit, LGU

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned a military unit that tried to prevent Davao City-based journalists from covering the evacuation of about 2,000 Lumad evacuees in Lianga, Surigao del Sur Monday, July 16.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the NUJP said it strongly condemns the 4th Civic Military Operation (4th CMO) Battalion of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that stopped the vehicle carrying five journalists from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Radyo ni Juan Network, Kilab Multimedia, The Breakaway Media and Davao Today at about 11 o’clock Monday at Kilometer 3, Sitio Neptune in Diatagon, Lianga.

A Major Jerson Igloria, battalion ground commander manning the checkpoint, told the reporters not to proceed to where the evacuees were gathered and was heard asking, “Sino yang nasa loob ng sasakyan? Mga illegal yan? ‘Di lumabas.” (Who are those inside the vehicles? Are they illegal? Why are they not alighting?)

Inquirer correspondent Barry Dacanay then alighted and tried to go near the approaching evacuees but was stopped by Igloria who told him, Sir, doon ka lang. Respetohay lang ta.” (Sir, just stay away. Let us respect each other.)

The Army officer then ordered the journalists to first secure a permit from the Lianga Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD) Office before they would be allowed to cover the evacuation.

“Hintayin niyo yung MSWD kung papayagan kayo,” Maj. Igloria told them, claiming the place was an “ambush area” and therefore dangerous. (Just wait for the MSWD if it would allow you.)

A 4th CMO trooper interrogates a journalist at a checkpoint in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. (The Breakaway Media photo)

The journalists sought permission from the Lianga MSWD but were refused without explanation.

Asked later by local reporters about their refusal, Lianga MSWD officer Melita Encenzo denied forbidding the Davao journalists from proceeding to where the evacuees were.

“They just need to seek permission from the MSWDO or the barangays officials, just so we know who visits our area of responbility,” Encenzo reportedly said.

The journalists nevertheless managed to take photos and videos as well as conduct interviews when the evacuees reached the national highway.

The NUJP however said that both the military and the MSWD had no right in trying to prevent the Davao journalists from covering the Lumad evacuation.

“We stress that, in the absence of clear and present danger, neither the Army, MSWD, or any government agency has the authority to prevent any Filipino citizen from enjoying the freedom to travel and, in this case, stop journalists from covering what is clearly an event of utmost public interest and concern,” NUJP said.

The group said that even if it was dangerous, it is precisely the military’s mandate to protect civilians such as the journalists and the evacuees they were covering.

It also scored the MSWD for trying to prevent coverage of the evacuees’ plight and depriving them of assistance by withholding information that could help solicit more aid for the Lumad.

“Martial law [in Mindanao] does not justify the arbitrary restriction on coverage of the Lumad evacuation, unless, of course, we have ceased to be a democracy. What happened was a clearly unconstitutional violation of press freedom and, more importantly, of the people’s right to know,” the NUJP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Lumad schools face harassments as new school year opens

Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) in Talangingod, Davao del Norte said at least five of their campuses have either been occupied or are being harassed by government as the new school year opened today.

“Military troops have occupied our schools and conducted roving operations that hamper our members’ [work for] the start of our preparation since early last week,” Lumad school teacher Joan Esperancilla in a statement said.

At STTICLC’s Tibucag campus in Barangay Dagohoy, about 20 soldiers of the Army’s 51st Infantry Battalion camped inside the school since May 29.

In Sitio KM 30, Barangay Dagohoy, about 25 soldiers in full battle gear had been conducting patrols around the STTICLC school while occupying six houses in the community, Lumad teachers reported.

In Sitio KM 17 also in Barangay Dagohoy, about 23 soldiers camped at the Lumad school but eventually left when confronted by the teacher.

In Sitio Laslasakan, Barangay Palma Gil, more than 40 soldiers had set camp inside the Lumad school campus.

On June 3 in Sitio Nasilaban, also in Barangay Palma Gil, armed soldiers entered the campus and interrupted the students and teachers cleaning the school and asked for the whereabouts of other teachers.

Throughout the week, soldiers put up checkpoints along roads going to the communities targeting Lumad school teachers, STTICLC said.

During the Sitio Nasilaban school’s flag ceremony Monday morning, students noticed a flying machine they suspect is a military drone hovering above them.

Soldiers then arrived and ordered the students to harvest vegetables and bring the produce directly to the nearby military camp, STTILCI said.

STTILCI said the incidents have affected 241 students and 11 teachers in five campuses.

“STTILCI condemns the intimidation of the military and paramilitary forces against our teachers, students and community members in Talaingod, Davao del Norte at the opening of this school year,” the group said.

AFP soldiers occupying a Lumad school. (SOS photo)

New school year, old problems

The Save our Schools (SOS) Network said it is not only the Lumad Schools in Talaingod that face the same old problems.

At the “Bakwit School” in Haran, Davao City, Lumad students from Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte started another school year away from their community.

Lumad schoolteacher Ricky Balilid said they had been teaching the students at the evacuation center since 2015 as the threats from the paramilitary Alamara continue to hound them.

“The Alamara have looked at our school with suspicion that this is a New People’s Army school. And they have intimidated teachers, parents and even students from attending this school,” Balilid said.

Many Lumad schools set up and ran by religious groups or non-government organizations all over Mindanao suffer the same situation, SOS said.

In all, 56 schools have been forcibly closed and 18 others destroyed last school year from military and paramilitary attacks, forcing 2,000 children to stop their schooling.

There had also been 2,300 students and teachers harassed by the paramilitary and soldiers, including incidents of being forced to be included in the fake list of NPA surrenderees, the group said.

“It is sad that, while Lumad schools are helping the government and Department of Education (DepEd) in providing education opportunities for the Lumad children, they are not getting help. Instead, they are getting attacked for helping the Lumads,” SOS spokesperson Rius Valle said.

The SOS said Lumad schools have been partners with the DepEd in implementing Indigenous People’s Education Program (IPED) for the past years.

This is proof that Lumad schools are legitimate and carry DepEd programs that serve to combat illiteracy, Valle said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

GRP forces take ‘hors de combat’ from hospital ICU

[UPDATED] The Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested a badly-injured New People’s Army (NPA) leader from the intensive care unit (ICU) of a local hospital despite protests from paralegals and human rights workers.

In an urgent alert, human rights groups Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region and the Exodus for Justice and Peace said a combined force of PNP officers and military intelligence agents in civilian clothing have taken NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Company leader Elizalde Cañete to the Don Carlos Police Station at about 8:30 Monday evening.

“Zaldy Cañete, an hors de combat, who suffered traumatic head injury and presently recuperating at Don Carlos Doctors Hospital (DCDH) was taken by military and police elements around 6:48 tonight,” Karapatan-SMR’s alert said.

“PO3 Rico Manuel along with several military intelligence and police elements appeared and served an outdated warrant of arrest [against Cañete],” Karapatan added.

Cañete, identified by President Rodrigo Duterte himself as the successor of famed Southern Mindanao NPA leader Leoncio “Kumander Parago” Pitao, was injured in a battallion-sized military operation in Kitaotao, Bukidnon Province last month.

He suffered a bullet wound to the head that needed an 11-hour brain surgery and was still at the hospital’s ICU at the time of his arrest.

Cañete is reported to be suffering from memory loss and loss of speech resulting from his injuries.

“We contest this arrest, as Cañete is an hors de combat, a wounded combatant that should be tended first for his critical medical condition as stipulated under the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) signed by the government and the NDF (National Democratic Front of the Philippines),” the EJP for its part said.

The EJP is a Church-based peace advocacy group that regularly serves as third party facilitator to the release of NPA prisoners of war.

Photos released by Karapatan SMR showed an obviously weak Cañete on a wheelchair surrounded by police officers in full battle gear inside the hospital.

Canete inside the Don Carlos (Bukidnon) jail facility. (Karapatan-SMR photo)

The group later posted photos of Cañete inside a jail facility and said he has been complaining of head pains since last night.

No doctor or health professional has been asked to check on Cañete’s condition since his arrest, Karaparan-SMR added,

Karapatan-SMR secretary general Jay Apiag said the PNP in Don Carlos along with the military under the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Battalion must be held liable should something untoward happen to Cañete under their custody.

Earlier, the NDFP called on the Duterte government to respect Cañete’s hors de combat status and release him as the NPA releases its POWs. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP admonishes GRP on arrest of injured NPA leader, preemptive announcements

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel admonished the Rodrigo Duterte government on the arrest of New People’s Army (NPA) leader Elizalde Cañete while still recuperating from an 11-hour brain surgery in Bukidnon Province.

The NDFP said it views with great concern the arrest, saying the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is under obligations to uphold their Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) under which hors de combat like Cañete should be afforded safeguards as regards to health, among other rights.

READ: Arrest try of injured Red commander humanitarian law violation, NPA says

The group issued a statement following reports that Cañete’s kin as well as human rights paralegals are being barred from visiting him at Don Carlos Memorial Hospital in Kitaotao Town where he is confined.

Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region said Cañete’s relatives were also harassed by military intelligence agents under the 88th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Karapatan SMR also said that hospital nurses and medical attendants were told by high-ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Cañete has been issued a warrant of arrest and is prevented from receiving relatives unless allowed by military and police authorities.

The group added Cañete’s family and paralegals are uncertain of Cañete’s health status as he is guarded heavily by combined elements of the PNP and AFP.

“We admonish the GRP to honor its commitments under CARHRIHL. Likewise, we warn the GRP that any harm done to Cañete can have adverse consequences to the efforts of both sides to resume the peace negotiations,” NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said in a statement.

Agcaoili added AFP and PNP’s disregard of Cañete’s rights can jeopardize the back-channel talks for making preparations for the resumption of the stalled peace talks that have already reached an advanced stage.

Backchannel

Earlier, the Communist Party of the Philippines also admonished the GRP for violating its agreement with the NDFP that unilateral statements will not be issued prior to actual agreements in the ongoing series of backchannel talks.

While saying it is looking forward to positive resolutions, the CPP said officials of the Duterte government should be more circumspect in issuing public statements or comments so as not to preempt the outcome of the informal talks and efforts to revive formal negotiations.

Earlier, The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said in a statement issued on Tuesday said that “[e]fforts to resume peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF are underway, with informal back-channel talks now taking place in Europe.”

OPAPP also announced it received positive results from the backchannel talks in Europe, the statement said.

The CPP however urged the media and the public to await official statements on the outcome of informal talks between representatives of the NDFP and the GRP.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison echoed CPP’s statement, saying any announcement or statement on the ongoing backchannel talks must be co-signed and jointly issued by the GRP and the NDFP.

“The point is to avoid misundertandings and preemption of the outcome by any side at the expense of the other,” Sison told Kodao.

Sison added there is a strong trend towards resumption of formal talks within June, based on the fact that the back channelers are determined to put together a package of agreements on ceasefire, amnesty and release of all political prisoners.

He added that the signing of the Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) as well as National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) sections of the prospective social and economic reform agreement CASER may also constitute an Interim Peace Agreement.

“Bilateral teams are poised to finalize the common drafts of the ARRD and NIED for submission to the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms,” Sison said.

Sison added that one more round of back channel talks will wrap up everything for the resumption of formal talks. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Arrest try of injured Red commander humanitarian law violation, NPA says

The New People’s Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao Region condemned the attempted arrest by combined military and police troopers of its commander recuperating from a major operation in a Bukidnon hospital.

The NPA said Zaldy Cañete, injured in a fierce gun battle in Barangay Kipilas, Kitaotao, Bukidnon Thursday, is obviously an hors de combat and must be given protection, respect and humanitarian medical treatment and recovery in accordance with civilized rules of warfare.

“The GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) should not subject Cañete to further punitive action by virtue of his condition as an hors de combat,” Rigoberto Sanchez, the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command spokesperson, in a statement said.

An hors de combat is a person who is “outside of the fight” after injury or surrender.

On May 10, 2018, the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Battalion attacked Cañete’s 1st Pulang Bagani Company, resulting in a two-hour fire fight that involved aerial and ground bombing by the GRP troops.

Cañete sustained head and body injuries, including a bullet wound on his lower left ear that exited on his right frontal skull.

The NPA said eight government troopers were in turn killed.

Cañete was turned over to his relatives in the area who took him to the nearby Don Carlos District Hospital where he underwent an 11-hour brain surgery.

The injured Red fighter is suffering memory loss and loss of speech as a result of his injuries and is confined at the hospital’s intensive care unit, the NPA said.

A few hours after his operation, however, AFP, PNP and intelligence operatives arrived and attempted to serve multiple warrants of arrest against Cañete, the NPA said.

“The GRP’s hasty attempted arrest and detention of Cañete is treacherous and violates the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the Geneva Conventions and other generally accepted principles and standards of international humanitarian law which clearly protect injured persons of the Parties in armed conflict,” the NPA said.

“In the same manner that the NPA has treated leniently any captured personnel of the military, police and paramilitary forces as prisoners of war in faithful allegiance to the international customary law pertaining to humanitarian principles, norms and rules in armed conflicts, the GRP has no recourse but to afford Cañete the same rights and non-discriminatory protection,” it added.

Human rights group Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP) echoed the NPA’s call, saying the attempted arrest of an hors de combat is an international humanitarian law violation.

“Any action taken by the AFP on Cañete would constitute a serious breach and will dampen the spirit of reopening the [peace] talks,” EJP said in a statement.

“[The] EJP observes that the AFP continues to ignore the efforts of the GPH panel and the people’s clamor for peace as it continues its operations and propaganda. Clearly this does not help the peace talks,” their statement added.

The EJP periodically acts as a third party facilitator to the release of GRP troops who were taken as prisoners of war by the NPA.

The EJP appeals to the government to release Cañete on humanitarian grounds and as part of an enabling environment for the resumption of the talks.

NDFP and GRP peace negotiators are reportedly engaged in a series of backchannel talks in accordance with GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to try to revive the peace negotiations he cancelled in November last year. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

Uphold CARHRIHL: Creating the atmosphere for a just peace

Peace advocates commemorated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in a forum at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila last March 10.

The advocates, in the presence of hundreds of SSC students, called on GRP President Rodrigo Duterte to respect the human rights agreement and resume the peace process with the NDFP.

“At this time, when the Duterte administration appears focused on moves like pulling out of the International Criminal Court and declaring more than 600 persons as terrorists under the Human Security Act, we urge President Rodrigo R. Duterte to instead focus the attention of his government on faithful adherence to the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law,” the advocates said in a statement. (Editing by M. Montajes)