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Mga aktibista: ‘Berdugong Esperon,’ walang karapatang akusahan ang mga progresibo

Isang kilos-protesta ang isinagawa ng iba’t-ibang grupo bilang suporta sa grupong Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines at Gabriela noong Agosto 1, Hwebes, kontra sa kasong perjury na isinampa ni national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. laban sa tkanila,

Mariin nilang binatikos ang opisyal sa anila’y pangigipit sa mga grupong nagtataguyod ng karapatang pantao at gawing ligal ang atake sa mga ito.

Anila, ang taong katulad ni Esperon na may maraming reklamong kinaharap hinggil sa paglabag sa karapatang pantao ay hindi dapat nambibintang ng walang batayan. (Bidyo ni Arrem Alcaraz/Kodao)

Karapatan, RMP at Gabriela, naghain ng petisyon sa Korte Suprema

Nagtungo sa Korte Suprema ang mga grupong Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines at Gabriela noong Mayo 6 para maghain ng petisyon na writ of amparo at writ of habeas data.

Ito ay kaugnay sa paninira, red-tagging at pananakot na ginagawa ng administrasyon at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Sinamahan sila nang kanilang mga abugado mula sa National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer o NUPL.

Kabilang sa kanilang mga respondent ay sina Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at AFP Civil-Military deputy chief M/Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.

Ayon sa Karapatan, tugon nila ito sa tumitinding atake at pananakot laban sa mga human rights defenders.

Sunod-sunod ang atake laban sa kanila kabilang na ang pagpaslang sa upisyal ng Karapatan sa Negros na sina Bernardino “Toto” Patigas na pinatay nito lamang Abril 23.

Para naman sa Gabriela, target na sila ng ganitong paninira simula nang maitatag ito noong dekada 80.

Dapat na umanong matigil ang ganitong atake laban sa kababaihan at mamamayan.

Umaasa sila na tutugunan ito nang Korte Suprema tulad ng inilabas na utos nito pabor sa NUPL na dumulog noong nakaraang buwan para sa katulad na petisyon. (Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

Local, int’l groups urge resumption of GRP-NDFP talks

National church organization and an international lawyers’ group urged the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to resume formal peace talks, following yet another cancellation by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a gathering at Cagayan de Oro City Thursday, June 21, members of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), the Mindanao Peace Forum/Dialogue for Land and Peace and the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform called on both the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to go back to the peace negotiating table.

They were joined by recently-elected barangays officials who the groups said are “crucial in the promotion of just peace in their communities.”

“The gathering also gave time for representatives from local government units and national legislators to share their perspectives on the peace process, for sectoral leaders to express their yearnings for social and economic reforms and the defense of human rights, and for church people to deepen their commitment to our common struggle for Shalom,” RMP, through its national coordinator Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS said.

Co-organizers of the peace forum included the National Anti-Poverty Commission, the Sisters Association of Mindanao, and Sowing the Seeds for Peace.

In separate statements Thursday, both the GRP and the NDFP said Duterte wanted a three-month period to review documents and agreements forged by the parties before discussions on the resumption of formal negotiations can again be entertained.

In Brussels, Belgium, a global organization of human rights lawyers joined calls for the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the underground national liberation movement in the country.

Members of the IADL’s Governing Bureau during their meeting in Brussels, Belgium. (Supplied photo)

Members of the Governing Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) who just concluded its two-day meeting in Brussels passed a resolution “urging the GRP and the NDFP to honor and abide by their agreements and resume their peace negotiations in a foreign neutral venue in order to try to resolve the basic issues of the Philippine armed conflict so that the Filipino people can attain a just and stable peace.”

The lawyers from 17 countries in six continents attending the biannual meeting said that they were “informed that the Philippine government is again persistently demanding that the peace negotiations be held in Manila, a position divergent from a binding agreement between the parties that it be held in a foreign neutral venue.”

The lawyers were alluding to the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) the parties signed in 1995.

The progressive lawyers from Algeria, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Philippines, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States, South Africa and Togo pointed out that “mainly for security reasons, history and universal practice teach us that most, if not all, peace negotiations between two warring parties were generally held in a foreign neutral venue outside the country or territories where their respective armed forces are.”

Founded in 1946 in Paris, France, the IADL, which has consultative status with the United Nations, also has members in Austria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cuba, France, Germany, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, South Korea, North Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Puerto Rico. Spain, Turkey and Vietnam.

Its founders and leaders were part of the drafting of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Nuremberg trials and the anti-apartheid movement.

IADL lawyers have helped to establish fundamental concepts of international and domestic law including the provision of prisoner of war status to combatants from liberation movements and the recognized legal right of peoples to self-determination.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Ailing detainee back in jail after Duterte’s lifting of ceasefire

AN AILING political prisoner recuperating in a care facility had been taken back to jail last February 4 after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted his government’s unilateral ceasefire declaration with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Amelia Pond, teacher and curriculum developer of the Lumad school Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanogon Learning Center (STTICLC), was brought back to Tagum District Jail by her police guards reportedly on “orders from the top.” Read more

STREETWISE: AFP lies won’t bring peace to the lumad by Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Streetwise

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its most rabid apologists are trying desperately to stem the tide of public outrage here and abroad over the series of killings of unarmed lumad leaders, their supporters and ordinary community members attributed to paramilitary groups created, funded, directed and protected by the AFP.  They are resorting to squid tactics, red-baiting and victim blaming which only further entrap them in their own web of lies.

During the Senate investigation into the Lianga, Surigao del Sur massacre last week, Senator Teofisto Guingona III underscored the fact that more than a month since the incident, the alleged perpetrators roam free.  There are even reports that they continue to terrorize other lumad communities.  As of this writing another lumad leader has been killed in Agusan del Sur.

Testimonies from the provincial governor, religious leaders and representatives of the 3000 lumad who have sought sanctuary in Tandag City, are one in pointing to a paramilitary group, the Magahat-Bagani, composed of AFP recruits from among lumad communities, as the perpetrators.  More telling, they accuse the AFP of coddling the killers and are calling for the dismantling of these groups.

At first, the AFP tried to sell the idea that the New People’s Army (NPA) was responsible for the killings.  It brought several lumad to Manila and presented them in a hastily organized AFP press conference to say that the entire incident was part of a convoluted scheme by the NPA to demonize the military as human rights violators.  The AFP insists that the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood (ALCADEV) is an “NPA school” and the lumad community it serves supports the NPA.  The AFP insinuates this is probably why the Magahat-Bagani, whose members are anti-NPA, attacked them.

The AFP claims the military unit that was within striking distance of the rampaging paramilitary group did not intervene because they were trying to “protect” the people by avoiding civilian casualties who may be caught in the cross fire. The AFP complains that it is now being unfairly accused of being behind the killings simply because the affected lumad and their supporters are actually pro-NPA.  Nonetheless, the AFP’s proffered explanation — that the NPA killed its own supporters to make the AFP look bad – is just too absurd to be believed by anybody with a grain of independence and an ounce of grey matter.

Consequently the AFP tried to distance itself from the Magahat-Bagani with another incredible line, that these armed groups are “independently organized” and are composed of “traditional” lumad warriors defending their territory from the intrusion of the NPA.  The AFP says these are not under its direction and control.  Accordingly, since these groups are fighting against lumad who have joined the NPA or support the NPA, the AFP posits some kind of “tribal war” going on. The recent killings are alleged to be a consequence of this internal conflict among the lumad but the AFP denies it has anything to do with this so-called tribal war.  Indeed, what the AFP tries to cover up are the origins of these paramilitary groups and how they grew and gained the capacity to terrorize entire lumad communities with impunity.

Their rise can be traced to attempts by big business concerns to exploit the untapped mining, logging and agribusiness potential of lumad areas.  The Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, that was supposed to protect the indigenous people from being displaced from their ancestral domain by facilitating the grant of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs), paved the way for some lumad leaders to treat the ancestral domain as their private property for disposition as they please.  These lumad leaders were bribed by the corporations to agree to open lumad lands for exploitation.

However other leaders resisted, realizing that the promised “development” would destroy the forests, the rivers, the land and the lumad way of life.  The ensuing conflict turned very violent as those who favored the entry of the corporations were backed by these corporations and were armed by the military.  Those who opposed became the targets of harassment, forced agreement and outright murder.  Some of them took up arms and eventually joined the NPA operating in their areas. The people welcomed the NPA’s presence to defend them from the AFP, the security forces of the corporations and the paramilitary lumad groups that were given arms, funding and protection by the AFP.

At the root of the conflict is the lumad’s defense of their ancestral domain from wanton exploitation.  It is also entwined with their assertion of their right to determine the kind of development that will genuinely uplift their socio-economic situation even as their traditions and culture are respected and nurtured.  It is thus understandable that the ranks of the NPA in Mindanao include lumad. The mountainous areas where the lumad have been forced to retreat by the encroachment of lowlanders are also the areas where the NPA are strongest.

The government says the NPA is already a “spent force”. So how does the NPA survive and – in some areas, according even to the AFP, expand their influence – if they are not being supported voluntarily by the people, like the lumad of Mindanao?  If the NPA has sufficient mass support to be able to sustain what has been dubbed as “the longest running communist insurgency in the world” how can the military defeat it without resorting to a bloody, brutal, no-holds-barred war against these supporters, including the lumad?

Some peace advocates suggest that the solution to the violence is to withdraw the AFP, paramilitary and NPA from the lumad areas and declare these as zones of peace.  At first glance, this sounds logical and fair. But a closer look will show it won’t work because it does not address the real issues and consequently draws away from the real solution. One only has to ask in the first instance — will the mining corporations then be free to operate in these areas and do as they wish or will?  Will they be allowed to have their own security guards? If so, would these be non-lumad but armed? Or lumad but unarmed? Will the lumad benefit from this more than the corporations? And finally, what mechanism, action or process could make the AFP and NPA both agree to withdraw from any area, or even to stop firing their weapons at each other? Certainly, not mere calls, appeals or exhortations.

In the final analysis, the peaceful resolution of armed conflict in lumad and non-lumad areas in Mindanao and the rest of the country can only be brought about by the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (the umbrella formation for the CPP-NPA and other revolutionary forces waging an armed struggle).

Such peace talks must address the root causes of armed conflict and must proceed on the basis of the previous bilateral agreements, without preconditions.  Meanwhile, mitigation of the most grievous effects of the armed conflict can already be addressed by implementing the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International humanitarian law (CARHRIHL) through the operationalization of the Joint GPH-NDFP Monitoring Committee.  The latter receives and investigates complaints lodged by victims and either Party to the agreement.

Peace advocates of whatever ideological and political persuasion should seize the issue of lumad killings as an opening to even more determinedly push for peace talks to resume and go forward to negotiations over socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and finally, the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

True peace must be based on justice and not be the peace of the graveyard. #

Published in Business World
5 October 2015

Manila activists condemn latest Lumad killings

Data from Karapatan-CARAGA
September 1, 2015

MAGAHAT/BAGANI FORCES KILL THREE LEADERS ANEW
IN LIANGA, SURIGAO DEL SUR

September 1, 2015 at around 4 am in Km. 16, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur – Known elements of the Magahat-Bagani Forces opened fire at Dionel Campos and Aurelio Sinzo as community members were roused from bed and forced to gather in the middle of the community early this morning. At around the same time, the dead body of Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development(ALCADEV), was found in one of the schoolrooms, tied around the neck and extremities and with stab wounds.

Previously, on August 30, after the two-day celebration of ALCADEV’s Foundation Day, about 30 elements of the 36th IBPA and Special Forces with members of the Magahat-Bagani Force occupied the school’s function hall and the school grounds. The Magahat threatened to massacre the community should they refuse to evacuate within two days.

On August 31, the cooperative store of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) was burned by the Magahat who also indiscriminately fire their guns that terrorized the community. Residents of Han-ayan, the school staff and some other guests then decided to retreat to nearby Km. 16. As they were preparing to leave that afternoon, Samarca was detained at the ALCADEV grounds by some members of the Magahat. This was the last time he was seen alive.

All cellphones and cameras of the residents, faculty and staff were seized by the Magahat before pulling out of Km. 16 after the killing. Soldiers of the 36th IBPA and the SF, who stayed in Km.9, are conducting their usual patrols took no action on the killings.

“This is a clear indication of collusion between the AFP and the armed Magahat-Bagani Forces,” Eliza Pangilinan, Karapatan Caraga secretary general, said. “Despite the obvious presence of the military who are purportedly there for internal security, these killings continue to happen with impunity.”

The Magahat-Bagani Forces led by Marcos Bocales, who were also implicated in the killing of Henry Alameda and Aldren Dumaguit in October 24, 2014, are also identified as the perpetrators of the latest massacre.

“We call on the law enforcement agencies and the local prosecutors to seriously investigate the increasing spate of killings that are perpetrated by these groups. Instead of filing charges against activists left and right they should look at the apparent connection between the military and these armed paramilitary groups, file charges and arrest them and bring a stop to impunity. This is the only way that communities can truly feel secure. ”, Panganiban said.#

Stop the killings of indigenous peoples and advocates in Mindanao!

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(Photo: Dionel Campos at ALCADEV school)

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) is outraged by the killing rampage of paramilitary groups and State security forces in Mindanao against Lumad activists, environmentalists, human rights defenders, educators and advocates for the indigenous peoples. CPA condemns these killings in the highest terms possible.

The long-time collusion of notorious paramilitary groups and State security forces in Mindanao resulted in the long list of killings, enforced disappearances, evacuations against the Lumads and advocates for peace, human rights and environment. The recent spate of killings in Mindanao mirrors the height of impunity under the BS Aquino regime. In his last year in power, BS Aquino is unleashing its deadly attack against human rights, environmental defenders and peace advocates.

Based on data provided by KARAPATAN, on September 1, 2015, two Lumad leaders and a champion for indigenous people’s education in Mindanao were killed in Surigao del Sur. Emerito Samarca, the executive director of ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development) was gunned down by paramilitary forces Mahagat/Bagani within the ALCADEV campus in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Samarca was found dead in a classroom in Alcadev with a stab wound, and his neck, arms and legs tied up. On the other hand, Dionel Campos, chairperson of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo were killed by the same paramilitary forces while they were coming out of a house in Diatagon, Surigao del Sur.

2014_June_ALcadev foundation day

(Photo: Emerito Samarca, third from left)

KARAPATAN further stated that two days prior to the killing, the paramilitary group Magahat/Bagani Force and elements of the 36th IB encamped at the ALCADEV school compound and occupied the function hall and parts of the school grounds. During the encampment, the Magahat group threatened the school’s faculty members, staffs and community members that they will massacre the community if the people will not leave in two days.

On August 31, 2015, the MAGAHAT group burned down the community cooperative store of MAPASU while indiscriminately firing around the community. Samarca, according to initial report was held and detained by some armed members of Magahat before he was killed. On the evening of August 31, the Alcadev faculty and most of the residents in Han-ayan went to Km. 16 for safety. At around 4 a.m., Magahat Forces went from house to house in Km. 16 and ordered the residents to get out of their houses and go to the center of the community. That was when Campos and Sinzo were met by a volley of gunfire from brothers Loloy and Bobby Tejero of the Magahat/Bagani Force.

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(Photo: This picture was taken on August 31 at around 9:30 am of elements of the 36th IBPA at the school shed at the entrance to ALCADEV. The soldiers slept in the TRIFPSS school building the day before and occupied ALCADEV’s function hall. This shed is right across the MAPASU coop that was burned down later that afternoon.)

Magahat members also confiscated all cellphones and cameras from the residents and ALCADEV staff and remaining visitors in the community.
ALCADEV is an alternative learning system especially designed to provide secondary education to indigent indigenous youth – the Manobo, Banwaon, Higanon, Talaandig, and Mamanwa of Surigao del Norte and Sur and Agusan Norte and Sur. ALCADEV have been established by Lumads themselves with the help of cause-oriented groups. However, instead of recognizing their valuable contribution, the Lumad community school has been subjected to harassment and malicious accusations of the 36th IB and their rabid paramilitary groups that ALCADEV is a NPA school.

The killing rampage by the Magahat forces also resulted to the massive evacuation of more than 4,000 Lumad families from their communities in Surigao del Sur.

We should hold BS Aquino accountable to these heinous crimes committed against people. We also call on peace loving people to support the indigenous peoples in Mindanao at these difficult times. We should support them in their calls to demand justice for the victims. We also urged the government to conduct an investigation and prosecute the Mahagat/Bagani forces. Lastly, we call for the immediate pull out of military in indigenous communities, disbanding and dismantling of paramilitary forces in Mindanao. ***

(All photos are from Karapatan-CARAGA)

KMP @ 30

PAGBATI SA IKA-30 ANIBERSARYO NG KILUSANG MAGBUBUKOD NG PILIPINAS
Hulyo 25, 2015
Rey Claro Casambre
Executive Director
Philippine Peace Center

Sa ngalan ng Philippine Peace Center, malugod kong binabati ang kasapian at pamunuan ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) sa Ika-30 Anibersaryo ng pagkakatatag nito.

Nakikiisa kami sa sambayanang Pilipino sa pagbati sa inyo sa lahat ng tagumpay na inyong natamo sa pangunguna sa mga hayag na pakikibaka ng masang magsasaka at manggagawang bukid laban sa pyudal at malapyudal na pang-aapi at pagsasamantala sa kamay ng mga lokal at dayuhang naghaharing uri.

Nagiging tumpak at mabisa ang pangunguna ninyo sa mga pakikibakang ito dahil mahigpit ninyo itong iniuugnay sa pakikibaka ng buong sambayanang Pilipino para sa pambansang pagpapalaya, tunay na demokrasya at katarungang panlipunan. Sa gayon ay nagiging makabuluhan at mahalaga ang ambag ninyo sa pagpupukaw, pag-organisa at pagpapakilos ng masang magsasaka bilang pangunahing pwersa ng pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon.

Taas-kamao kaming nagpupugay sa lahat ng kasapi ng KMP at mga magsasakang martir na nag-alay ng pinakamataas na sakripisyo para sa mga pakikibakang ito.

Mahigpit na nasasapol ng KMP ang kahalagahan ng paggamit sa lahat ng larangan at pamamaraan ng hayag na pakikibaka para sa pagsulong ng demokratiko at pambansang interes ng sambayanang Pilipino. Kami sa PPC ay mapalad at natutuwang makasama ang KMP sa pagtutulak ng negosasyong pangkapayapaan para maihayag ang tunay na kalagayan at mga karaingan ng masang anakpawis at ipaglaban ang kanilang mga karapatan at kagalingan. Aktibong lumahok ang KMP sa pagtutulak na mabuo at malagdaan ang Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) sa pagitan ng Gobyerno ng Republika ng Pilipinas (GRP) at ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). At matamang sumusubaybay at umaambag ang KMP sa pagbubuo ng mga panukala para sa Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, kung saan ang Repormang Agraryo at ang karapatan at kagalingan ng mga magbubukid ay malalaki at mayor na mga usapin.

Puspusan at mapanlikhang nagagamit ng KMP ang reaksyunaryong Kongreso bilang isang plataporma sa pagtataguyod sa makauring interes ng masang magbubukid sa pamamagitan ng Anakpawis Party List at mga kaalyado nitong partido sa Blokeng Makabayan. Matingkad na halimbawa nito ang paglalantad sa CARP at CARPER at ang pagtataguyod ng Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill o GARB. Hindi rin nagpapabaya ang KMP sa pagtatanggol at pagtataguyod sa mga karapatang sibil, pulitikal at pang-ekonomya sa reaksyunaryong mga Korte, sa pagsasampa ng mga kaso laban sa mga hacendero at malalaking panginoong maylupa, o sa pagtatanggol sa mga magsasakang sinasampahan ng mga gawa-gawang kaso.

Malinaw sa KMP ang kahalagahan ng pandaigdigang pagkakaisa ng mga masang anakpawis. Aktibo itong lumalahok sa mga solidarity conferences at sa pagbubuo at pagpapalakas ng mga pormasyong anti-imperyalista tulad ng Asian Peasant Coalition at International League of People’s Struggle.

Sa kagyat, malaki ang nagagampanang papel, at malaki pa ang magagawa ng KMP sa puspusang paglalantad at paghihiwalay sa rehimeng US-Aquino, laluna dahil sa matingkad na katangiang cacique at malaking panginoong maylupa ni Benigo Simeon Aquino III, at dahil higit pa niyang isinusulong ang mga kagustuhan ng imperyalistang US sa pandarambong sa ekonomya at sa paggamit sa buong Pilipinas bilang malaking baseng militar para konsolidahin ang hegemoniya sa Asia-Pacific at kubkubin ang Tsina.

Malalaking hamon ang sasalubungin at mabibigat na tungkulin ang babalikatin ng KMP sa mga darating na buwan kaugnay ng APEC summit at pambansang eleksyon, at sa konteksto ng kampanya para patalsikin ang rehimeng US-Aquino at wakasan ang bulok at imbing paghahari nito. Buo ang tiwala naming sa PPC na matagumpay na matutugunan ng KMP ang mga hamon at tungkuling ito.

Mabuhay ang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas!
Mabuhay ang masang magsasaka!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!
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Philippine Land Reform Movement launched


Led by the Peasant Movement of the Philippines (Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or KMP), the broadest formation to assert genuine agrarian reform in the country was launched on May 28, 2015. The Philippines chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) supports the movement along with various sectors, cause-oriented groups and institutions.

Solidarity with Mindanao

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ILPS-Philippines affiliates join the 2014 Manilakbayan for food and peace in Mindanao at the start of their Mendiola campout towards International Human Rights Day. Indigenous Lumads perform their ritual offering and sharing of blood (“pamaas” in Manobo culture) as a token of solidarity in the struggle against large-scale mining, militarization and human rights violations.