Posts Tagged ‘Philippine Army’

Another human rights defender shot dead in Philippines

March 27, 2014

According to ucanews.com of 26 March 2014, unidentified gunmen shot and killed a human rights defender, whose name had appeared on a military hit list, in the northern Philippine province of Ifugao on Tuesday. Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan identified the victim as William Bugatti of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance. She said that Bugatti’s name had appeared on an army list of targeted persons, obtained from undisclosed sources, which included activists and individuals working with farmers’ organizations. Bugatti was described on the list as the “brains” of the New Peoples Army” the military arm of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines. According to Piya Macliing Malayao of the Alliance of Indigenous People of the Philippines, Bugatti was on his way home from the office when he was gunned down. He sustained three gunshot wounds. Malayao said other members of human rights groups in the Cordillera region have also become targets of the military. “Bugatti’s killing sends a gravely disturbing message to members of peoples organizations and human rights defenders in the region,” she said. Last week, Malayao raised concerns about posters that appeared in Ifugao province, bearing the names of tribal leaders and human rights activists who have been tagged as communist rebels. “We now fear for the lives of the others listed on the military’s target catalog,” she said, adding that the list “proves that there are precision strikes being made on unarmed civilians” under the governments anti-insurgency program. Malayao said that during the first 10 weeks of 2014 alone, four indigenous people were killed by government security forces.

via Another activist shot dead in Philippines ucanews.com.

Philippines nun speaks strongly against arrest of church worker Yadao

September 13, 2013

I remember from my visit to the Philippines in the early 80s that the nuns were extraordinarily active in the area of human rights (that was under Marcos). I was reminded of this when I saw the Bulalat report of 13 September that a long-time lay worker of a Catholic-run organization was arrested by elements of the Philippine Army on 8 September and the fierce reaction by Sister Somogod.

Joel Yadao (in gray shirt) attends an activity of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region in June 2012. (Photo courtesy of RMP-NMR)

(Joel Yadao (in gray shirt) in June 2012. Photo courtesy of RMP-NMR) Read the rest of this entry »

Environmental HRDs in the Philippines pay heavy price for their activism

November 16, 2012

An excellent post in Davao Today by MARILOU AGUIRRE-TUBURAN highlights the life-threatening dangers to those who oppose land grabbing or destruction of the environment as well as the quasi-total impunity for the perpetrators.

She relates how Stella Matutina, a nun leading Mindanao’s environmentalists, demonstrates that trying to stop giant mining firms has become deadlier. Speaking during a public hearing initiated by Philippine legislators last week, Matutina rattled off glaring statistics to present what she termed as “the most salient and gravest trends” in human rights abuses under the Aquino government.

The numbers of slain victims were punishing: 32 leaders killed in two years, 24 of them indigenous peoples who opposed land grabbing in their ancestral domains. The numbers of victims sued by courts were deplorable: 159 individuals who face pending warrants of arrests, subpoenas, and other forms of “legal harassment and intimidation.” The numbers of displaced residents were glaring: about 1,017 families with 5,275 individuals, particularly in the regions of Caraga, Northern and Southern Mindanao, dislocated due to military encampments and operations. In all these, Matuina, convenor of the coalition, Panalipdan (English translation: Defend) Mindanao, lamented that “the state of impunity continues to this day.”

The “state of impunity” was coined by rights activists following the carnage notoriously known as Ampatuan massacre involving the murder of 58 individuals, 34 of them media practitioners in Maguindanao province three years ago. Impunity, the activists say, because perpetrators remain scot-free, if not, unpunished. Matutina added that extrajudicial killings, particularly of indigenous leaders and environment advocates in Mindanao, escalated “at a faster pace, compared to the same period under (former President Gloria) Arroyo.” A human rights victim herself, Matutina said her experience from the hands of the military was “of no consequence compared to the fate that befell other victims of human rights violations across Mindanao.” Three years ago, Matutina, dead-tired from a day of environment seminar with residents, was rudely woken from sleep and detained for several hours by soldiers belonging to the Philippine Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion in a far-flung village in Cateel town, Davao Oriental.  Soldiers tagged her as a New People’s Army rebel, an accusation which Matutina brushed off as part of her “determined advocacy” in protecting communities and the environment.

for the full story see:  http://davaotoday.com/main/2012/11/16/for-love-of-environment-advocates-pay-dearly/