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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Group raises concern over killings, HRVs

THE Barug Katungod Mindanao and Karapatan or the Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples rights expressed their concern over the worsening human rights violations in Mindanao amid the ongoing peace talks.

Sister Luz Mallo, convenor of the Barug Katungod Mindanao, in a statement she read Friday, accused the Duterte administration for disregarding human rights violations.

"The worsening human rights violations in Mindanao have been disregarded by the Duterte government despite the unilateral ceasefire of the GRP and his declaration of support to the peace talks," the statement read.

It also said that relentless military operations of government schools, extrajudicial killings (EJK), harassment, and vilification involving community teachers, peasants, and lumad leaders of progressive organizations have been justified by the Duterte admin through the continued implementation of Oplan Bayanihan.

Leonila Yu of Kadamay or the Kalipunan ng mga Mahihirap, a group based in Caraga, in a media briefing Friday, said they can still experience military harassments in their area.

"Among the organizations they harass include the Kadamay, where they ask lists of the officials of the government and they come every day and knock on the doors of these people and they will investigate them and ask if they are members of the New People's Army," Yu said.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Caraga's Roger Montero also said that Karapatan has documented a total of 24 trump up charges filed against farmers in the area.

He also confirmed that house to house system done by the military officers were done in almost 50 villages in Caraga.

Montero said that in Agusan del Norte, 17 were detained at Butuan City Jail, Provincial Jail, and one IP in Cabadbaran.

He added that in Surigao del Sur, there were eight persons who were issued with warrants of arrest last February 11.

"They are six people filed with trumped-up charges, there are also two without bail bond, and there are two whose cases were heard and there is this one person who was able to file bail of 50,000."

In Zamboanga Peninsula, a guest named Edilberto Del Rosario also alleged that his 26-year-old farmer son died in the hands of the military since an eyewitness saw that the soldiers came to their hut.

Ireneo Udarbe from KMP Northern Mindanao region also said that Oplan Bayanihan still continue in the five regions of Northern Mindanao.

“It also worsened… In Butuan City, they have listed 13 areas with COPD. In these areas, military officers conduct census but their questions intend to identify the members of the New People’s Army and also ask those who join rallies."

KMP Misamis Oriental Ronie Villacarlos also added that he received threats from the military when he strongly pushed for the farmers plea on the drought issue.

Barug Katungod Mindanao in a statement slammed the trumped-up charges, surveillance and harassment to activists, lumad teachers, and advocates including Amy Pond who is in an hospital arrest at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

The Barug Mindanao said that since July, there are at least eight cases of EJK and two enforced disappearances have been recorded by their group.

The group alleged that the military personnel from the 39th, 68th, 66th, and 46th Infantry Battalions are responsible of these EJK in the southern Mindanao region.

This include the killing of environmental anti-mining activist Joselito Pasaporte in Compostela Valley Province last October 13.

They also cited the enforced disappearances of Dabis Mogul and Macky Bael both environmental activist in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat early December, for their environmental advocacy against Consunji, which is currently expanding its mango plantation.

The group also said political prisoners still continue to stay in jail.

While President Duterte had been correct in offering general amnesty for political prisoners, it is apparent that sections of the AFP leadership are vehemently oppose to the move of the president, they added.

The group also slammed the appointment of newly installed Armed Forces chief Lieutenant General Eduardo Año who was known to have lead operations targeting activists.

The group urged Duterte to scrap Oplan Bayanihan as this promotes the legacy of the Aquino regime.

“President Duterte should not squander his political capital by pandering to the rightist and hawkish forces in his administration,” it said.

The group also demanded for the president to uphold previously signed agreements with the National Democratic Front.
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