Human rights abuses recorded in the first 2 weeks of 2018

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay revealed the rising statistics and intensifying attacks on people’s civil and political rights under President Duterte’s administration.

By BULATLAT

MANILA — Illegal arrests, frustrated killing, threats against human rights workers and communities were recorded by human rights group Karapatan in the first two weeks of 2018.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay revealed the rising statistics and intensifying attacks on people’s civil and political rights under President Duterte’s administration.

“This forebodes another year of terror inflicted by Duterte and his rabid murderous dogs in the military and police,” Palabay said in a statement.

On Jan. 8, the house of couples, Lumad Ronel Asay, 29, and Jingky Asay, 33, both members of Kayapan-Amihan, an organization of Mamanwa, in Bangayan village, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte were strafed by two unidentified men. The couple was able to escape the premises unharmed. The group said the 29th Infantry Battalion is actively conducting military operations in their community and is encamped about two kilometers from the home of the Asays.
Prior to the incident, Ronel has been subjected to military harassment because of his involvement in their organization.

The next day, Jan. 9 in North Cotabato, peasant activists Jarold Adiaton, Jane Solis and Datu Maylan Andas were illegally arrested by soldiers and police in two separate incidents.

Adiaton and Solis who are both members of the Balite Farmers Association (BFA) were forcibly taken by composite agents of 15th and 39th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army and Cotabato Provincial and municipal police officers inside their house at Balite village, Magpet.

Andas, a member of the Manobo Aromanen Pasakkaday Association (MAPA) meanwhile was also arrested in his residence at sitio Tungao, Tempuran village also in Magpet.

BFA is a local peasant organization based in Magpet under Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-North Cotabato and MAPA is a municipal Lumad organization in the town under Apo Sandawa Lumadnung Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC).

The group said Solis was eventually released, while Adiaton and Andas are facing trumped up charges and are presently detained at the Amas District Jail.

Lumad residents also reported explosions and intermittent gunfire near sitio Maghahunao, Buhisan village, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur on Jan. 13. Drones hovering in the communities were also reportedly spotted in the area on the same day and on Jan. 16. The group said members of the 75th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) have been conducting military operations in the area since Jan. 7, affecting 14 communities and nine alternative schools for indigenous children.

On Jan. 16, farmers Filjun Celeste Arpajo, 30 and Venjie Catampo, 28 were forcibly taken by suspected members of the 28th IBPA. Both were residents of Purok Mahayahay, Marayag village, Lupon, Davao Oriental. According to the village residents, the two were brought by the military and used as guides in their operations. Karapatan said the two are still under military custody.

Meanwhile, members of a fact finding mission and quick reaction mission led by Karapatan-Southern Tagalog were harassed by members of the 85th IBPA in Del Pilar in a checkpoint in village, Lopez, Quezon province. Soldiers reportedly pointed their guns at the team as they were about to pass the area. The group conducted the mission to probe reports of possible human rights violations in Jongo village after a reported encounter between soldiers and members of the New People’s Army.

The group was eventually allowed to pass through after negotiations.

As of Dec. 2017 data of Karapatan, there are already 126 victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) and 235 cases of frustrated EJKs; 1,202 victims of illegal arrest, 272 of them were detained; and 426,590 victims of forced evacuation.

“The real terrorists are the men in uniform, all acting at the behest of their generals and Commander in Chief Rodrigo Duterte, whose bloodlust has resulted in numerous killings and rights violations of the poor,” Palabay said.

She added that the people should resist the “intensifying fascist attacks against the Filipino people through relentlessly exposing the real situation in our communities.” (http://bulatlat.com)

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