Amid ‘intensified’ attacks, national minorities file complaints vs GRP

By JEOFFREY MHAR LARUA
www.nordis.net

QUEZON CITY — National minorities participating in the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2017 took to the office of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)-nominated side of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) to file complaints of human rights (HR), and international humanitarian law (IHL) violations, September 19.

Led by the Cordillera delegation, human rights workers from various parts of Mindanao, Panay, and Negros filed their complaints as state-perpetrated attacks against national minorities continue to “intensify”, as the government continues its all-out war against the CPP-NPA-NDF, and the Mindanao Martial Law enters its fifth month.

Among the cases filed was the death of 19 year-old Lumad student, Obillio Bay-ao, who was shot by elements of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) on September 6, in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

Bay-ao, whose parents traveled from Mindanao to file their complaint, was given a tribute-rally September 15 by Sandugo and other progressive groups in Mendiola.

‘Cordillera suffers’

Meanwhile, at least 14 cases were filed by the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) against the GRP, following the death of elderly political prisoner Marcos Aggalao, and vilification efforts by state forces against Cordillera activists.

Aggalao, arrested in 2016 on trumped-up charges, died as a detainee in Kalinga Provincial Hospital despite requests to release him out of humanitarian reasons.

Other cases filed against the GRP were continued state harassment by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troops in Ifugao and Baguio that forced the displacement of at least three communities in the provinces.

According to the CHRA, the cases filed should compel the GRP to their “obligation” to follow the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

“The conduct of war of State security forces has consistently violated human rights and international humanitarian law in all of the Philippine government’s national internal security policies and programs. Their tactics constantly involve attacks on civilians,” said the CHRA in a statement.

Peace talks should resume

The human rights group adds that these cases should also compel the GRP to resume the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

“All these have to be recognized by the GRP as compelling reasons to resume the Peace Talks especially with the worsening social crisis and its impact on national minorities,”

Since the fallout of the peace negotiations between the GRP and NDFP, the Duterte administration has ordered intensified attacks in interior areas to “weed out” communist rebels. # nordis.net

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