By DANNY BANGIBANG
TABUK CITY, Kalinga — At least 100 human rights defenders made it to the second general assembly of the Justice and Peace Advocates in Kalinga (JPAK), last December 2, 2017 at the Kalinga State University AV Center, Bulanao Campus, here.
The Kalinga Peace Advocates (KPA), organized after the extra-judicial killings (EJK) of Alice O. Claver and Marcus Bangit in June and July 2006 in this province by suspected state assassins, was re-launched as JPAK on December 13, 2014.
The second general assembly marks the advancement of the alliance of peace advocates in Kalinga with activities in the defense of human rights and Indigenous Peoples rights.
As guest speaker, Jhonny Sawadan, of the office of the Vice Governor and Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) member said, “the JPAK is a contribution to the advancement of the international human rights movement for the defense and protection of human rights.
The theme of the general assembly says, “Patibkeren ti Kampanya, Sarangiten ti Kumarkaro a Pananglabsing iti Karbengan Tao para iti Hustisya ken Kapia; Singeren dagiti Naglabsing a Kameng ti Estado, Hustisya para kadagiti Biktima ti Pasismo”. (Strengthen the campaign, confront the worsening human rights violations, for justice and peace; prosecute those accountable in government. Justice for the victims of fascism.), as a reponse to the escalating violations of human rights under the Duterte Administration.
“It is imperative to intensify our campaign for the defense and protection of our rights as people,” said Sawadan. He challenged all members of JPAK to stay focused as individuals and as organizations in the advancement of the campaign for justice and peace.
Meanwhile, Mila L. Singson, representative of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) discussed the human rights situation. She stressed on the three major developments in the human rights situation of the country. First, the termination of the Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP/CPP/NPA), by President Duterte through a Presidential Proclamation no. 360. And, adds oral declarations to vilify the “left” as “terrorists”, and threatens of a crackdown on the legal and democratic movement. Criminalizing all political and democratic forces that will double-escalate human rights violations.
Secondly, is the all-out war policy of the administration that conjures reasons to declare Martial Law in the entire nation. The martial law in the south would have been terminated but the US-Duterte master plan manifests a fascist dictatorship is being moulded. Other manifestations include; the Oplan Kapayapaan and the massive military operations, the creation of Inter-Agency Anti-Insurgency Campaign (IALAC/IACLA), Tokhang double barrel on drug campaign, etc. which has as main targets the national democratic forces nation-wide. Then, a frantic “Revolutionary Government” which Duterte thought would bolster up the dream to maintain power.
Third, the suppression & deterioration of human rights nation-wide, a continuing effect of the first two fascist programs of the Duterte administration. The conscious violation of human rights by the state behind the fascist government will intensify peoples’ war against tyranny and draw the waves of democratic forces that would stop this insane regime.
Singson also made updates and clarifications on the Martial Law reparation and recognition which draw some confusion among claimants. She also presented updates on the political detainees in the region and specific PPs of Kalinga that JPAK had assisted.
Ama Banag Sinumlag, one of the oldest if not the eldest among the member participants re-affirmed the attitude of vigilance and continuing commitment against state fascism. He said, “in our province alone we have made so much sacrifices against tyranny in various forms and we have no reason to stop our collective fight until justice and freedom prevails”.
The new set of officers were elected and a new program was made. Mila L. Singson administered their oath of office. # nordis.net