IP group welcomes EU resolution
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) calls on the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration to heed the recommendations of the European Parliament on worsening peace and human rights situation in the country.
The “European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2009 on the Philippines” took notice of the hundreds of activists, trade unionists and leaders, journalists and religous leaders and members as well as civilians killed or victims of abductions since Arroyo came into power in 2001.
It also noted the continuous denial of the Philippine government of any involvement of its security forces and the military in the political killings despite ample evidence to the contrary.
The resolution added that there are no formal criminal investigations and the perpetrators roam freely despite many claims of the government that it has adopted measures to stop extra-judicial killings and prosecute those involved.
According to the statement of CPA, this is the latest international statement on the state of peace and human rights in the Philippines and it amplifies similar concerns earlier expressed by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Extra-Judicial Killings and on Indigenous peoples Prof. Philip Alston in June 2006 and Dr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen in 2002 and February 2007, respectively, during their separate visits to the country.
“The CPA reiterates its position that the Arroyo administration’s counter-insurgency program Operation Bantay Laya (OBL) launched in 2001 and extended in 2006 until 2010 is behind the extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances (EDs) and other gross human rights violations(HRVs). Thus, these atrocities are State perpetrated and a result of State policy.,” the statement said.
The statement furthered that while OBL is a government’s policy supposedly aimed at the revolutionary forces of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP), government forces have however, also, if not mostly, targetted members and leaders of legal progressive organizations that they unjustly define as front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDFP.
This has put on their firing line civillian organizations such as the CPA and party lists: Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, etc.
CPA also said that this policy only serves to protect corporate interests in the country especially large-scale mining by silencing oppositon from affected communities and the said progressive organizations in service.
The CPA hopes that the EU resolution will have a positive impact on HRV cases where the victims and their families and friends await long-delayed justice and exact state accountability.
CPA cited a number of separate incidents where military forces have killed 10 farmer-hunters in the Cordillera Region in 2001, the military justified the killings by labelling the victims as NPA guerillas; the killing of Albert Terredaño, a coordinator of the Confederation for the Unity and Recognition of Government employees in Abra and a member of the Abra Human Rights Advocates on November 25, 2006 by motorcycle riding men;
The assasination of CPA Regional Elder’s Desk coordinator and Kalinga BM Vice-Chairperson Markus Bangit on June 8, 2006 and the shooting of BM Kalinga Chairperson Dr. Chandu Claver on July 31, 2006 where Claver survived however his wife ALyce Omengan Claver who was with him was killed. last incident is the abduction of CPA member and researcher James Moy Balao on September 17, 2008. Balao remains missing until today.
The statement further stated that CPA appeals to the government to listen and act on the calls of the Europian Parliament to further investigate cases of EJKs and Enforced Disappearances; to put into place a monitoring mechanism to oversee the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators;
To adopt measures to end the systematic intimidation and harassment of political and human rights activists, members of civil society, journalists and witnesses in criminal prosecutions, and to ensure truly effective witness protection; and
For the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to allow the UN special bodies dealing with human rights protection unrestricted access to the country; as it urges, the authorities to swiftly adopt and implement laws to incorporate the international human rights instruments (e.g. against torture and EDs) which was recently ratified into national law. # www.nordis.net