December 26, 2010 in Uncategorized
By ALEX GARCIA
CANDON, Ilocos Sur–The sun was hot on the morning of December 10 as protesters marched in the streets to commemorate the day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was passed.
Around 250 protesters, mostly farmers from the different provinces of the region rallied to challenge President Noynoy Aquino to protect and uphold human rights.
At the rally, a portrait of President Aquino was merged with that of former President Arroyo’s to show that the there is no change in the situation of human rights from the old to the present administrations.
According to Antonio Pugyao, vice chairperson of the Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop Exploitation), told the people that with only six months in power, there are already 22 extra-judicial killings of activists, mass leaders and farmers under the Aquino administration.
“Damagen yo siguro nu anya ti basul dagitoy nga 22 nga tattao, awan ti basulda nga krimen dagitoy! Ti lang basul da ti gobyerno ket iti panang-organisa da dagiti bukod da nga unyon, bukod da nga asosasyon iti bukod da nga sektor. Ibagbagak kadakayo ay-ayaten mi nga kakailian, nga saan nga krimen ti panag-organisa ti bukod na nga gimong, nu di ketdi daytoy ket nailaon ti mabukbukudan tayo nga 1987 Constitution. Ibagbaga na idiay nga tunggal maysa iti kagimungan ket adda karbengan na nga ag-organisa,”
(Maybe you ask what crime has these 22 people committed? None, they are innocent! Their only crime was that they organized themselves into unions, associations, in their own sectors. I am telling you, my countrymen, it is not a crime to organize amongst ourselves as it is written in our 1987 Constitution that it is the right of every citizen to organize themselves) said Pugyao.
There are already two victims of extra-judicial killings in the Ilocos region- farmers Nicholas Ramos and Elmer Valdez, both were shot by members of the Philippine Army.
Elmer’s father, Rizalino, was present at the rally and recounted how his son, who was only gathering bamboo for their house, was killed by the military and then later was tagged a member of the New Peoples Army (NPA).
It took Rizalino and his family three days before they found and retrieved Elmer’s body.
“Daydiay kadi ti napintas nga gobyerno yo. Dakayo nga militar, patayen yo ti sibilyan, ibaga yo nga NPA. Isu nga kadakayo nga suldado nga map-mapan diay ayan mi,dakayo nga lampong, agtaktakaw ti lamuten da didiay ket pumanaw kayo idiay ayan mi. (Is this your good government? You soldiers who kill civilians, and tag them members of the NPA. So you soldiers who go to our communities, you longhaired (bewigged) thieves who steal food, get out! leave our place! ) said Rizalino.
Rizalino then addressed the military, “Isu nga nu mabalin koma ket ikkan yo kuma ti hustisya na, daydiay anak ko nga pinatay nga awan ti kalaban-laban na. Sibilyan nga ammo yo,apay pinatay yo? Di kayo laketdi naasyanen. Tatta, panpaneknekan yo nga maysa nga sibilyan diay anak ko. Isu nga tatta, masapol kuma nga dakayo ket pumanaw ditoyen ta natalna ditoy ayan mi. Nu kayat yo nga sapulen iti NPA, ingkau sapulen no adinno ayan da ta isu ti kagubat yo nu talaga nga kaya yo ti pumatay. Haan nga dakami nga sibilyan ti irurumen yo,” (It is but rightful to seek justice for my son who you killed without mercy. You knew that he was a civilian, why did you kill him? You have no mercy. Now that is has been proven that my son was a civilian, leave us be! Because our place is peaceful. If you want to look for the NPA, go search them where they are, go fight them if you really can. Do not turn on us/ oppress us civilians).
Progressive groups in the region have repeatedly called for the pull-out of the 50th 86th Infantry Batallion and the 503rdBrigade of the Philippine Army for their human rights violations in Ilocos Sur.
For Rev. Agosto Dosdosen, Chair of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA-KARAPATAN), the commemoration of the UDHR is a good time to “call for, assert and to hold accountable the people who violated the rights of the masses”.
Rev. Dosdosen commented that while the Philippines is the primary Christian country in Asia, it is laden with corruption and human rights violations. He then called on all people, especially the Christians, to join the fight to seek justice for the victims of human rights violations.
“Tumulong sana kayo na itaguyod at ipaglaban ang hustisya para sa mga biktima ng karapatang pantao na pinatay ng mga taong nagsasabing magsasalba sa kanila. Ang mga nasa poder, the one who created the law, sila ang nangungunang violator sa batas na ginawa nila. Dahil dito, sa araw na ito, ang taong simbahan ay lumalaban para sa bayan (I hope that you join us uphold and fight for justice for the victims of human rights violations who were killed by the same people who said would protect them. Those who are in power, the one who created the law, they are the primary violators
of the law that they made. It is for this reason, on this day, that people of the church are fighting for the the nation”, said Dosdosen.#nordis.net