Abra group asks Duterte to uphold human rights

By RONALD GUSTILO
www.nordis.net

BANGUED, Abra — The Abra-based group and provincial chapter of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan (Kastan CPA-Abra) said today that they call on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to promote unity and human rights, and ensure that justice is served to the victims of human rights violations in past administrations.

“We welcome President-elect Duterte’s position on several issues, such as resolving the armed conflict between the CPP-NPA-NDFP and the GPH, environmental protection, human rights and labor rights, among others. To work on promoting peace and unity, Duterte must ensure that justice is served to all victims of human rights violations. We are hoping to work with him for a better nation,” said Villamor Pati, chairperson of Kastan CPA-Abra.

Pati however, expressed that Kastan is wary of “wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing” within Duterte’s cabinet. It can be recalled that Duterte is set to appoint former AFP Chief Of Staff Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. as the national security adviser and Carlos Dominguez as Department of Finance Secretary.

“Esperon is a former Chief-Of-Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He has been a strong implementer of the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) which severely terrorized communities throughout the Philippines .The OBL led to thousands of cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights violations in the country. To name a few, the victims under his watch include CPA pioneer member James Balao who was abducted by the AFP and remains missing up to now; the extrajudicial killings of respected CPA leaders Markus Bangit, Albert Terredaño, Alyce Claver and other leaders of peoples’ organizations.

Meanwhile, Dominguez was a former director of Lafayette mines which caused the mining disaster in Rapu-rapu, Albay resulting to the displacement of residents and destruction of the environment. Appointing these two could send the wrong message to the public,” added Pati.

The group also called on the incoming Duterte administration to ensure that justice is served to victims of human rights violations of past regimes, as part of Duterte administration’s human rights program. It can be recalled that in Abra, several cases of human rights violations under the Aquino administration were recorded, such as the massacre of the Ligiw family (March 2014), the extrajudicial killing of Engr. Fidela Salvador, the use of civilians as human shields in a combat operation by the 41st IB which led to the death of Noel Viste (September 2014), and the violations of the International Humanitarian Law with the brutal killing of members of the New Peoples Army in Tineg (October 2013) and Lacub (September 2014). # nordis.net

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