An Open Letter to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

RE: Illegal arrest and detention and trumped-up charges against trade union organizer Marklen Maojo Maga

24 February 2018

Dear Mr. President,

The Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR) strongly condemns the recent abduction and illegal arrest of union organizer, MARKLEN MAOJO MAGA on February 22nd 2018 by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Maojo Maga, is a union organizer with Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)/First Labor Movement, an independent national labour centre in the Philippines. Majo Maga, is a full- time union organizer in Central Luzon, which is home to at least 1,757 factories and nearly 143,698 workers. Majo Maga organizes workers in the port areas and in the factory belts in Central Luzon.

After dropping off his son at school in San Mateo, Rizal, Maojo Maga was
abducted by plainclothes men who later identified themselves as elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP). He was neither told that he was being arrested nor was he read out his rights. He was handcuffed and blindfolded and his family and lawyers were only notified of his arrest much later that night. Maojo Maga is charged with the murder of an unnamed soldier in Agusan Del Sur, Mindanao in the southernmost area of the Philippines. He is also charged with illegal possession of a .45 caliber pistol with a clip of seven bullets of ammunition, the standard short arm of the PNP. His family and colleagues believe that the gun was planted by the military when he was taken and that these charges are trumped up charges, as shown in other arrests of activists and community organizers. Two days before Maojo Maga was taken, the PNP had accused him of being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and of the New People’s Army (NPA), which have been labelled as “terrorist” organizations by the Duterte government.

The criminalization of union organizing and other forms of dissent in the Philippines is an old tactic used by the Philippine government, the military and the police to delegitimize the people’s right to dissent, unionize and demand their rights as workers. This was evident in the mass arrests of union workers in the banana plantation in Compostela Valley, Mindanao as members of the NPA. Since Rodrigo Duterte’s taking power, 22 union activists have already been killed.

The arrest of Maojo Maga follows that of his father-in-law Rafael Baylosis who was earlier arrested and detained on charges of illegal possession of firearms. Baylosis is a consultant of the member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the Peace Negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. The arrest and detention of Baylosis violates the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), a peace agreement that assures all consultants and members of the NDFP negotiating panel immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation.

Mr. President, as defenders of human rights, we want to let you know that your fascist attacks against the Filipino people, the people you sworn to protect, will not be tolerated, particularly in the international community.

CPSHR demands the immediate release of Marklen Maojo Maga, Rafael Baylosis and all political prisoners in the Philippines. We demand a stop to the use of trumped up charges against members of unions and people’s organizations thus, criminalizing legitimate dissent.

We demand a stop to the systematic repression of progressive forces who that dare to speak out against the violent and anti-people policies of the government.

We remind the government that 32 years ago, in 1986, a people’s uprising took down the Marcos dictatorship. The Duterte government cannot suppress a people’s movement that grows in strength and power, which expands in every city and village and is strongly embraced by the masses because its resistance and defiance is just and righteous.

Furthermore WE CALL for the Philippine government to:

Continue the peace talks and build towards the advancement of Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which includes the issue of free land distribution to farmers and  farm workers;

Pursue its commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which includes the right to freedom of thought and expression, freedom of conscience, political beliefs and practices and the right not to be punished or held accountable for the exercise of these rights, and the right to free speech, press, association and assembly; and

Adhere and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory.




*The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR), is a solidarity organization that works for the defence and protection of human rights in the Philippines.


H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: [email protected] or send message through

Hon. Jesus Dureza
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline: 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: [email protected]

Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: [email protected]

Hon. Petronila P. Garcia
Ambassador, Philippine Embassy Ottawa
email: [email protected]

Hon. Frank Neil Ferrer
Consul General, Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver, BC
Email: [email protected]


Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)

4794 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC V5V 4H3
Email: [email protected]

For reference: Adrian She


Member: International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-Canada)/
Stop the Killings Network (STKN-Canada)/ International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Canada)/International Women’s Alliance (IWA)/ Mining Justice Alliance (MJA)

Associate Member: International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA)
Partner: Eco-Justice Working Unit, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster/ Justice Advisory Circle- United Church of Canada/Alliance for People’s Health (APH)
Proud Supporter of Bayan-Canada/Migrante-Canada

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