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    Condemn killing, wounding of Human Rights defenders in Negros Oriental, recommit to Peace Talks with the NDFP

    Nov 30, 2017

    H.E. Rodrigo Duterte

    President of the Republic

    Malacañang Palace,

    JP Laurel St., San Miguel

    Manila Philippines

    E-mail: op@president.gov.ph or send message through http://president.gov.ph/contact-us/

    Condemn killing, wounding of Human Rights defenders in Negros Oriental, recommit to Peace Talks with the NDFP

    Dear Excellency,

    Our Coalition calls for your unqualified condemnation of the shooting of three members of a human rights fact-finding mission (FFM) by unnamed men at around 2:40pm, November 28, 2017, at Brgy. San Ramon, Bayawan, Negros Oriental.

    Elisa Badayos of Karapatan Central Visayas and Elioterio Moises, a barangay tanod and member of local peasant organization Mantapi Ebwan Farmers Association, were pronounced dead-on-arrival at a hospital in Bayawan. Another 23-year-old Kabataan partylist member remains in a critical condition.

    The 30-member FFM team were in the area to investigate and verify reported human rights violations due to intensified military operations there.

    This attack on human rights defenders was brutal and brazen. The perpetrators know they will enjoy impunity, as human rights have been officially disparaged under your Presidency. This killing and wounding case proves that those who dare to even ask what happened in a particular incident can be outright killed.

    This rapid shrinking of the space for human rights defenders is a direct result of your own public threats against human rights advocates, whereas all government should heed calls for justice and protection of the peoples’ rights. You can easily correct this extreme error by recognizing the great value of human rights defenders on the ground who voice out the real situation experienced by marginalized communities victimized by the military and police.

    Yet local regulations are allowed to suppress basic freedoms. Negros Oriental Provincial Ordinance no.5, s.2008, known as “An Ordinance Regulating Outreach Activities Through Medical and Fact-Finding Missions in the Countryside of Negros Oriental and for Other Purposes,” prohibits non-government organizations and other cause-based groups from conducting any humanitarian mission in Negros Oriental without seeking permission from the governor, municipal government and municipal police. Violators face six months of imprisonment and a fine of P5,000.

    A 30-member FFM Team arrived in the mission area in San Ramon, Bayawan on 11am on November 28, 2017. They were blocked and harassed by elements of the mayor’s private goons. Armed men inquired as to the purpose of the mission. They were eventually allowed to pass.

    At around 2:30pm, Badayos and the two others decided to go to the police station to file a blotter report regarding the harassment incident of 11am. They were accompanied by Moises. While on their way to the police station, they were shot at by unnamed gunmen, suspected to be the same armed men who blocked their entrance to the mission site. The shooting led to the death of Moises and Badayos. The 23-year-old Kabataan Partylist member was taken to a hospital in Dumaguete after sustaining gunshot wounds to her shoulder.

    Elisa Badayos is the wife of former labor leader and desaparecidos Jimmy Badayos.

    We condemn in the strongest terms this particular attack on human rights workers in Negros Oriental. We also condemn the recent harassment of human rights workers conducting factfinding missions in Batangas and Mindanao by state forces.

    We call for:

    1. The immediate investigation of the shooting to death of Elisa Badayos and Elioterio Moises, and the critical wounding by gunshot of the 23-year-old Kabataan partylist member, to be conducted by an independent body.
    2. Prosecution of the perpetrators of these murders and the critical wounding at San Ramon, Bayawan, Negros Oriental.
    3. Immediate repeal of Negros Oriental Provincial Ordinance no.5, s.2008
    4. Urgent re-starting of the Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on its current agenda item of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms to address the roots of the social conflict.
    5. An end to your administration’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan which encourages extra-judicial killings and the filing of trumped-up cases against activists, community leaders and civilians.
    6. The Philippine Government to pursue its commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL); and
    7. The Philippine Government to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments to which it is a signatory.

    Yours sincerely,

    Chairperson

    Global Council, ICHRP

    peter_murphy1_au@bigpond.com

    Cc

    Hon. Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, stqd.papp@opapp.gov.phfeedback@opapp.net

    Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary, Department of National Defense, info@dnd.gov.phwebmaster@dnd.gov.ph

    Vitaliano Aguirre, Secretary, Department of Justice, communications@doj.gov.ph

    Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

    Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon Ms Julie Bishop MHR foreignminister2013@dfat.gov.au

    Shadow Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Senator Penny Wong senator.wong@aph.gov.au

    Australian Greens Foreign Affairs Spokesperson senator.dinatale@aph.gov.au

    KARAPATAN karapatan@karapatan.org

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