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Uphold Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law! End State Terror! Address the Roots of the Armed Conflict in the Philippines!


December 10, 2023

Another year has passed in the Marcos Presidency but the machinery of state terror, including the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Anti-Terror Law, built during the US-Duterte Regime, remain in place. The Anti-Terrorism Act with its broad sweeping powers and the NTF-ELCAC, along with the Philippine National Police (PNP)and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), continue to operate as mechanisms to crush dissent and to violate the civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of citizens. 

The Philippines continues to be a killing ground for perceived political dissidents, community organizers, indigenous people, rights advocates, and alleged drug suspects. As we mark the 75th commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ICHRP denounces the ongoing attacks and violations of the rights of the Filipino people by the Marcos Jr administration. But on a more optimistic note we are heartened by the recent joint statement of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) signalling a potential resumption of the peace process that had been abruptly ended by the fascist Duterte government in November 2017.

ICHRP looks positively on the statements of both parties that the roots of the armed conflict need to be addressed. There are a number of important agreements that have been signed by both parties over the years including The Hague Joint Declaration in 1992, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) in 1995, and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in 1998. ICHRP Chairperson Peter Murphy commented that “these previous agreements should be considered more than isulat sa tubig (write it on water) by the GRP as that would undermine the credibility of their commitment to respect the terms of any future agreements.

“ICHRP urges the parties to move on and continue their previous work towards a Compressive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms to be able to address the roots of the armed conflict,” said Murphy. 

“While ICHRP is hopeful that substantive negotiations are steps toward achieving a just and lasting peace we remain deeply concerned about the ongoing level of repression, oppression and exploitation experienced by the Filipino people,” Murphy said. 

At least 13 peace consultants have been murdered by the Philippine government since it withdrew from the peace talks with the NDFP in 2017. Most recently, NDFP peace consultant Rogelio Posadas was arrested and summarily executed by state agents on April 20, 2023. The killing of Posadas came just days after the announcement of the deaths of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon NDFP negotiating panel member and consultants. They were reportedly captured with eight others in August 2022, tortured, killed, and their bodies placed in a boat which was later blown up by the military. Other recent victims in the killing spree against peace consultants rendered hors de combat by the AFP include Erickson Acosta, peasant organizer Joseph Jimenez arrested and then executed in Negros Occidental, on November 30, 2022, and Pedro Codaste on January 21, 2022. “These cases of abduction, torture and execution by the AFP represent clear violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL),” said Murphy. “These killings must stop and the perpetrators must be held accountable.”

We look at the situation in the Philippines in the context of other blatant violations of IHL across the globe such as in: Manipur; Myanmar; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Sudan; Yemen; Karabagh; Gaza and elsewhere. In Gaza, where there are documented daily occurrences of indiscriminate bombings of hospitals, schools, refugee camps and evacuation centres, there is the absolute failure of international mechanisms to prevent such atrocities. The failure of global institutions to safeguard and address the ongoing genocide in Palestine and other parts of the world raises troubling concerns about such violations in the Philippines. Typically, such attacks on civilians, with the exception of the atrocities committed by the AFP in Marawi City, occur in remote and isolated rural areas largely invisible to the international community.

Numerous incidents of IHL violations including hamletting, red-tagging, harassment of civilians, and indiscriminate firing and bombing of communities were reported this year in different areas of the Philippines, including Cagayan Valley, Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Negros Island, and Mindanao. Rural areas of Negros continued to be the scene of ongoing state violence. Several hinterland villages of Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, were subjected to artillery shelling last August 5, 2023, by the 62nd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, for one-and-a-half hours, from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. There were similar reports from the Cordillera region where in March 2023 in Balbalan, Kalinga, residents were unable to see to the irrigation of their rice terraces due to the 5th Infantry Division’s indiscriminate and intensive aerial bombing and artillery firing followed by the massive entry of ground troops into their villages. In June 2023 Karapatan indicated that they had documented up to 6,931 victims of aerial bombings and artillery strikes in the first year of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s rule.

The media also remains under attack from the Marcos government. Journalist, Frenchie Mae Cumpio, remains behind bars facing trumped-up charges. Marcos Jr has not reinstated the broadcast franchise of ABS-CBN suspended by the Duterte Regime. Journalists also continue to be killed by state actors under the Marcos Jr government, including the recent death of Juan Jumalon (DJ Johnny Walker), whose November 5th killing was live streamed as he was in the middle of an on-air broadcast. The Philippines remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist, with 179 journalists killed since end of the Marcos Sr. Dictatorship in February 1986.

The Marcos Jr. government claims it is addressing the drug war killings, however the Third World Studies Centre reported on June 26, 2023, that there had been 336 “drug-related” killings since Marcos Jr. became president, most during law enforcement anti-drug operations.

Clearly, domestic remedies have failed under both Duterte and Marcos Jr., as elements of the judiciary are complicit in the ongoing war on dissent, using the bench to support military and police attacks on dissenters through warrants of search and arrest that frequently ended in the summary killing of the accused. The courts continue to be used as an element of repression, one element in the entire machinery of the state which has been weaponized in the fascist whole-of-nation approach to target opponents.

In this context we urge the international community and international institutions to stand with the victims and those who struggle for democracy and human rights in the Philippines. We call for continued pressure through international mechanisms and international solidarity to push the Philippine government to action. To this end, we call for:

  1. the Philippine government to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC) and allow it to conduct investigations in the Philippines related to the alleged Crime Against Humanity of murder and other violations of International Humanitarian Law by the Duterte government.
  2. the International Criminal Court to pursue its case against former President Duterte and his senior officials, to follow the evidence and give voice to the victims.
  3. the Philippine government to stop the bombings of civilian communities and production areas in the countryside and other grave violations of International Humanitarian Law. 
  4. the Marcos Jr. government to respect all previously signed peace agreements with the NDFP and release the 791 political prisoners who remain in detention, and to remove the terrorist designation of the NDFP and Luis Jalandoni and others as a confidence building measures for the peace process. 
  5. the suspension of all international aid to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and counter-terrorism programs which would place weapons in the hands of those committing these grave human rights and IHL violations.
  6. the Philippine government to uphold human rights and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols of 1977.

Further comment: Peter Murphy, ICHRP Chairperson, +61418312301
[email protected]

ICHRP: Stop the Bombings, Uphold International Humanitarian Law!


December 4, 2023

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) vehemently calls for an end to the bombing of rural communities in the Philippines as well as to violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Both are being perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) through the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program.

These aerial bombings have devastated the lives of tens of thousands of civilians in the rural areas. 

From 2017 to mid-2022, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reportedly used at least 591 bombs and 589 artillery shells in 74 rounds of aerial strafing and 56 incidents of bombing under former President Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan. 

From July 2022 to November 30, 2023, human rights organization Karapatan has documented 39,769 victims of indiscriminate firing perpetrated by the Philippine military, while at least 22,391 individuals were affected by bombings in rural and indigenous communities. Around 25,000 people have been forcibly displaced from their communities depriving them of their sources of livelihood. Through the NTF-ELCAC’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), more than 500 individuals have been forced to present themselves as “surrenderees”.

Destruction of property and displacements usually happen in cases of aerial bombardments including  crops, and livestock. Civilians are also restricted from tending to their farms. In some cases, the repeated bombing of agricultural fields disturbs the soil’s acidity level, which renders it useless for farming, effectively removing farmers’ source of livelihood. The indiscriminate and disproportionate conduct of the bombings which endangers the lives of civilians violates both the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), as well as the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols of 1977.

Among the recent and prominent cases of IHL violations include the massacre of the Fausto family allegedly carried out by the 94th Infrantry Batallion in Negros Occidental last June 16 2023, and the reported brutal killing of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, along with eight other hors de combat on Samar island last August 2022 by the Philippine Army.

While the signing of the Oslo Communique between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) last November 23 is a significant breakthrough in re-starting the peace process, ICHRP calls on its international allies to amplify calls to stop the bombings, suspend all military aid to the Philippines, uphold international humanitarian law, and support the Filipino people’s struggle for a just and lasting peace.

Register Now for International Interfaith Call for Prayer for Freedom of Religion: Ending Red-tagging and Resuming the Peace Talk


When: December 8, 2023, at 6:30am PST / 9:30am EST / 3:30pm CEST / 10:30pm PHT.
Topic: International Interfaith Call for Prayer for Freedom of Religion: Ending Red-tagging and Resuming the Peace Talk
Register in advance for this webinar at

Friends in faith,

We are pleased to announce the next event in the calendar of the ICHRP International Interfaith Network, a network of dozens of faith organizations and individuals from around the world who are united in defending human rights in the Philippines.

This upcoming webinar is part of our initiative to expose the impacts of red-tagging and counter-insurgency on the faith community and the ongoing work of ICHRP. This event is being held in acknowledgement of International Human Rights Day on December 10, as well as the 75th anniversary of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. Please register at the link above.

ICHRP applauds joint statement towards re-start of peace talks between Manila government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines


November 20, 2023

Seemingly against all odds, the new Marcos Jr administration sent out feelers for peace talks to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) within a few months of inauguration, and the result is the announcement this week that a significant four-paragraph communique was signed at the Oslo City Hall on November 23, 2023, to re-start the on-again, off-again talks which began over 30 years ago. 

“The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) unreservedly applauds the Oslo Communique which will enable a renewed effort to reach a just and lasting peace by addressing the root causes of the social conflict in the Philippines,” said Peter Murphy, the ICHRP Chairperson.

By choosing November 23 for the signing, the Marcos Jr administration sent a firm rebuff to the predecessor Duterte administration which terminated the peace talks by Proclamation 360 on November 23, 2017.

The NDFP has always expressed willingness to proceed with peace talks to address the roots of the armed conflict , but was extremely disappointed when Duterte closed the door. The negotiating panels were ready to sign a substantive portion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and even after that, in 2018, were poised to sign a major ceasefire agreement. Duterte’s decision began the bloody “whole-of-nation” effort to crush the armed rebellion and the civilian national democratic movement.

The Oslo Joint Statement is the outcome of a series of informal discussions held in the Netherlands and Norway starting in 2022, initiated by former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista (Ret.) and facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG). The initiative was personally welcomed by then NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison.

“The joint statement is the result of the Filipino people’s struggle for a genuine just and lasting peace that remains strong and undeterred despite political setbacks and ongoing counterinsurgency that cannot crush the people’s united will to fight for change,” said Murphy.

“The Philippine security forces captured, tortured and murdered the senior leadership team of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in August 2022, and then the CPP founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison died on December 16, 2022, but the armed struggle and the broader national democratic movement did not collapse. Rather it appears stronger than ever,” said Murphy. 

“But for the talks to resume in good faith, the Marcos Jr administration needs to meet a bare minimum of requirements, starting with honoring past agreements from the peace negotiations such as the Comprehensive Agreement for Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL),  Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and a repeal of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of the GRP that designates the NDFP as a terrorist organization.”

At a media conference on November 28, the NDFP leaders said that they would propose the release of imprisoned NDFP Peace Consultants as they are needed in the talks, assurance of security and immunity guarantees for all involved in the negotiations, the release of all political prisoners – now 791, and the removal of the terrorist designation of the CPP, NPA and NDFP by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

They explained that the talks will start in 2024, no date has been set, and everything is on the table. A very high priority for the NDFP is that all previous agreements in the peace talks are reaffirmed.

Here is the full text of the Joint Statement:

“Cognizant of the serious socioeconomic and environmental issues, and the foreign security threats facing the country, the parties recognize the need to unite as a nation in order to urgently address these challenges and resolve the reasons for the armed conflict.

The parties agree to a principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict. Resolving the roots of the armed conflict and ending the armed struggle shall pave the way for the transformation of the CPP-NPA-NDFP.

The parties acknowledge the deep-rooted socio-economic and political grievances and agree to come up with a framework that sets the priorities for the peace negotiation with the aim of achieving the relevant socioeconomic and political reforms towards a just and lasting peace. Such framework, that will set the parameters for the final peace agreement, shall be agreed upon by both parties.

Consequently, we envision and look forward to a country where a united people can live in peace and prosperity.”

It was signed by the GRP represented by the Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Ernesto F. Lagdameo Jr.; Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr.; and Gen Emmanuel T. Bautista (Ret.) and by the NDFP represented by National Executive Council Member Luis G. Jalandoni; Negotiating Panel Interim Chairperson Julieta de Lima; and Panel Member Coni K. Ledesma. The signing was witnessed by the RNG Special Envoy Kristina Lie Revheim. The RNG Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide also attended the signing ceremony.

Further comment: Peter Murphy +61 418 312 301

ICHRP Completes Successful General Assembly and Conference


November 29, 2023

From November 6-9, over 120 human rights advocates from over 30 organizations across the globe attended ICHRP’s Conference on US Counterinsurgency and its Impacts on Aspirations for Peace in the Philippines and its 4th Global Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand. Labour, Peasant, Faith, Indigenous and Women’s and Human Rights defenders bore witness to the ongoing impacts of US counterinsurgency tactics in the Philippines and planned how to expand and advance the solidarity movement for a just and lasting peace and people’s rights in the Philippines under the new Marcos regime. 

Conference on US Counterinsurgency

The conference exposed the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including indiscriminate aerial bombings, hamletting, extra-judicial killings, disappearances, intensifying suppression of civil liberties, slanderous designation of respected leaders as terrorists via the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), and relentless red-tagging of activists, progressive organizations, and solidarity activists via the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Edith Burgos of the Karapatan National Council, identified the counterinsurgency programs of the Marcos government as “responsible for the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines and escalating violations of International Humanitarian Law directed against the Filipino people.”

Burgos’ criticism of Marcos’ counterinsurgency programs exposed that the human rights atrocities committed by the Philippine military and police are not only aided and abetted by US military aid (over 1 billion US dollars since 2015) and the presence of nine US military bases in the country – but patterned after US counterinsurgency tactics. 

Suzanne Adely, President of the US National Lawyers Guild, explained counterinsurgency as “the organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region.” She noted that the US has employed counterinsurgency tactics since its colonial operations in the Philippines began in 1898. She further pointed out how the use of the term “insurgency” attempts to delegitimize people’s resistance, including armed resistance, as “terrorism,” and drew parallels between the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation and the Filipino people’s fight against the US-backed Marcos Jr. regime. 

Edre Olalia, President of the National Union of People’s Lawyers in the Philippines, explained the significance of International Humanitarian Law in the context of the current situation in the Philippines. Olalia expounded that contrary to US counterinsurgency doctrine, armed resistance movements in response to the severe oppression of peoples is legal under the Geneva conventions, and further emphasized the importance of the protection of civilians and non- combatants in the context of civil war.  

ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy emphasized the critical role of solidarity in supporting the Filipino people’s aspirations for a just and lasting peace that is free from the injustice of poverty, landlessness, and state repression. He reflected on ICHRP’s role in investigating and exposing the dire human rights situation as well as coordinating an election observers mission which found massive fraud, vote-buying, red-tagging and intimidation during the 2022 elections. 

“The devastating number of attacks that continue under the Marcos Jr. regime in the Philippines – the many disappearances, the forced surrenderees, and the killings of NDFP peace consultants, are all violations of international humanitarian law done in the guise of US-designed counterinsurgency programs. The international community must oppose these.”

4th General Assembly

The Conference also saw ICHRP renew its leadership group with new members elected to the ICHRP Global Council:

  • Claire Chastain (Catalonia), representing the Catalan Association for Peace (ACPAU), incoming Deputy Secretary General;
  • Sheryl Cadman (New Zealand), representing Aotearoa-Philippine Solidarity;
  • Doug Booker (Canada), representing Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines;
  • Drew Miller (USA), incoming General Secretary, representing Katarungan Washington DC; and
  • Jessie Braverman (USA), representing Kalikasan Solidarity Organization in Portland, Oregon.

In addition, returning global council  members include:

  • Peter Murphy (Australia), re-elected ICHRP Chairperson from Philippines-Australia Union Link;
  • Rev. Jeong Jin-Woo (Korea) of Diaspora Church, outgoing ICHRP Vice-Chairperson, incoming member-at-large;
  • Rev. Patricia Lisson (Canada), newly elected ICHRP Vice Chairperson;
  • Jennifer Del Rosario-Malonzo (IBON International); and
  • Rev. Sadie Stone (USA) of the United Methodist Church California-Nevada Regional Taskforce.

For their dedicated service to ICHRP and solidarity with the Filipino people against tyranny and in their ongoing struggle for basic democratic, social and economic rights, ICHRP thanks the previous and departing global council members: John Witeck (Hawaii), Archbishop Joris Vercammen (Netherlands), Luciano Sellers (Italy), Ma Jai (Hong Kong), Rev Michael Yoshii (USA). 

Thirty-one of ICHRP’s growing number of member organizations were able to attend the conference. The conference saw membership expansion to new regions such as India and Catalonia. Organizations from Canada to India, France to Australia committed to strengthening solidarity support for the Filipino people, continuing to conduct broad education and information dissemination on the situation in the Philippines, lobby their respective government bodies, and oppose foreign support for war crimes in the country. 

The Assembly also included a first post-pandemic face-to-face meeting of members of the global interfaith network attended by about 30 members including the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines and a round table on Labour which included representatives from the KMU, the CGT in France and labour activists from New Zealand, Australia, the US and other parts of Europe.  

The Global Assembly also revised the by-laws (eliminating the staff position of global coordinator and shifting those responsibilities to the elected position of General Secretary), and approved a three-year program and comprehensive action plan. In light of the intensifying counterinsurgency under the Marcos regime, the general assembly united on resolutions to wage campaigns against the Anti-Terror Act, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and to Stop the Bombings in the Philippines. We look forward to working with our global network to build and strengthen solidarity through this plan and around other emerging issues over the next three years.

In solidarity,
ICHRP Global Council