Stop the militarization of relief and rehabilitation operations in Typhoon Pablo areas!
GRP President Benigno Aquino Jr.,
GRP Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),
Philippine Commission on Human Rights,
United Nations Committee on Human Rights (UNCHR)
Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
We, the undersigned declare our international solidarity pledge to provide stronger support for the Typhoon Pablo and Crising survivors by being more active in campaigns against corporate logging, foreign-dominated mining operating in Pablo affected communities, and in campaigns that expose the militarization and corruption of relief assistance, human rights violations of Pablo survivors, and to oppose the planned civil military operations of US military troops in these communities.
We also send a special message of solidarity to the Pablo survivors in Baganga, Davao Oriental which to date the military continues to rule under a de-facto martial law, occupying the municipal government offices and civilian communities, making it very difficult for even national and international interfaith delegations to bring humanitarian relief.
With Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 up to Oplan Bayanihan, the human rights violations in Southern Mindanao have intensified – from the government’s criminal neglect of the basic needs of the people to militarization of civilian communities and military occupation of civilian structures such as schools and barangay halls. We condemn these on-going international war crimes. These operations involving more than 12,000 government military troops resulted in furthering military hamletting, harassment, and human rights abuses in the most storm-ravaged areas.
We hold President Aquino accountable for the criminal neglect and repression of the Filipino people, especially the victims of typhoons Pablo and Crising.
We likewise condemn the government’s collusion with foreign multi-national corporations such as Japanese-owned SUMIFRU and Korean-owned Freshman-ROTTO, further eroding the already fragile livelihood for agricultural workers through contractualization and destroying job security as well as the worsening economic conditions for the banana growers, all in the interests of foreign corporations and major governmental officials.
In particular, we vehemently condemn:
- the extra-judicial killing of indigenous food protest leader and Bayan Muna member Cristina Jose as she exposed the militarization of relief and rehabilitation operations in Baganga, Davao Oriental, Mindanao;
- the red tagging and discrimination of protesting typhoon survivors; the lack of transparency and accountability for the government’s humanitarian relief efforts, and the negligence and complicity of the Republic of the Philippines government in creating and worsening these conditions;
- the militarization of typhoon and disaster-affected communities and US-intervention through Oplan Bayanihan;
- the massive logging and large-scale export-oriented mining that have exacerbated climate change conditions for Pablo and ravaged already vulnerable environment; and
- the Philippine government for enacting laws that exacerbate the plunder of natural resources and land-grabbing, violating the economic, cultural and political rights of the people to live a decent and sustainable life.
We recognize that the situation in Southern Mindanao is a microcosm of human rights violations, government corruption and militarization throughout the Philippines. But despite their dire situation, the people of Southern Mindanao continue to struggle to build a hopeful future for themselves and their children. And if this is true in Southern Mindanao, it is also true across the Philippines. It is an inspiration of hope for people around the world who continue to struggle for justice and peace.
Thus, we demand that the Aquino government:
- Immediately withdraw the military from civilian communities especially in disaster-stricken areas to end the militarization of relief and rehabilitation operations in Southern Mindanao;
- Implement genuine relief and rehabilitation services for Typhoon Pablo survivors and stop criminalizing people’s initiatives and protests;
- Reinstate the agricultural workers laid off from their jobs and make SUMIFRU and ROTTO to account for the violation of worker’s economic and human rights;
- Investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the extrajudicial killing of Cristina Jose;
- Withdraw the trumped-up charges filed against the 8 leaders of Barug Katawhan and support groups who participated in the Montevista Barricade on January 15, 2013;
- Provide an audit to account for the billions of pesos donated by the EU, US, UN and other state-entities to shed light on the corruption of Typhoon Pablo relief funds;
- Implement the CAHRIHL and other international humanitarian laws that uphold the human rights of the people; and
- Immediately resume the peace talks to start the dialogue regarding urgently needed social and economic reforms.
37 International Solidarity Mission Delegates from US, Canada, Spain, United Kingdom, and Mexico and the following delegates of the International Conference for Peace and Human Rights for Peace in the Philippines.
Petition of Support for the Survivors of Typhoon Pablo
Stop the Militarization of Relief and Rehabilitation Operations in Typhoon Pablo Areas!
20 July 2013