The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) strongly condemns the recent spate of killings of human rights defenders as we support the indignation rally today in front of the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Killed in Sorsogon City last June 15 by motorcycle-riding assailants were Ryan Hubila, 22, and Nelly Bagasala, 69. Both were staffers of the human rights group Karapatan and were previously threatened and harassed by elements of the 31st IB of the Philippine Army.
Two days later, on June 17 in Naga City, Neptali Morada, 45, former campaign committee head of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Bicol, regional Bayan Muna head and a member of the Students Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), was also gunned down.
The Bicol region is among the poorest regions in the country and included in President Duterte’s Memo Order No. 32 extending martial law from Mindanao. These regions, along with Negros and Samar, were hit hard by military attacks.
In Mindanao, KASAMA-Bukidnon member, farmer Leogildo ‘Nonoy’ Palma was gunned down outside his residence by three assailants on board a motorcycle on the 16th of June. One of the gunmen was recognized as a local militiaman. He was shot in front of his wife and child. Before the incident, Palma endured surveillance and harassment from soldiers of the 81st IBPA and Alamara paramilitary group.
Attacks on human rights defenders has already caught the attention of 11 United Nations rapporteurs and human rights experts who issued a rare joint statement on June 7 calling on the UN to conduct an independent investigation of a “staggering” number of summary killings and attacks on human rights workers committed with impunity.
We call on all human rights defenders and advocates to denounce the killings under President Duterte and support the Filipino people’s struggle for justice. #
Peter Murphy, Chairperson
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines