“Karapatan strongly demands that Pres. Noynoy Aquino step down from office for his administration’s accountability for the 169 victims of extra-judicial killings, from July 2010 to December 2013, and for the 19 killed for this year alone, including the killing of our fellow human rights worker William Bugatti of Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) in Ifugao and the massacre of four miners in Caramoan, Camarines Sur,” said Cristina Palabay, national secretary general of Karapatan.
William Bugatti of CHRA was killed at 7:00pm last night, 25 March, along the Ifugao Highway in Bolog, Kiangan, Ifugao. Bugatti is among those included in the target list of the 86th Infantry Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Tinoc, Ifugao. He was tagged as “utak ng NPA” (New People’s Army) in the said list, along with CHRA secretary general Jude Baggo.
Small-scale miners Julio Labiano, Rene Labiano, Salem Virtus, and Jessie Brondia were reportedly massacred by Bantay Kalikasan Task Force of the Caramoan, Camarines Sur local government on 22 March 2014.
“The message is clear. All those who are critical of the Aquino administration are considered ‘enemies of the state’. Activists, human rights workers and civilians are being killed like flies by this government. The situation is akin to the killing spree of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s state forces in 2006 to create a chilling effect among the Filipino people, amid widspread discontent against the administration,” Palabay said.
Meanwhile, the human rights community in and out of the country are shocked by the massacre of the Ligiw family in Abra, and the killing of a former political prisoner Romeo Capalla. Messages of condemnation came in from various international human rights organizations calling for justice to the victims of extrajudicial killings.
“Mr. President, we are waiting to hear you publicly declaring that these killings must stop now,” International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP)-Toronto, Canada said in its open letter to Pres. Noynoy Aquino.
“Mr. President, we are deeply troubled by the deafening silence of your administration in the face of the brutal violence committed by state agents against citizens of your country. Your government’s commitment to human rights has lost credibility,” ICHRP Canada Chapter said.
“We call on the Philippine government to immediately order an independent, impartial and competent investigation into the killing of Freddie, Edgar and Licuben Ligiw and pull-out the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and all military troops from Abra to ensure that the investigation is independent and impartial,” ICHRP Canada continued.
Rev. Barry Naylor, Honorary President of the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (UK) and Chairperson of the Global Council of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines called on President Aquino to end the policy of automatically labelling, and targeting, of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the CPP” (Communisty Party of the Philippines) and “enemies of the state.”
“With all the demands for justice and peace coming from different countries, BS Aquino cannot turn a blind eye on the escalating number of killings. We will defy the increasing repression of the Aquino administration, and we will never be cowed,” Palabay ended.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.