“The human rights situation under the Aquino administration is as worrisome as the situation during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Perpetrators from state security forces are not being held accountable for their crimes, and much worse, they get juicy promotions, thereby keeping and perpetuating themselves in power.” – Ecumenical Voice
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – An ecumenical group of human rights advocates will bring to the attention of the international community the worsening human rights situation in the country.
The Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice), a network of human rights and faith-based organizations, will participate in the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on March 9 to March 20.
In a statement, the EcuVoice said it will raise before the UN body the unabated extrajudicial killings of political activists and the Aquino administration’s incompetence in addressing the needs of typhoon Yolanda victims.
According to human rights alliance Karapatan, there have been six cases of extrajudicial killings for the past six weeks alone.
Julieto Lauron, a peasant organizer, was shot dead on February 5 in Valencia City, Bukidnon. His companion, Nermie Lapatis, was wounded. The day after, on February 6, father and son Rosauro and Rasty Rayteran were killed in San Pascual village, Libon, Albay. Rosauro was a member of Albay People’s Organization and Bayan Muna Partylist. Before the incident, Rosauro had been receiving death threats. The manner of attacks for the two incidents is the same. The victims were shot dead by men riding in tandem on a motorcycle.
Last month, on January 3, Marcelo Monterona, a member of a local farmers’ organization in Maco, Compostela Valley, was shot dead in front of his daughter. Arman Padino, a farmer at Hacienda Dolores in Porac, Pampanga died at a hospital from a gunshot wound after security guards of corporations claiming ownership of the hacienda fired at him and his two companions on January 13. Henry Orbina, a worker of the BMH Manpower Services died instantly on January 30 after policemen detailed at the an outpost in Cabid-an, Sorsogon City shot at him and his colleague, Bryan Gallega. Gallega survived the attack but was eventually arrested, detained and charged with common crimes.
“BS Aquino’s military and police death squads are like wild dogs on a killing spree, slaying one victim a week this 2014. The trend is an alarming signal of the rising suppression of legitimate protests against the Aquino administration’s anti-poor policies, especially in the rural communities,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
According to Karapatan, since Aquino assumed the presidency in June 2010 until December 2013, there have been 169 victims of extrajudicial killing, 825 victims of illegal arrest, 13,528 victims of demolition and 63, 077 victims of threats and harassment.
“The human rights situation under the Aquino administration is as worrisome as the situation during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Perpetrators from state security forces are not being held accountable for their crimes, and much worse, they get juicy promotions, thereby keeping and perpetuating themselves in power,” Pastor Jerome Baris, national coordinator of the justice, peace and human rights program of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, (UCCP) and Ephraim Cortez, deputy secretary general of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), said in a statement. The two will represent the EcuVoice in the said UN sessions.
Some military officials implicated in the torture, abduction and killings of scores of activists were promoted by Aquino.
Baris and Cortez are also set to report on the increasing attacks against activists and rights defenders via fabricated charges filed against them by state security forces; killings of children and attacks against schools; the violent and forced eviction of urban poor dwellers in San Roque, Quezon City and in San Juan City; and the harassment and threats against typhoon victims in the Panay region by units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Instead of addressing the people’s urgent concerns and needs such as housing, relief and rehabilitation for typhoon victims, education, and livelihood, the Aquino administration suppresses the people’s voices through various schemes,” Baris and Cortez said.
The delegation is a follow-up engagement to the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines in 2012 and the review of the Philippine government’s compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).