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NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

BARED: 70 ACTVISTS INCLUDING 2 DEAD ON AQUINO's 'MILITARY HIT-LIST'
[“They make it appear as though we are criminals.”]


(CBBRC) CRISPIN BELTRAN'S BLOG: Ofel Beltran-Balleta did not know what to feel when she learned that her father, the late labor leader Crispin Beltran, is included on the military’s so-called “rogue gallery.”
Beltran, who died in an accident on May 20, 2008, is among the 70 activists who are on the list attached to criminal complaint filed in Davao City against scores of activists last May. “Kami nga naka-get over na, sila hindi pa,” Balleta told Bulatlat.com. “Naniniwala akong walang ipinanganak na bobo at tanga pero ano itatawag namin sa kanila?” (We have already moved on [after Crispin Beltran’s death], it seems the military hasn’t. I believe nobody is born dumb and stupid but what do you call them who included a dead man in the list?) Besides Beltran, environmentalist Francis Morales, who died of leukemia in November last year, is on the list. Also on the list are Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and Juliet de Lima, member of the NDFP negotiating panel. Since 1980s, both have been in exile in the Netherlands. For those who are alive, being on the list is a “threat to their life, liberty and security.” The list is an attachment to the formal charges of kidnapping, serious illegal detention and trafficking filed against 15 leaders and members of people’s organizations who visited the Lumad evacuees at the Haran center of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City. Over 700 Manobo from Talaingod, Davao del Norte have sought refuge at the Church compound since January due to heavy military operations. READ MORE...

ALSO: Two more lumad tribesmen slain


In this file photo from 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III shakes hands with lumad leader Dato Domaconog Doming Tumaytay of the Ata Manobo tribe during a visit to Sitio Talos in Barangay San Jose, Sto. Tomas, Davao Del Norte. PNA
TWO more lumad tribesmen were killed in Valencia City, Bukidnon, Sunday but the Army blamed the communist New People’s Army for the deaths. In a phone interview, Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, public affairs chief of the 4th Infantry Division, identified the victims as brothers Raymond Dayo Likanay, 31, and Roy, of legal age. He said the killers were members of the Guerilla Front 68 allegedly led by a certain Alexander Llesis alias Commander Bagwis. The NPA could not immediately be reached for comment. Earlier, five lumad tribesmen, including two minors, were killed in what the military called an armed encounter in Barangay Mendiz, Pangantucan, Bukidnon. But the human rights group Karapatan said the victims were not rebels, and that one of those slain was a blind man. Citing reports from the lumad community including one Datu Uba Lukbay Bayawon, Martinez said the Likanay brothers were allegedly held Monday morning by the rebels in the forested area where the two were hunting for wild animals.“Brutal silang pinatay ng NPA [They were brutally slain by the NPA] under the Guerilla Front 68,” he said. Martinez said the bodies of the victims were found at 5 p.m. Quoting a police report, Martinez said the victims were tortured before they were shot dead. Empty AK-47 and M-14 shells were found at the crime scene, he added. He quoted Datu Uba Lukbay Bayawon as saying the NPA killed the brothers—his nephews—after they repeatedly refused to be recruited into the NPA. He added that the two had received threats from the NPA long before they were killed. The killing of the Likanay brothers come on the heels of a request by Karapatan for the United Nations to investigate the spate of lumad killings in the Caraga region as a result of the military’s intensified counter-insurgency program. Most recently, a lumad educator and two other leaders were killed allegedly by militiamen belonging to the Magahat-Bagani Forces that were created by the military to go after suspected communist sympathizers. The military denied the allegations. READ MORE...

ALSO: Independent probe on Lumad slays urged


L to R: Newly-freed political detainee Andrea Rosal, Lumad leader Josephine Pagalan, Michelle Campos, Alcadev teacher Guideon Galicia and Fr. Diony Cabillas of Karapatan (Photo by B.Catli/Bulatlat.com)
“We are demanding an investigation without the presence of the military because any investigation of the DOJ with their presence is useless.” Lumads together with progressive organizations, picketed in front of the Department of Justice, today September 17, demanding an independent DOJ investigation on the Sept. 1 killings in Surigao del Sur.
“We are demanding an investigation without the presence of the military because any investigation of the DOJ with their presence is useless,” said Michelle Campos, daughter of slain Manobo leader, Dionel Campos. An inter-agency investigation involving several departments of the government has been tasked to look into the killings, following public outrage with the deaths of a tribal school head and two Manobo leaders on Sept. 1. The inter-agency task force includes the Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Presidential Human Rights Committee, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. “Sadly, these departments are either human rights violators or part of BS Aquino’s psywar machinery,” said Cristina Palabay secretary general of Karapatan. “We would rather that international bodies conduct the investigation because if it’s done here, then we would get nothing.” “Presidents have changed, regimes had come and gone, many years has passed, but still nothing has been done about this,” said Campos. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima excused herself from a dialogue scheduled today with the Lumad victims, and indigenous and human rights groups, informing them that she has been called to Malacañang. De Lima delegated the dialogue to DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, who heads the task-force on extrajudicial killings, but the groups expressed preference to meet with De Lima, who herself visited the evacuation centers in Lianga back in 2009, as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights. READ MORE...

ALSO: UN accepts call for Lumad probe


UNITED Nations officials have received a request to investigate the killing of Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur amid reports that a paramilitary group under the control of the military was responsible for the summary executions, a human rights group said Sunday.
“The UN envoys and special rapporteurs have all acknowledged receipt of our submissions,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. The human rights group asked the UN to investigate the killings of Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo, and school director Emerito Samarca on Sept. 1 in Surigao del Sur. Karapatan also asked the UN to investigate the evacuation of almost 3,000 Lumad in the same province. Letters were sent to Chaloka Beyani, UN special rapporteur on the promotion of the human rights of internally displaced persons; Christof Heyns, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Michel Forst, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, special rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples. “We are asking the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and recommend action to the Philippine government on these issues,” Palabay said. “We want international bodies to know what is happening in Mindanao—that the Lumad, in defense of their land, are being killed and forced to leave their communities,” Palabay said. A spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines denied any involvement in the killings and said attempts by leftists to “internationalize” the problem was expected. “The attempt to internationalize the issue and demonize government… in regard to the matter is an expected move on their part. It is obviously part of their agenda to… besmirch the AFP’s reputation,” Armed Forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said.  READ MORE...

ALSO TIME  World news: A ‘Civil War’ Is Being Waged Against Indigenous Tribes in the Southern Philippines, Rights Groups Say


Thousands have fled their homes, fearing abuse at the hands of shadowy paramilitary groups Human-rights groups are accusing the Philippine military of harassing and killing members of indigenous farming communities, who are caught in the crossfire of a long-running communist insurgency on the archipelago’s southernmost island, Mindanao.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), hundreds of Lumad, an umbrella term for multiple different indigenous communities, have taken shelter at an evacuation camp in Davao City — Mindanao’s largest urban center — since May, driven off their ancestral lands by a military offensive against the left-wing New People’s Army. Thousands more reportedly fled this month to Tandag City. In the spring of this year, the Bangkok-based Catholic news agency UCA News reported that three members of the B’laan tribal group on Mindanao were tortured by the military into admitting that they were communist rebels. In August, soldiers were accused of killing five members of a Lumad family, including two children, in the island’s Bukidnon province. According to the Manila Times, the military said that the people it killed were communist guerrillas; the New People’s Army denies that. A few weeks later, claims Karapatan — a rights organization that collects firsthand accounts of paramilitary and military abuses — members of the Mahagat-Bagani militia, which it describes as a government-backed paramilitary group, assassinated the director of a tribal school in Surigao del Sur province. “There is basically a civil war going on and that cannot be denied,” Carlos Conde, a HRW researcher based in the Philippines, tells TIME. “The fear in many of these people is palpable when you talk to them.” According to the text of a resolution before the Philippine Senate calling for a probe into the violence, Mahagat-Bagani members stormed through the tribal school in Diatagon village at around 4 a.m. on Sept. 1, holding teachers at gunpoint, one of them five months pregnant. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

70 Activists including 2 dead on 'military hit-list


THIS PHOTO Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the May 20th, 2008: Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran has been diagnosed as “brain dead” at the Far Eastern University hospital in Quezon City after falling from the roof of his home in Barangay Muzon. Crispin Beltran is a true “anak pawis.” A former labor leader who was elected to Congress as a party list representative, Beltran never strayed from his mission to uplift the less fortunate among us. He made his Batasan colleagues uncomfortable with his honesty, humility and disdain for the trappings of power. He was detained for over a year by the Arroyo regime on trumped-up charges because he refused to compromise his principles and sell-out his constituents.

 “They make it appear as though we are criminals.”

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 (BULATLAT BLOG)  SEPTEMBER 19, 2015 By RONALYN V. OLEA Bulatlat.com - Ofel Beltran-Balleta did not know what to feel when she learned that her father, the late labor leader Crispin Beltran, is included on the military’s so-called “rogue gallery.”

Beltran, who died in an accident on May 20, 2008, is among the 70 activists who are on the list attached to criminal complaint filed in Davao City against scores of activists last May.

“Kami nga naka-get over na, sila hindi pa,” Balleta told Bulatlat.com. “Naniniwala akong walang ipinanganak na bobo at tanga pero ano itatawag namin sa kanila?” (We have already moved on [after Crispin Beltran’s death], it seems the military hasn’t. I believe nobody is born dumb and stupid but what do you call them who included a dead man in the list?)

Besides Beltran, environmentalist Francis Morales, who died of leukemia in November last year, is on the list.

Also on the list are Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and Juliet de Lima, member of the NDFP negotiating panel. Since 1980s, both have been in exile in the Netherlands.

For those who are alive, being on the list is a “threat to their life, liberty and security.”

The list is an attachment to the formal charges of kidnapping, serious illegal detention and trafficking filed against 15 leaders and members of people’s organizations who visited the Lumad evacuees at the Haran center of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City. Over 700 Manobo from Talaingod, Davao del Norte have sought refuge at the Church compound since January due to heavy military operations.

READ MORE...

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights alliance Karapatan and one of the 70 activists in the list, told Bulatlat.com in an interview, “They make it appear as though we are criminals.”

Palabay said it is not far-fetched that they would be implicated in the “fabricated” charges. The complaint listed as respondent “John/Jane Does” and Palabay said it is very easy for the military to amend the complaint to insert additional respondents. She said they could also be targeted for worse forms of human rights violations, including enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing.

Amparo, habeas data

Beltran, Palabay and seven others filed yesterday, Sept. 18, a petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data before the Supreme Court.

The writ of amparo is a remedy “available to any person whose right to life, liberty or security” is violated or “threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission by a public official or employee or of a private individual or entity.” Meanwhile, the writ of habeas data is a remedy “available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party.”

Other petitioners are Bayan Muna Rep. Karlos Zarate, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi de Jesus, former legislators Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis.

Those providing humanitarian assistance to the Lumad refugees such as Sis. Francis Añover, national coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines; Rev. Irma Balaba, ordained minister of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP); and, Jacquiline Ruiz, executive director of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, are also on the list.

The charges were filed by some Lumad who opted to return to Talaingod. Based on the affidavits filed by the complainants, pictures of certain leaders of people’s organizations were shown to them at the office of the Criminal Detection and Investigation Group (CIDG) in Davao City on April 30. From this gallery, the alleged complainants purportedly identified the respondents in the case.

“The fact that the CIDG local office was readily able to show such lists and photographs to the alleged complainants further indicates that the Petitioners are and have been the subject of State surveillance,” the petition read. Bulatlat.com obtained a copy of the petition from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), the petitioners’ lawyers.

Zarate has been slapped with serious illegal detention and child abuse for allegedly preventing a Lumad child evacuee from leaving UCCP Haran.

Balaba experienced several incidents of surveillance and harassment just last month. For weeks, Balaba and her daughter noticed a vehicle with the government plate SLB 383 parked just six meters away from the gate where the two are staying.

Same counterinsurgency strategy

Palabay likened the list to the “order of battle” during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“The same practices remain,” Palabay said. She said Aquino’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan is no different from Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya. During the Arroyo administration, progressive organizations were labeled as “enemies of the state” and leaders and members were included in the “order of battle.”

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, after his visit to the Philippines in February 2007, cited this order of battle.

“The document, co- signed by senior military and police officials, calls upon ‘all members of the intelligence community in the [relevant] region … to adopt and be guided by this update to enhance a more comprehensive and concerted effort against the CPP/NPA/NDF’, [Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/ National Democratic Front]” Alston said. The former UN rapporteur noted that the document listed hundreds of members of civil society organizations.

Zarate was included in the 2007 order of battle prepared by the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, the same unit involved the filing of recent “trumped-up” charges against him.

Mariano and Casino, meanwhile, were among those charged with rebellion in 2006, instigated by the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG). Alston, in his report, criticized IALAG as a “mechanism established for bringing charges against civil society organizations and party-list groups in order “to impede the work of these groups and put in question their right to operate freely.” The charges were eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Respondents in the said petition are:

Pres. Benigno Aquino III,
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin,
AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri,
PNP Chief P/Dir. Ricardo Marquez,
other AFP officials such as Army Chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año and Eastern Mindanao Command Chief Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, CIDG Director C/Supt. Victor Deona, among others. (http://bulatlat.com


MANILA STANDARD

Two more lumad tribesmen slain By Florante S. Solmerin, Christine F. Herrera | Sep. 15, 2015 at 12:01am


In this file photo from 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III shakes hands with lumad leader Dato Domaconog Doming Tumaytay of the Ata Manobo tribe during a visit to Sitio Talos in Barangay San Jose, Sto. Tomas, Davao Del Norte. PNA

TWO more lumad tribesmen were killed in Valencia City, Bukidnon, Sunday but the Army blamed the communist New People’s Army for the deaths.

In a phone interview, Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, public affairs chief of the 4th Infantry Division, identified the victims as brothers Raymond Dayo Likanay, 31, and Roy, of legal age.

He said the killers were members of the Guerilla Front 68 allegedly led by a certain Alexander Llesis alias Commander Bagwis.

The NPA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier, five lumad tribesmen, including two minors, were killed in what the military called an armed encounter in Barangay Mendiz, Pangantucan, Bukidnon. But the human rights group Karapatan said the victims were not rebels, and that one of those slain was a blind man.

Citing reports from the lumad community including one Datu Uba Lukbay Bayawon, Martinez said the Likanay brothers were allegedly held Monday morning by the rebels in the forested area where the two were hunting for wild animals.

“Brutal silang pinatay ng NPA [They were brutally slain by the NPA] under the Guerilla Front 68,” he said.

Martinez said the bodies of the victims were found at 5 p.m.

Quoting a police report, Martinez said the victims were tortured before they were shot dead.

Empty AK-47 and M-14 shells were found at the crime scene, he added.

He quoted Datu Uba Lukbay Bayawon as saying the NPA killed the brothers—his nephews—after they repeatedly refused to be recruited into the NPA.

He added that the two had received threats from the NPA long before they were killed.

The killing of the Likanay brothers come on the heels of a request by Karapatan for the United Nations to investigate the spate of lumad killings in the Caraga region as a result of the military’s intensified counter-insurgency program.

Most recently, a lumad educator and two other leaders were killed allegedly by militiamen belonging to the Magahat-Bagani Forces that were created by the military to go after suspected communist sympathizers.

The military denied the allegations.

READ MORE...

Aside from the killings at least three soldiers were also involved in the rape of a 14-year-old lumad girl. The Army said the suspects, which it refused to identify, would be subjected to court-martial proceedings.

The leftist Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Monday President Benigno Aquino III should invite UN envoys to conduct an independent investigation into the killings for the sake of transparency and accountability.

“We seriously doubt that the PNP and the AFP can come up with a credible investigation. All the AFP is doing is clear itself of any liability. Issue the open invitation now, Mr. President. Let the truth come out. Let there be justice and accountability,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

Bayan issued the challenge after human rights group Karapatan brought the lumad killings to the attention of the UN.

For the UN to mount a probe, protocol requires that the envoys be invited by the host country.

“The open invitation should enable the UN representatives on indigenous people, internally displaced persons, extrajudicial killings and human rights defenders to conduct an impartial probe on the killings and other violations,” Reyes said.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay dismissed the Armed Forces suggestion that leftist groups were besmirching their reputation by internationalizing the issue.

“There’s no reputation to besmirch. The AFP’s reputation has long been stained with blood of the Filipino people,” Palabay said.

The AFP is obviously irked by the complaints filed by Karapatan before the United Nations Human Rights Council on the killing of two lumad leaders, Dionel Campos and Juvello Sinzo, and lumad school director Emerito Samarca,” she added.

The killings have caused some 3,000 lumad to flee their homes in Surigao del Sur.

“The AFP claimed it already did its own investigation and immediately exonerated itself from the killing. Are they trying to be funny? Who, in the right mind, would believe in this kind of investigation?” Palabay said.

The AFP is now saying the killing was a result of a tribal war.

Palabay said witnesses recognized the killers, brothers Bobby and Loloy Tejero, who are members of the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani that were with the 36th and the 75th Infantry Battalion and 1st Special Forces of the Philippine Army when they stormed the targeted community.

In 2012, several international groups called on the government to disband the paramilitary groups.

UN Special Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Killings and on Human Rights Defenders, Christof Heyns and Margaret Sekaggya pointed out the role of the paramilitary groups in the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio.

The UN Human Rights Council, during the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines, also urged the Aquino administration disband these paramilitary groups.

A labor group on Monday said an inter-agency investigation organized by the Justice Department should also include lumad killings in other parts of Mindanao.

The Partido ng Manggagawa issued the call in reaction to the announcement made by Malacañang that it is willing to conduct an investigation as sought by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and many other organizations here and abroad.

“The killings of lumad leaders by alleged paramilitary forces in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, including recorded cases of lumad killings in other parts of Mindanao, should give the government the idea that these killings were rather systematic than isolated in nature as claimed by the military,” the group’s chairman, Renato Magtubo, said.

In Surigao del Sur, an Army junior officer faces court-martial proceedings for failing to respond to the shootings and burning of homes where the lumad teacher and members of the Manobo tribe were killed.

Army spokesman Col. Benjamin Hao refused to identify the junior officer, however.

The junior officer has been relieved of his duties as platoon leader and is now under the custody of the Army’s 68th Infantry Battalion, Hao said. With Francisco Tuyay and Vito Barcelo


BULATLAT.COM

Independent probe on Lumad slays urged By BETTINA CATLI
Bulatlat.com


L to R: Newly-freed political detainee Andrea Rosal, Lumad leader Josephine Pagalan, Michelle Campos, Alcadev teacher Guideon Galicia and Fr. Diony Cabillas of Karapatan (Photo by B.Catli/Bulatlat.com)

“We are demanding an investigation without the presence of the military because any investigation of the DOJ with their presence is useless.”

Lumads together with progressive organizations, picketed in front of the Department of Justice, today September 17, demanding an independent DOJ investigation on the Sept. 1 killings in Surigao del Sur.

“We are demanding an investigation without the presence of the military because any investigation of the DOJ with their presence is useless,” said Michelle Campos, daughter of slain Manobo leader, Dionel Campos.

An inter-agency investigation involving several departments of the government has been tasked to look into the killings, following public outrage with the deaths of a tribal school head and two Manobo leaders on Sept. 1.

The inter-agency task force includes the Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Presidential Human Rights Committee, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Sadly, these departments are either human rights violators or part of BS Aquino’s psywar machinery,” said Cristina Palabay secretary general of Karapatan. “We would rather that international bodies conduct the investigation because if it’s done here, then we would get nothing.”

“Presidents have changed, regimes had come and gone, many years has passed, but still nothing has been done about this,” said Campos.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima excused herself from a dialogue scheduled today with the Lumad victims, and indigenous and human rights groups, informing them that she has been called to Malacañang.

De Lima delegated the dialogue to DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, who heads the task-force on extrajudicial killings, but the groups expressed preference to meet with De Lima, who herself visited the evacuation centers in Lianga back in 2009, as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights.

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No tribal war

The Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas (Katribu) said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has come out with “contradictory statements:” first, denying their involvement in the Han-ayan killings in spite of their presence, then declaring that they will investigate the incident.

The group scored the Sept. 15 AFP press conference in which they presented three Lumads who stated that the military was not responsible for the Sept 1 killings. Katribu said those presented are members of the Magahat-Bagani forces implicated in the killings, among them its leader, Marcial Belandres, who blamed the New People’s Army for the killings in Mindanao.

The indigenous groups also criticized the AFP claim that the killings were the result of a tribal war among Lumads, allegedly shown by findings of their investigation.

“The ‘tribal war’ the AFP is referring to is not between tribes, but between the AFP, plus their paramilitary pets, and us indigenous peoples,” stated Kerlan Fanagel of Sulong Katribu Partylist Southern Mindanao Region.

“There are no more tribal wars between the Lumads because of the tampuda,” said Campos.

Tampuda hu Balagon is a peace pact between the Lumad tribes.

“We have pesticides for pests, insecticides for insects, and this government creates a new one: ethnocide, to kill off the Lumad people,” said Campos.


Protesters in front of the DOJ in Padre Faura, Manila (Photo by B.Catli/Bulatlat.com)

Seven ways to lie

In their press release, Karapatan enumerated a “standard operating procedure” of the government when forced to account for its human rights violations:

“1. Keep mum. Let the issue die down. #Dumededma
2. Deny. Feign innocence, even if a thousand witnesses attest to the culpability of the Aquino regime and the AFP. #DenialKing
3. Blame the victim/s. Tell the public it is right to kill the victims because they are members of the New People’s Army anyway; as if killing rebels is justified. #BoySisi
4. Blame the NPA. Tell the public human rights violations are committed by the New People’s Army. Never mind if earlier they claimed the victims are NPA members. #BoySisiReturns
5. Red tagging. Tag human rights violation/s as “communist propaganda” and the organizations raising the issue as “communist fronts”. #BoySisiReplay
6. Conduct a self-serving investigation to put the blame on others. Bring out false witnesses and “plant” evidence. Publish the result of the “investigation” to exonerate themselves. Or better, create an inter-agency task force in a bid to look more credible. #BoySisiMemasabiLang
7. Commit more atrocities against the people to divert attention, and take actions 1-6 stated above. #AlamNa #PalusotBulok”
(http://bulatlat.com)


MANILA STANDARD

UN accepts call for Lumad probe By Christine F. Herrera, Florante S. Solmerin | Sep. 14, 2015 at 12:01am

UNITED Nations officials have received a request to investigate the killing of Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur amid reports that a paramilitary group under the control of the military was responsible for the summary executions, a human rights group said Sunday.

“The UN envoys and special rapporteurs have all acknowledged receipt of our submissions,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.

The human rights group asked the UN to investigate the killings of Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo, and school director Emerito Samarca on Sept. 1 in Surigao del Sur.

Karapatan also asked the UN to investigate the evacuation of almost 3,000 Lumad in the same province.

Letters were sent to Chaloka Beyani, UN special rapporteur on the promotion of the human rights of internally displaced persons; Christof Heyns, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Michel Forst, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, special rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples.

“We are asking the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and recommend action to the Philippine government on these issues,” Palabay said.

“We want international bodies to know what is happening in Mindanao—that the Lumad, in defense of their land, are being killed and forced to leave their communities,” Palabay said.

A spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines denied any involvement in the killings and said attempts by leftists to “internationalize” the problem was expected.

“The attempt to internationalize the issue and demonize government… in regard to the matter is an expected move on their part. It is obviously part of their agenda to… besmirch the AFP’s reputation,” Armed Forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said.

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Major Gen. Oscar Lacto, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, blamed the killings on a tribal war—even though the Lumad tribesmen in Mindanao have no history of tribal war.

An Army spokesman, Col. Benjie Hao, also said that three rogue soldiers involved in the rape of a 14-year-old Lumad girl, would be subjected to court martial proceedings after a board of inquiry found prima facie evidence that they violated the Articles of War. Hao refused to identify the soldiers, however.

As recounted to the UN envoys, Palabay said members of the Magahat Bagani forces, a paramilitary group under the 36th and 75th Infantry Battalion of the Army, gunned down Campos in front of the whole community in the town of Lianga in Surigao del Sur in the morning of Sept. 1.

The armed men then took Sinzo from the crowd and beat his arms and legs with wooden sticks before shooting him.

Samarca was found dead inside the classroom of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), with his throat slit from ear to ear and gunshot wounds in the chest.

“The 36th Infantry Battalion (IB), 74th IB and the Special Forces were at the periphery,” Palabay said, quoting the accounts of witnesses.


The Bagani Forces of the Lumads in Mindanao is not sanctioned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The AFP clarified that the Bagani forces from the Lumads are not part of the official force multiplier of the military therefore they should be disarmed.

“While the AFP can lie through their teeth about their involvement on the killings and all other atrocities of its paramilitary groups, the motives are crystal clear: eliminate those who are perceived as enemies of the state, including those who fight for their land and their rights. There is no way the government can deny this as long as it implements counter-insurgency programs like Oplan Bayanihan. The paramilitary groups are one way of tackling this dirty war against the Filipino people. It is no wonder why the AFP has not disbanded these groups—because they work together,” Palabay said.

The killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, the massacre of the Capion family, the murder of Datu Jimmy Liguyon and the Tabugol brothers were carried out by paramilitary forces that go by many names—the Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary, the Investment Defense Force, Bagani Forces, Magahat Bagani, the Alde Salusad group and the De la Mance group, Karapatan told the UN envoys.

As early as 2012, Heyns and then UN special rapporteur on human rights defender Margaret Sekaggya sounded the alarm on the role of the paramilitary groups in killings, Palabay said.

In the same year, the UN envoys recommended that the government disband paramilitary groups that perpetuate serious human rights abuses.

“The Aquino government has rejected this and even… allowed the proliferation of these groups as force multipliers. We reiterate our position that the political killings happening right now are part of the government’s policy and not simply an internal conflict among indigenous people’s as the government wants the public to believe,” Palabay said.

The leftist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, meanwhile, said the Lumad leaders ended up dead and their communities were terrorized after they failed to support an anti-communist event organized by the government called the WNI Serbisyo Caravan.

“These are no coincidences. These deaths and displacements were direct results of Oplan Bayanihan and WNI Serbisyo Caravan,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes.

Citing official government documents, Reyes said the Lumads and indigenous people were targeted by the government because it believes that 90 percent of guerrilla bases are located in IP communities.

“In the guise of peace and public service, the government launched the WNI Serbisyo Caravan to support its militarization campaign to eliminate insurgency,” Reyes said.

A week before the WNI Serbisyo Caravan spearheaded by the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, Public Works, Health and other agencies arrived in the targeted IP communities, the government agencies and the military would invite the IPs to support the program, he said.

A week after each WNI Serbisyo Caravan, a massive militarization would occur in the targeted areas, he added.

“The stated priority areas of the counter-insurgency campaign are the same areas experiencing heavy militarization and displacement of communities,” Reyes said.

Reyes added that Bayan has obtained a Powerpoint presentation from a government agency that belies President Benigno Aquino III’s claim that there is no government policy targeting the Lumad of Mindanao.

One week after the “peace caravans” were held in Surigao, on Sept. 1, three Lumad leaders were killed, Reyes said.

“The deaths of Samarca, Campos and Sinzo, the displacement of the Lumad from Talaingod and Paquibato, and the fact that they are all from the so-called priority areas for the government counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan and WNI are no coincidence,” Reyes said.

The Palace said Sunday it supports calls for an inter-agency probe into the killings.

In response to a call by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines that the government investigate the killings, a Palace spokesman said the Justice Department supports calls for an inter-agency probe.

“The CBCP asks the government for an honest, thorough, impartial, and speedy investigation so that the guilty may be held to account for their wrong-doing,” CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement Friday.

The bishops said they were disturbed by how the government “has been quick to exonerate the militia group of wrongdoing.”

“This alarming eagerness to deny culpability does not augur well for truth and justice,” Villegas said.

“If made before any such investigation, they disturbingly suggest a refusal to hold accountable those to whom the administration so eagerly extends its mantle of protection,” he added.

On Sunday, Senator Nancy Binay became the third senator to call for a congressional investigation into the Lumad killings, following similar calls by Senators Loren Legarda and Grace Poe. With Sandy Araneta and Macon Ramos-Araneta

According to reports, Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel earlier called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to disband the paramilitary group Bagani Forces, which is allegedly responsible for the murders. (AP)


TIME MAGAZINE ONLINE (WORLD NEWS)

A ‘Civil War’ Is Being Waged Against Indigenous Tribes in the Southern Philippines, Rights Groups Say Lisa Spear Sept. 15, 2015

Thousands have fled their homes, fearing abuse at the hands of shadowy paramilitary groups

Human-rights groups are accusing the Philippine military of harassing and killing members of indigenous farming communities, who are caught in the crossfire of a long-running communist insurgency on the archipelago’s southernmost island, Mindanao.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), hundreds of Lumad, an umbrella term for multiple different indigenous communities, have taken shelter at an evacuation camp in Davao City — Mindanao’s largest urban center — since May, driven off their ancestral lands by a military offensive against the left-wing New People’s Army. Thousands more reportedly fled this month to Tandag City.

In the spring of this year, the Bangkok-based Catholic news agency UCA News reported that three members of the B’laan tribal group on Mindanao were tortured by the military into admitting that they were communist rebels.

In August, soldiers were accused of killing five members of a Lumad family, including two children, in the island’s Bukidnon province. According to the Manila Times, the military said that the people it killed were communist guerrillas; the New People’s Army denies that.

A few weeks later, claims Karapatan — a rights organization that collects firsthand accounts of paramilitary and military abuses — members of the Mahagat-Bagani militia, which it describes as a government-backed paramilitary group, assassinated the director of a tribal school in Surigao del Sur province.

“There is basically a civil war going on and that cannot be denied,” Carlos Conde, a HRW researcher based in the Philippines, tells TIME. “The fear in many of these people is palpable when you talk to them.”

According to the text of a resolution before the Philippine Senate calling for a probe into the violence, Mahagat-Bagani members stormed through the tribal school in Diatagon village at around 4 a.m. on Sept. 1, holding teachers at gunpoint, one of them five months pregnant.

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Eyewitnesses tell TIME that the armed men stole laptops and other items.

“I thought that things like this could only happen in movies,” Gary Payac, one of the volunteer teachers at the school that night, tells TIME. “I never thought that these things could happen right in front of my eyes.”

Payac and a few other teachers discovered the body of the tribal school executive director Emerito Samarca lying face down in the guest house of the school, bloodied and hogtied with a slit on his neck, and several stab wounds on his body.

After the killing, some 2,000 indigenous residents fled their homes for Tandag city, where they are currently sheltering in an open-air sports complex

The Mahagat-Bagani has also been accused of killing two tribal community leaders, Dionel Campos and his cousin Bello Sinzo, according to a statement issued by the office of Philippine Senator Grace Poe, who has been leading the call for an upper-house inquiry.

The Philippine army strongly denies any association with the Mahagat-Bagani and has said that it welcomes a proposal by Karapatan to raise the killings of indigenous people before the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The Philippine army’s Colonel Benjamin Hao tells TIME the Philippine army is only stationed in Lumad regions to clear the area of the New People’s Army and provide medical assistance.

“We are doing our jobs,” Hao says.


Aquino on ‘lumad’ killings: There is no campaign to kill anybody INQUIRER FILE

In response to a public outcry, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said last Tuesday in a public statement that “there is no campaign to kill anybody in this country.”

Disputes over resources and land appear to lie at the root of at least some of the violence. According to Oona Thommes Paredes, an anthropologist at the National University of Singapore, some Lumad joined the New People’s Army back in the 1970s to fight the encroachment of mining and logging companies on their land.

Since the introduction of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act in 1997, the Lumad have had official rights to their ancestral territories. However, Paredes says, large logging and mining companies find ways around the law by bribing not only local bureaucrats but also tribal leaders themselves.

“If someone wants to do logging, they have to get permission,” Paredes tells TIME. “These large corporations, because of the money they have, do not just bribe government bureaucrats, but people on the inside of these communities.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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