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The Philippine Human Rights Situation Revised


									I have heard the cry and have seen the
  suffering of my people (Exodus 3:7)

The State of the Nation
Three years after Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo was
catapulted to power by a popular
people’s uprising, the Philippine
economy is still suffering from a
serious malady

    Instead of solving the problems of poverty and
 underdevelopment, the government has continued
                    its pro-globalization policies of:

With the government’s submission to globalization, the
 gap between the poor and the rich has become wider

The old problems of Philippine society remain:

  No genuine land reform
  Low wages and bad working conditions of workers
  Displacement of indigenous peoples due to mining and
  development aggression
  Rampant land grabbing
  High prices of basic commodities
  Lack of basic services
Globalization has made the Philippine economy worse.

Local agriculture suffers due to
the massive influx of cheap
imported agricultural products
Increasing unemployment due to
jobs lost in agriculture and the
closure of many factories and
business establishments
Astronomic prices of oil, water
and electricity due to
privatization and deregulation
A ballooning budget deficit of
Php199.9 billion at the end of
year 2003 and Php77.3 billion in
the first quarter of 2004
     According to PATRIOTS, an ecumenical electoral
    watchdog- the May 2004 elections was tainted with
systematic fraud, violence and massive use of government
resources for campaigning in favor of the incumbent. Thus,
many Filipinos doubt the legitimacy of the victory of Gloria
   Evidence from various sources point to the fact that Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo used her position to her advantage and made
  full use of the resources at her disposal (government funds,
 national and local government units, and the armed forces) in
                    order to ensure her victory.
The May 10, 2004 elections illustrates that Philippine politics is
 still very much a contest of who has the “goons, guns, and
 gold” to coerce, buy, and falsify the votes necessary to win,
             regardless of one’s political program.
In early 2002, Pres. Arroyo
and the then Defense
Secretary and now Secretary
of the Department of Interior
and Local Government
(DILG), Angelo Reyes,
brokered an agreement with
the U.S. government – the
Military Logistics Support
Arrangement (MLSA) -
paving the way for possible
American Basing Rights
With the presence of the US
military, the country will be
dragged into U.S. wars of
aggression and is vulnerable
to the counter attack of the
enemies of the U.S. The case
of Angelo de la Cruz, who
was captured by Iraqi rebels,
showed the implications of
sending Filipino troops to Iraq
in support of the U.S.
 The Situation of Unpeace
The rich
become richer
and more
The poor
become poorer
and voiceless
It is in this light that the poor majority continues to
struggle in order to make their voices heard and to
                     assert their rights
It is also in this light that the armed conflict
  has continued to rage in the countryside.
 The government’s answer to the
    restiveness of the people

Intensified Military
Operations and counter
insurgency operations
Attack on Human Rights
and Civil Liberties
Red tagging or branding
as threat to national
security of groups or
individuals critical to the
administration’s policies
Pres. Arroyo continued her
predecessors’ iron-fisted
counter insurgency programs
especially in the rural areas.
Counter-insurgency operations
were aimed at the alleged
stronghold or “rebel-friendly”
communities. These operations
were characterized by large
numbers of troop deployment
in order to saturate so-called
rebel infiltrated areas
Intensified Military Operations

In Southern Tagalog alone, 33
battalions are deployed. The
AFP shifted its approach from
“winning the hearts and minds
of the people” to the more
basic and militarist “control,
hold, consolidate and develop”
methodology - a combination
of intelligence and civil military
tactics to sow fear in areas
perceived to be rebel-friendly.
Intensified Military Operations
The Island of Mindoro,
where 9 AFP battalions
are deployed, is used
as a laboratory for
From January to
October 2003, 41
suspected NPA
sympathizers from
Mindoro were
summarily executed by
suspected military and
para-military agents.
Intensified Military Operations

                   In Mindanao, there are
                           massive forced
                       evacuations due to
                         non-stop military
                     operations. From late
                   2003 up to the present,
                        military offensives
                         against the Moro
                        Islamic Liberation
                        Front (MILF) have
                      continued unabated.
Alarming Escalation of Human
      Rights Violations
The government’s intensified counter-insurgency
operations against armed groups have led to an
alarming escalation of human rights violations against
  Summary executions and massacres
  Forced disappearances
  Arbitrary and unlawful arrests and detentions
  Curtailment or open violation of basic democratic rights
  Indiscriminate aerial bombings especially in Mindanao
  Artillery and mortar fire
  Food blockade
  Forced mass evacuations
As of June 2004 a total of
3,150 cases of human
rights violations involving
171,369 victims; 18,636
families; 73 communities;
and 240 households, have
been documented by
KARAPATAN (Alliance for
the Advancement of
Human Rights), mostly
directed against members
of peasant organizations,
trade unions, urban poor
associations, Muslim
groups, indigenous
peoples and other sectors
critical of government
 Even Human Rights workers have not been spared. In
   the first three years of President Arroyo’s term, 14
human rights workers have been killed, among them the
KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog Secretary General Eden
 Marcellana and legal counsel Atty. Juvy Magsino, who
  was also the vice mayor of Naujan, Mindoro Oriental
A significant number of UCCP members
  became direct victims of atrocities reportedly
  perpetrated by police and military authorities:
 On 28 April 2004, Isaias Manano, 23, son of a former
 Moderator of Mindoro Conference, and an active leader of
 the Christian Youth Fellowship, was shot and killed while
 walking home with a friend. He was the 40th murder victim
 in the province of Mindoro.

 Mary Ann Vibat, 28, pastor of the UCCP from Tayug, Pangasinan,
 was abducted on 06 November 2004, along with eight (8) other civilians.
 She was missing for almost a year, surfaced only after the intervention of
 former Senator Jovito Salonga asking the military to surface Mary Ann
 and her companions. They were subjected to torture and threats and
 were placed in solitary detention in the Intelligence headquarters in Fort
 Bonifacio, Metro Manila.
Four (4) days after, on 10 November, Joel Baclao, a lay leader in UCCP Albay was shot
in front of his house, and in full view of his wife. His face was riddled with bullets and
was rendered beyond recognition. He was a member of the PCPR (Promotion of Church
People’s Response) in Albay.

Then, 6 days later, on 16 November, Juancho Sanchez, the eldest child and only son of
Rev. Gabriel Sanchez, was among the fatalities in the violent dispersal of the joint forces
of police and military in Hacienda Luisita. Rev. Sanchez is the pastor of Balete
Evangelical Church, which is located right inside the hacienda. Most of the members of
the church are sugar workers. Juancho was giving water to the rallyists when he was
mauled, shot and killed by military elements. In the same incident, four other UCCP
members were severely wounded. In the aftermath, ninety-five (95) sugar mill workers
were reported wounded, 115 were detained at Camp Aquino, and 327 workers were
dismissed by management. Thirteen (13) civilians suffered violent death in Hacienda
Luisita. Fr. William Tadeña, a priest of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and Tarlac
Councilor Abelardo Ladera, both known supporters of the sugar workers, were also

On 12 May 2005, Rev. Edison C. Lapuz, 38, UCCP Conference Minister of the North
Eastern Leyte Conference was killed in the presence of family members and friends.
Rev. Lapuz was the main convenor of a civil liberties group composed of lawyers and
concerned individuals in Tacloban City, a founding member of the Promotion of Church’s
People’s Response (PCPR), and an adviser of KAMAS, a farmer’s organization in San
Isidro. Rev. Lapuz featured prominently in the investigation on the assassination of Atty.
F. Dacut, a well-known lawyer of a small farmer’s organization, and who fought for cases
of human rights violations in Eastern Samar.
Rev. Raul Domingo, 43, a pastor in the UCCP Palawan Associate Conference was
the latest victim. He was shot on 20 August 2005, and sustained two (2) bullet
wounds from a .45 caliber gun. The bullets pierced through his stomach,
damaged his liver and spinal cord. He was comatose for two (2) weeks and finally
died on 04 September, 2005. Rev. Domingo was General Secretary of
KARAPATAN and Chairperson of BAYAN in Palawan. Prior to his death, he led a
fact-finding mission for Vicente Olea, also a UCCP member who was also
murdered in Palawan.

The most recent are:

Jose Manegdeg III, an ecumenical worker with whom UCCP worked closely in
North Luzon, died from 22 gun shot wounds while waiting for a ride in Ilocos Sur to
Manila to meet his wife in the airport last November 28, 2005

Junie Jacosalem, member of UCCP and member of Bayan Muna Party List in
Calamba, Misamis Occidental was killed last December 6, 2005
          Attack on Civil Liberties

The government’s intolerance to
political beliefs advocating for
fundamental and democratic reforms in
society is apparent. Of the 289 victims
of politically-motivated killings by
suspected state agents, at least 48
came from the progressive party-list
group, Bayan Muna (People First)
Of late, the “no permit no
rally” policy has been
strictly implemented by
the police force, resulting
in violent dispersals of
peaceful demonstrations
and mass actions
Even the ecumenical
electoral watchdog,
Patriots, and supporters
of the political opposition
were not spared from the
government’s iron-fisted
policy against rallies. The
administration even
charged these groups
(including the NCCP and
UCCP) as “destabilizers”
or “communist fronts”.
      How many more will have to die?
What wrong have these persons committed that
 they should be silenced by a hail of bullets?

How many more lives should be stolen before we
  heed the cries of the widows and orphans?

Is there an undeclared war on activists that have
     rendered them open targets of attack?

  Does government silence and inaction indicate
that it officially sanctions the scale of repression?
        Church Response and Call
Direct Services of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines
         and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines

 Relief and Rehabilitation
 Medical Missions
 Solidarity Support and Grants
 Small Community Based Projects
We ask all concerned Filipinos
and International Partners to
   join us as we demand:
 Stop the killings and harassment
 Relieve all military, police and other state agents
 implicated in the murder and enforced
 disappearance of activist
 Bring the perpetrators to justice
 Scrap all policies and measures that curtail civil
 liberties and human rights

To be silent in the face of brazen acts
of violence will only multiply the
injustices already committed
    Through the stormy blasts that shake our people
   today, the CHURCH will continue to find itself
 immersed in the lives of those who it has committed
to be a friend to…it must be dynamically attuned to
  the changing circumstance of our society so that it
     will make sense to the people…it will actively
  accompany our people as they journey toward the
fulfillment of their hope for a just, egalitarian, self-
            reliant and sustainable society.
Prayer for a Just and
Lasting Peace
God of the struggling people
Hallowed be your name
Let the promise of abundant life be
And our longing for justice and peace
 be fulfilled
Forgive our comfortable life
If we become unresponsive to the cries of the
Forgive our daily prayers
If we close our eyes and hearts to the needs of the

Forgive our act of charity
If it has thwarted us to work for justice
Forgive our silence and solitude
If we departed from serving the oppressed
Look upon our nation
Corruption and violence govern us
The rich few exploit the many poor
The workers are deprived of just wages
Peasants and indigenous peoples are driven away
  from the land

Heavy taxes and unabated price increases burden
  the vast majority
Health, education and social services are not
Those who shout for justice and human rights are
Those who work for genuine peace are killed
We lament that our government did not heed our
  call, and
Hardheadedly supported the US illegal, immoral
  and unjust war in Iraq
Now the Overseas Filipino Workers face even
  more vulnerability and uncertainty.
Grant your people the courage and will to push
  forward the agenda of peace.

Continue to challenge our faith and love; nurture
  the hope within us
Strengthen our passion to serve and journey with
  the people
Accompany us on our way
Give us the strength of an eagle, the humility
 of a dove,
The wisdom of a serpent
As we join the people in their quest for a
 lasting Peace based on Justice
    Prepared by the National Council of
         Churches in the Philippines
Revised by the United Church of Christ in the
   Philippines, Ministries Implementation
      Support Team, National Offices

              December, 2005

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