Dear friends and fellow rights advocates,

Greetings!

On July 4, 2013, an encounter between members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the 31st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) occurred at Barangay Calmayon, Juban, Sorsogon.  Since then, the 31st IBPA launched continued military operations in this part of Sorsogon.  With these, are reports of human rights violations from residents.

On September 21, another encounter transpired between the NPA and the 31st IB in Bulan, an adjacent town of Juban.  Three barangays of Bulan (Dolos, Patag and Lapinig) were affected by the firefight.  The fighting lasted till 9 p.m.

The following day, September 22, between 3 to 4 p.m., two military helicopter gunships were seen reconnoitering around Calmayon and Maalo, Juban. About the same time, around 25 soldiers camped at the central part of Barangay Maalo. According to witnesses, one of the helicopters repeatedly fired at Barangay Maalo.  Hit by the volley of fire were coconut plantations and farms at Sitio Alolocot, Barangay Maalo.  Due to great fear, the residents of the two barangays evacuated.  According to the local government of Juban, they assisted 122 people who evacuated on September 23.  A total of 111 households are in Camayon and 68 in Maalo.  Nine families left to stay with their relatives in Aroroy, Catanosan and Bacolod. There are no reports as to where the others evacuated. Many of them, though, have reportedly returned to their communities after the said incidents.

The headquarters and detachments of the 31st IBPA are very near these villages, their presence and operations have been incessant since July this year. The attack of the Philippine military’s helicopter gunship in these populated areas was the first in the Bicol region under Benigno Aquino III’s watch.  The whole of Bicol region’s citizenry was greatly appalled by this attack and the ongoing military operations in the area, which has affected the livelihood and ssfety of the civilian population in the communities.

With this, Karapatan appeals for your support. On October 6-8, Karapatan together with human rights advocates in Bicol, church workers, children’s rights advocates and journalists will hold a fact-finding and humanitarian mission in the affected communities in Barangay Calmayon and Barangay Maalo in Juban, Sorsogon. We invite everyone to participate in the said mission.

We enjoin you to contribute material and financial resources to provide assistance and service to the victims, which will be brought during the mission. The residents are in need of food, medicines (for diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infection, coughs and cold, fever), and clothes.

We appeal to you to send letters of concern to agencies of the Philippine Government to call for:

1.       Immediate pull-out of members of the 31st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army from these communities;

 

2.       Immediate investigation of the military airstrikes and combat operations in the affected communities;

 

3.       The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians, and

 

4.       The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

Please send your letters to the following:

H. E. Benigno S. Aquino III

President of the Philippines

2/F Bonifacio Hall, Malacañang, Manila

Tel: 733-3010 loc 882/ 887

Email: op@president.gov.ph

 

Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

7/F Agustin I Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Tel: 6360701 to 06 / 637-6083

Fax: 638-2216

Email: stqd@opapp.net

Website: opapp.gov.ph

 

Secretary Leila M. de Lima

Department of Justice (DOJ)

DOJ Main Building, Padre Faura Street, Manila

Tel: 521-1908

Fax: 523-5548

Email: doj.delima2@gmail.com

Website: doj.gov.ph

 

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin

Secretary, Department of National Defense

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,

E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City

Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600

Fax:+63(2) 982-5600

Email: osnd@philonline.com, dnd.opla@gmail.com

 

Hon.  Loretta Ann P. Rosales

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., UP Complex

Commonwealth Avenue

Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188

Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Email:   chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

And to the Philippine embassies and consulate offices in your respective countries.

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

KARAPATAN National Office
2/F Erythrina Building #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts., Central District, 1100 Quezon City
Email: karapatan@karapatan.org
Telefax: +632.4354146
Web Site: http://www.karapatan.org

 

KARAPATAN National Office
2/F Erythrina Building #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts., Central District, 1100 Quezon City
Email: karapatan@karapatan.org
Telefax: +632.4354146
Web Site: http://www.karapatan.org