From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of KARAPATAN Public Information
Sent: Friday, 12 September 2014 4:06 p.m.
Subject: Karapatan calls on European community to join call for military pullout in Abra
September 12, 2014
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580
Karapatan calls on European community to join call for military pullout in Abra
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay today enjoined the European community to echo the call of military pullout in Abra, specifically in Lacub town, when BS Aquino arrives in Europe for his four-nation trip starting tomorrow, Sept. 13.
“He should be chased for his accountability in the series of human rights violations in the Philippines , and in the recent military operations in Abra which resulted to the killing of two civilians, Engineer Fidela Salvador and Lacub resident Noel Viste. BS Aquino has nothing to brag about the situation in the Philippines , neither on his human rights record, nor the economic condition of the majority of the Filipino people and his so-called good governance,” said Palabay.
Engr. Salvador was on a monitoring visit for various socio-economic projects implemented by Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDisRDS) when the killing happened. Noel Viste, a resident of Poblacion, Lacub, Abra was among the 24 civilians who were coerced and used by the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) as human shields in the conduct of their operation.
A fact-finding mission led by the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), with several Cordillera-based organizations and Karapatan national office, documented a number of human rights violations in Lacub, Abra because of the military operations of the 41st IBPA, among them:
The AFP used at least 24 civilians as human shields and guides during the operation. Aside from the killing of Viste, they also coerced Nicasio Asbucan to act as guide and later detained him for two days from September 5-7. Asbucan was surfaced and turned-over to Chief of Police of Lacub noon of September 7. He manifested symptoms of acute stress disorder (ASD). The military instructed him to point at Jay-ar Balaoag, Brgy. Capt. Of Lan-ag, Lacub as the NPA who fired at and killed Noel Viste.
Indiscriminate firing. On Sept. 5, between 9:00-10:00 p.m. Army personnel from the 41st IBPA stationed at the So. Bantugo, Poblacion, Lacub indiscriminately fired their weapons in the direction of Talampac Proper and Pacoc, Talampac. An M203 shell landed in Bobon, near residences. The incident resulted in the evacuation of six families who temporarily stayed with their neighbors, suspension of classes in Bantugo Elementary and High School School and Our Lady of Guadalupe High School on September 5 and 8. In addition, three farmers operating the irrigation were forced to sleep in the fields for fear of being strafed.
The military operations also resulted in armed clashes with the New People’s Army. Seven members of the NPA were reported killed while one was arrested and one declared missing.
“The military encamped in the community, near the Bantugo elementary and high schools. The presence of the military has limited the mobility of the residents, affecting the livelihood activities of the residents,” added Palabay.
“Military operations in communities all over the country should stop now. Through Oplan Bayanihan, BS Aquino is already accountable for 204 extrajudicial killings,18 of which are minors; 21 enforced disappearances; 99 cases of torture; 207 frustrated killings; and 39,800 victims of forced evacuations,” said Palabay citing the latest Karapatan human rights monitor.
Karapatan’s research showed that for the 2015 budget, more than Php 200 billion are allocated for the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan.
“BS Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, like the previous counterinsurgency programs, has created havoc in the lives of the people, but has never succeeded in suppressing dissent and the people’s desire to create a new and progressive society and a government that is responsive to their needs,” said Palabay. ###
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. , 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.
Justice for Engr. Delle Salvador!
Hold the 41st IB Accountable!
Joint Statement of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and Cordillera Human Rights Alliance
11 September 2014
We cry out for justice for Engr. Fidela “Delle” Salvador, staff of activist NGOs CDPC and CORDIS – an engineer of the people, a woman and a mother, who was killed by troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a Northern Luzon Command-led military operation in Lacub, Abra participated in mainly by the 41st Infantry Battalion deployed in the area.
Aside from Engr. Delle, Noel Viste – another civilian of Poblacion, Lacub was killed in the said military operation. Noel Viste was among the 24 civilians who were coerced by the 41st IB as human shields in the conduct of their operation.
Engr. Delle was on a monitoring visit for various socio-economic projects implement by CORDIS in Lacub when she was killed. Engr. Delle is a civilian and a non-combatant. She had dedicated most of her life, her skills and expertise in bringing much-needed services to the neglected, far-flung communities in the Cordillera. She was a staunch advocate of indigenous peoples’ rights, a strong believer in peace and human rights.
Engr. Delle could have chosen a life of comfort but chose a life of service and sacrifice. Only a few are willing to brave the challenges of development work in rural areas, and Engr. Delle was one of them. She worked with various activist NGOs for over a decade since 1990, such as the Mining Communities Development Center and the Women Workers Program. At the height of the anti-open pit mining struggle of the Ibaloi and Kankanaey peoples in Itogon in the 1990s, she helped organise women, youth and elders affected by the open-pit mining operations. She was “Auntie Delle” to many of the youth. She also helped organise poor peasants in Mankayan starting in 2009.
Engr. Delle was an active church member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) since her youth, and later a church worker with the Cordillera Ecumenical Movement for Action and Transformation (CEMAT).
With CORDIS, Engr. Delle helped implement the Philippine Tropical Cyclone Emergency Response Project (PTCERP) and Philippine Tropical Cyclone Shelter and Livelihood Project, relief and livelihood projects for communities affected by supertyphoons Ondoy and Pepeng. CORDIS, the people’s organizations and communities that have addressed the needs of the people have long been subjects of political persecution by the State security forces and State national internal security policies like the current Oplan Bayanihan. While these projects serve to address the abandonment and neglect of the Philippine government of the people’s needs, the people and organizations have been surveilled, threatened and harasssed, politically vilified as terrorists, and now extrajudicially killed.
The 41st IB and the Northern Luzon Command must be made accountable for the extrajudicial killing of Engr. Fidela Salvador and Noel Viste. We reiterate our urgent call for a stop to the military operations in Lacub, Abra, as civilians are being targeted by the AFP.
We reiterate our call for the resumption of the formal peace talks between Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to address the roots of the armed conflict. We strongly demand that past agreements be respected in full and implemented especially the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). We continue to appeal to the local government units and government officials of Abra to call for a stop to the military operations and pullout of the 41st IB in Abra and troops of the Northern Luzon Command. We appeal to everyone who believe in peace, in human rights and life to support these calls. ***
AB Anongos, Secretary General, CPA
Audrey Beltran, Deputy Secretary General, CHRA
Statement of Concern and Indignation
Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDisRDS) press release
11 September 2014
Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDisRDS) and Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) deeply mourn the passing of our long-time staff member Engineer Fidela “Delle” Bugarin Salvador, 50 years old, and mother of 3 children. On September 5, 2014, while on a working visit to Lacub, Abra as an independent consultant monitoring numerous socio-economic projects implemented by CorDisRDS, Delle was killed in the midst of ongoing military pursuit operations against revolutionary groups in the area. She was a civilian and a non-combatant, whose only commitment was to serve the marginalized and neglected communities of the Cordillera by bringing much needed socio-economic services. However, her dedication to her work and her willingness to travel to the remotest communities of the region cost her and her family her life.
It is a matter of grave concern that non-combatants – civilians and development workers, are killed in AFP military operations while extending much needed services to marginalized and neglected communities. Only a few are willing and able to brave the difficulties of development work in rural communities of the Cordillera. Delle’s death is a great loss not only for CorDisRDS, CDPC and the whole NGO community, but more so for the disadvantaged people whom she served.
Before starting her work with CorDisRDS in 2010, Delle, as an active church member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, worked for many years, first as a church youth and later church worker with GRASYA and later CEMAT. From 1990-2001, Delle worked with non-government organizations Mining Communities Development Center (MCDC) and Women Workers Program (WWP) as an organizer among the elders, women and youth in the mining communities of Itogon, Benguet who were affected by destructive open pit mining operations. In 2009, she went to Mankayan, Benguet as an organizer of Regional Development Center Katinnulong dagiti Umili ti Amianan of Northern Luzon (RDC-Kaduami-NL), organizing poor peasants for the Alyansa dagiti Pesante ti Taeng Kordilyera (APIT-Tako).
From 2010 – 2012, Delle worked with CorDisRDS to implement the Philippine Tropical Cyclone Emergency Response Project (PTCERP) and Philippine Tropical Cyclone Shelter and Livelihood Response Project, relief and livelihood projects for communities affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in the Cordillera and Ilocos regions. Among the services extended to disaster-stricken communities were shelter projects, irrigations systems, distribution of farm tools and many others. Starting 2013 to this date, Delle is a volunteer staff of CORDISRDS and CDPC for its organizing and socio-economic project monitoring works.
CorDis RDS and the CDPC network of NGOs condemn the death of our colleague and her hiking companions from beneficiary communities during AFP military operations. Their deaths add to the increasing loss of lives in Indigenous Peoples communities and human rights violations during the PNOY administration. And the ongoing military operations are putting many more lives in danger. We call for the withdrawal of military troops in the region and the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and revolutionary forces towards arriving at a just and lasting solution to the civil war going on in the country.***
KEY FINDINGS OF THE LACUB FFM
September 10, 2014
1. MILITARY OPERATIONS IN LACUB RESULTED TO TWO ARMED CLASHES BETWEEN THE AFP AND NPA. Two separate reported clashes occurred on Sept 4 and 5. 7 members of the New People’s Army were killed, one was declared missing and one was arrested.
Recca Noelle Monte
Missing: Jemmimah Guerrero Juan
Arrested: Regina Gustillos
2. EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS – Two civilians were killed in the said military operations – Engineer Fidela Salvador and Lacub resident Noel Viste.
Engr. Salvador was killed in the said operations. She was on a monitoring visit for various socio-economic projects implemented by Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDisRDS).
Noel Viste, a resident of Poblacion, Lacub, Abra was among the 24 civilians who were coerced by the 41st IB as human shields in the conduct of their operation.
3. THREAT, COERCION AND ILLEGAL DETENTION. On the morning of Sep 3 at about 8:30 am, Norberto Borgonia, a resident of Brgy. Guinguinabang who was looking for his carabao when he chanced upon a unit of the AFP at Mt. Kiboot. He was detained, accused to be a member of the NPA and forced to admission. He was released at about 6:30 pm when his barriomates were able to locate and vouch for him.
4. AFP USE OF CIVILIANS AS HUMAN SHIELDS AND GUIDES IN THE CONDUCT OF THE MILITARY OPERATIONS. Elements of the 41st IBPA under 2Lt. Jose Mari Landicho coerced 24 civilians from Brgys. Poblacion and Bakag to be human shields on September 5, 2014. Noel Viste of Poblacion after being taken by the AFP was extrajudicially killed. In the same incident, they coerced Nicasio Asbucan to act as guide and detained him from September 5-7 . Asbucan was only surfaced and turned-over to Chief of Police of Lacub on the noon of September 7. He manifests symptoms of acute stress disorder (ASD). He was also instructed by the army to name Jay-ar Balaoag, Brgy. Capt. Of Lan-ag, Lacub as the NPA who fired and killed Noel Viste.
5. INDISCRIMINATE FIRING. On Sept 5 between 9:00-10:00 pm Army personnel stationed at the So. Bantugo, Poblacion, Lacub belonging to 41st IBPA indiscriminately fired their weapons in the direction of Talampac Proper and Pacoc, Talampac. An M203 shell landed in Bobon (production area) and the direction of the bullets was towards the houses This resulted in the following:
a. 3 farmers manning the irrigation were forced to sleep in the fields for fear of being strafed;
b. 6 families in So. Pacoc evacuated from their houses and stayed with their neighbors for the night; and
c. the suspension of classes in Bantugo Elementary and High School School and Our Lady of Guadalupe High School on September 5 and 8.
6. LIMITATION OF MOVEMENT IN THE COMMUNITY. Due to fear and to protect the residents from the military operation, Brgys. Talampak, Poblacion and Guinguinaban imposed a curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am. Small-scale miners stopped operating their mines since Sept 4 up to this reporting.
7. MILITARY ENCAMPMENT IN THE COMMUNITY. Despite two community petitions against the detachment in So. Bantugo, the 41st IBPA continue to maintain the encampment which is also near to Bantugo Elementary and High School. The recent indiscriminate firing drove the residents of Talampak to come into an agreement not to let their children attend school in Bantugo unless the detachment is removed.
THE FACT FINDING COORDINATING COMMITTEE
Rev. Moises Mardo (Save the Abra River Movement)
Marcelo Masadao (Kakailian Salakniban tay amin a Nagtaudan)
Ma. Teresa Forag (Abra Human Rights Movement)
Donna Rabang Peta (Ilocos Human Rights Alliance)
Ignacius Akien (Cordillera Disaster Response & Development Services)
Sherwin de Vera (Katinnulong Daguiti Umili ti Amianan, Inc.)