• Kidapawan farmers’ plight: picture perfect oppression
  • BS Aquino to Gov. Mendoza employ terror tactics to cover up negligence

Kidapawan farmers’ plight: picture perfect oppression

publicinfo: Apr 11 02:55PM +0800

Press Statement
April 11, 2016

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

Kidapawan farmers’ plight: picture perfect oppression

Karapatan calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Kidapawan farmers who were illegally arrested and detained after demanding from the provincial government of North Cotabato in Mindanao the release of rice supply as aid to farmers in drought-stricken communities.

At least 78 persons, majority are farmers from North Cotabato, were arrested in the aftermath of the bloody dispersal of the barricade on April 1, 2016. The farmers were charged with illegal assault and were required to post bail in the amount of Php 12,000 each.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, lambasted the prosecutor’s opposition to the motion to reduce bail filed by counsels of the farmers led by the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers. “Let us not forget that the peasants were in Kidapawan to seek the release of rice because they are hungry and could no longer plant.

How on earth could they post bail amounting to more or less PhP1 million when they could not even afford a kilo of rice? Nasaan ang hustisya dito? (Where is justice?),” Palabay said.

Of the 78 detained persons, there were 45 men, 29 women, and four minors. There are also three pregnant women and six elderly individuals among those who were arrested. At least seven victims of frustrated killing who were hospitalized were also charged with illegal assault. All minors were released on April 5 while two of the male detainees, who are health workers of the Fr. Fausto Tentorio Foundation, already posted bail.

Palabay called the farmers’ plight picture perfect oppression. “The farmers are victims of natural calamity who are victimized many times over by the regime’s neglect and brutality, illegal arrest and detention. Now, they are required to pay PhP12,000 each for their temporary liberty.”

Among the detained farmers, Christopher Candiban, 24, narrated that the police chased and fired at him and his pregnant wife. “The road was like on fire with every burst of gunfire,” Candiban said in his affidavit.

Two parish health volunteers were also rounded up by police. The two, Allie Ray Palma and Juanito Gomez, were called to help the wounded farmers, but ended up in jail as well. Palma and Gomez were stopped by police on their way to the United Methodist Church. The police searched their bags and
found medicine. The two were accused as “NPA doctors” and were sent to jail.

Arnel Takyawan is among the seven wounded protesters. He was hit in the right foot by one of the snipers on top of a fire truck. He said the police failed on his first attempt to shoot him. Takyawan and another wounded farmer ran to the Methodist church compound and hid but the police chased them. He was hesitant, he said, because he saw how the police beat up others who were already wounded. A police approached his companion and threatened, “Tapusin na natin ito (Let’s kill this one)”

The police brought Takyawan and companion to the emergency room of the Midway Hospital and told the doctors they were hit by stones. A policeman told him “*Yan ang napala n’yo sa kahihingi ng bigas. Mga tamad kasi kayo. Bigas ang inyong hinahanap, sa ospital kayo lumagpak*” (That’s what you get for asking rice. You are all lazy. You ask for rice, you end up in the hospital). Armed police guarded the wounded at the hospital. Takyawan was discharged from the hospital on April 5 and was immediately brought to the Kidapawan gym where other farmers were detained. ###

<publicinfo@karapatan.org> ——————————————————

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BS Aquino to Gov. Mendoza employ terror tactics to cover up negligence

publicinfo: Apr 11 11:24AM +0800

Press Statement
April 11, 2016

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

BS Aquino to Gov. Mendoza employ terror tactics to cover up negligence

“Starving farmers to death is not enough. From the national government, through BS Aquino and Dept. of Agriculture Sec. Proseso Alcala and Dept. of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Senen Sarmiento, to the local government through North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, who are all Liberal Party stalwarts, have used terror tactics against the struggling farmers of North Cotabato and their supporters to cover-up their criminal negligence,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

“The whole package of human rights violations from April 1 to present against the farmer protesters asking for food aid are the usual response of the BS Aquino government to escape accountability,” Palabay said. Karapatan has listed down the various rights violations.

1. Extrajudicial killings—there are at least two documented victims killed in the shooting during the violent dispersal by the Philippine National Police on April 1. They are Enrico Fabligar and Darwin Sulang. Karapatan fears that there are more victims during the shooting, which the police authorities try to hide by preventing paralegals, lawyers and human rights workers inspect hospitals and morgues.

2. Frustrated extrajudicial killings—based on video footage from of Kilab Multimedia, police and military were seen firing directly at protesters. At least 37 persons were wounded.

3. Illegal arrest and detention—at least 79 farmers and ordinary Kidapawan residents were illegally arrested during the dispersal, including three pregnant women and three senior citizens.

4. Violent dispersal—Police and soldiers under no circumstances are allowed to carry guns during rallies. There is no justification for using firearms to disperse any form of mass action or public assemblies.

5. Violation of right to counsel—many detainees were interrogated by the police, social workers from the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development and other government authorities, without the presence of their lawyer.

6. Denial of humanitarian aid—The delivery of medicines, food and even sacks of rice from people’s organizations and supporters was prevented or stalled by the police.

7. Illegal checkpoint, restriction of movement—the police and militaryprevented the flow of vehicles, even individuals going in and out of theUnited Methodist Church compound where the protesting farmers sought
snactuary. People are compelled to sign in a police logbook.

8. Threat, harassment and intimidation—Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)tanks, and police and elements of the 38th Infantry Battalion in fullcbattle gear cordoned the surroundings of the UMC.

9. Trumped up charges against leaders and protestors – Many peasant leaderscand injured farmers in the hospitals are now facing charges of directcassault, as if they weren’t the ones victimized by the terror of the

10. Illegal search of the buildings inside the UMC compound—the searchcwarrant used by the police was invalid because it was a general searchcwarrant that did not specify the kind of firearms the police were after.

“This worthless yellow government even resorts to victim-blaming and red scare tactics to justify the terror it used against the farmers. It is a lame attempt to redirect the issue away from the bigger question: Where are the El Niño funds allocated for the farmers of North Cotabato?” Palabay said.

“One can’t help but think that the P14M calamity fund intended for North Cotabato which includes food aid of 15,000 sacks of rice, has already been used up to ensure the victory of Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas,” Palabay said. ###

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts.,
Central DistrictDiliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES
1101Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

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.

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