Press Release | January 19, 2018

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580

Illegal arrests, frustrated killing, threats vs communities & human rights workers reported in first two weeks of 2018

“There is no let-up in the Duterte regime’s wanton violation of civil and political rights of farmers, indigenous peoples and human rights workers. In the first two weeks of 2018, reports of illegal arrests, frustrated killing, threats and harassment continue to come in. This forebodes another year of terror inflicted by Duterte and his rabid murderous dogs in the military and police,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay. 

Around 50 members of a fact finding and quick reaction mission led by Karapatan-Southern Tagalog were threatened and harassed by soldiers of the 85th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army, who stopped the contingent in a checkpoint at Brgy. Del Pilar, Lopez, Quezon province. The soldiers cocked and pointed their guns towards the human rights workers. They were eventually allowed to pass through, after negotiations and assertion of the mission members. 

Karapatan-ST conducted the said mission to look into reports of possible human rights violations by the military in Brgy. Jongo, after a reported encounter between soldiers and the New People’s Army. They will be releasing their findings in the coming days. 

On January 16, farmers Filjun Celeste Arpajo, 30 and Venjie Catampo, 28, both residents of Purok Mahayahay, Brgy. Marayag, Lupon, Davao Oriental were forcibly taken by suspected military elements of the 28th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army. According to the residents of the said village, the two were brought by the military and used as guides in their operations in the area. As of this writing, the victims are still in the custody of the military.

Indigenous people’s leader Alberto Andes, chairperson of Salabukan Nok G’taw Subanen (SGS), an organization of Lumad-Subanen, was illegally arrested by paramilitaries under the 5th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army on January 14, at around 7:00 am, his house at Bagumbayan, Sergio Osmena, Zamboanga del Norte. Brgy. Chairman Johnny Anoy, Brgy. Kag. Noel Orie and Brgy. Kag. Roberto Angga, also members of the Civilian Armed Force and Geographical Unit, brought Andes to the camp of the 1st Infantry Division-Philippine Army in Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. 

On January 13, Lumad residents reported loud explosions near Sitio Magkahunao, Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, while intermittent gunfire were also heard. Drones were also spotted on the same day and on January 16 hovering the communities. Since January 7, the 75th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army have been conducting military operations in the area, affecting fourteen communities and nine alternative schools for indigenous children. 

On January 9, peasant activists Jarold Adiaton, Jane Solis and Datu Maylan Andas were illegally arrested by soldiers and police in two separate incidents in North Cotabato. 

Adiaton and Solis, both members of the Balite Farmers Association (BFA), were forcibly taken by composite agents of 15th and 39th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army and Cotabato Provincial and municipal police officers inside their house at Brgy. Balite, Magpet. 
Andas, a member of the Manobo Aromanen Pasakkaday Association (MAPA) was arrested in his residence at Sitio Tungao, Brgy. Tempuran, Magpet.

BFA is a local peasant organization based in Magpet under Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-North Cotabato, while MAPA is a municipal lumad organization in the town under Apo Sandawa Lumadnung Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC). Solis was eventually released, while Adiaton and Andas are facing trumped up charges and are detained at the Amas District Jail. 

On the evening of January 8, 2018, two unidentified men sprayed bullets at the house of Lumad Ronel Asay, 29, and Jingky Asay, 33, members of Kayapan-Amihan, an organization of Mamanwa, in Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte. The couple escaped unharmed. The 29th Infantry Battalion is actively conducting military operations in the said community and is encamped about 2kms from the home of the Asays. Ronel has been subjected to military harassment for his involvement in Kayapan-Amihan.

As of December 2017, Karapatan documented 126 victims of extrajudicial killings and 235 cases of frustrated EJKs; 1,202 victims of illegal arrest, 272 of them were detained; and 426,590 victims of forced evacuation. 

“The real terrorists are the men in uniform, all acting at the behest of their generals and Commander in Chief Rodrigo Duterte, whose bloodlust has resulted in numerous killings and rights violations of the poor. We should resist the intensifying fascist attacks against the Filipino people through relentlessly exposing the real situation in our communities,” Palabay concluded. 

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.