31 July 2019
An Open Letter to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
RE: STOP THE ATTACKS in Negros, Lift Memorandum Order #32
For reference: Rev. Stuart Lyster (Ret.)
Minister, United Church of Canada
The Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR) vehemently condemns as reports of killings on Negros island continue to pour in.
Mr. President, on November 22, 2018, you signed Memorandum Order No.32 to “suppress lawless violence” in Negros, Samar, and Bicol against alleged supporters of the revolutionary movement. The death toll on the island now runs at 83—and the killings escalate not just in number but in brutality.
In just four days, 13 civilians have been shot dead. July 25 witnessed the brunt of these murders, seven were killed in just one day including a school principal, Arthur Bayawa, 55 and his sister Ardale, a 49-year-old employee of the Department of Education inside their home in Barangay Hibaiyo, Barangay Chairman of
Buenavista, Romeo Alipan, 64, and two days after, lawyer Anthony Trinidad was killed while his wife was wounded by motorcycle-riding assailants in the city.
Report said Trinidad had been receiving death threats after being tagged as a
supporter of the rebel group.
CPSHR condoles with the family and friends of the victims who had
courageously defended the people and stood with the community they’ve hailed from and served.
Mr. President, as Commander-in Chief, we hold you accountable for this crime of violence. Many activists, progressive organizations, and targeted communities are aware of the brutality and abuses that the State’s security forces are capable of and we see it more at an alarming rate.
We call the immediate lifting of Memorandum #32, which has encouraged violence aimed at civilians in the area, as well as the demilitarization of the entire island of Negros.
We call on your administration and all its institutions to uphold the basic human rights of the citizens whom you have sworn to serve.
The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. ~Albert Einstein