Archive | May 2018

Human Rights Watch Report on the Philippines


Philippine Military Murders Child Near Davao City then attempts to force Mother to admit Son is NPA so they can claim he was Child Soldier

Mother of slain minor forced to admit son as NPA
May. 21, 2018 KATH M. CORTEZ
DAVAO CITY Philippines- Mother of slain 15-year-old Jhun Mark Acto feared for her life after several unidentified men went to their house in Old Bulatukan, Makilala town, North Cotabato.

Jhun Mark was killed during an encounter between the government troops and the New People’s Army last April 21 in Sta. Cruz Davao del Sur.

The military has identified the slain boy as a member of the New People’s Army and reported that an M16 rifle and grenade were found in the boy’s body.

His mother, Marissa Acto,has denied that her son was an NPA rebel. Acto was a grade 8 student of Ricardo L. Ipong National High School.

She said after they buried her son last April 29, several men went to their house several times to convince her family that Jhun Mark was a member of the NPA.

Acto also said that some of the men have asked her mobile number but she refused to give in.

In a fact-finding mission held on May 19, 2018 in Sitio Bayungon, Barangay Astorga in Sta. Cruz, human rights group KARAPATAN Southern Mindanao and Childrens Rehabilitation Center (CRC) have documented several cases of human rights violations.

KARAPATAN said that the military violated the International Humanitarian Law with civilians as shields during it’s counter-insurgency operations.

They have also documented cases of Extrajudicial and frustrated killings as well as the illegal arrest of Jessa Bernabe Lumana, a 23-year-old resident of Sitio Langan Barangay Coronon who was charged with illegal possession of explosives.

They added that one Jellyto Antonio, 43, was also charged with illegal possession of firearms. Both of them are currently detained in Sta. Cruz Municipal Police Station.

The group also recorded a violation of Children’s rights to protection and safety as well as the displacement of 67 families affected by the incident.

KARAPATAN urged the Regional Peace and Order Council to investigate the cases of human rights and international humanitarian law violations and recommended for the filing of charges and prosecution of the perpetrators from the 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Sent.

The human rights group also called for the indemnification of the family of Jhun Mark Acto and other victims.

Davao Today

Sandugo blames martial law for spike in rights violations in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Five days before the first year anniversary of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, Lumad and Moro groups trooped in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Manila to denounce martial rule in Mindanao, which they blamed for the “massive destruction of communities” in the island.

“President Duterte and the AFP turned Marawi into a city of rubbles. Now Mindanao is ruined due to the over extension of martial law and All-Out War,” said Sandugo co-chairperson Jerome Succor Aba.

The Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination staged a protest in front of the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday morning and dumped rubbles at the gates of the camp to symbolize the “ruined lives” brought by the martial law.

Aba said almost half a million Lumad and Moro have been displaced and are being prohibited from returning to their communities.

“Most are still suffering in cramped evacuation centers receiving minimal assistance from the government. Others have sought refuge elsewhere,” Aba added.

Human rights situation in Mindanao

In a statement, human rights group Mindanao Barug Katungod said there were 130 documented cases of extrajudicial killings since President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last year. The group said most of the victims are peasants and indigenous people or Lumad.

The group also said there are 404 individuals, mostly leaders of Lumad, Moro, peasant organizations, activists and human rights workers, who are facing trumped-up charges in various courts.

“They are forced to face these false charges. Others go into hiding to secure their lives and their families,” Aba said.

The group cited the latest case of human rights violation: the detention of a 70-year-old farmer Clarito Suarez and Ricmic Budta, 17 years old, allegedly by members of the military in Trento, Agusan del Sur last May 9.

Karapatan earlier reported that the two were at their farm when the military was conducting military operations. They were later brought to the 25th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Monkayo, Compostel Valley and were only released the next day.

The AFP 10th Infantry Division belied the allegation in a statement.

“This is the face of martial law and All-Out War in Mindanao – destruction. If the Duterte regime thinks it can to solve the problem of rebellion by destroying his people and his own island of Mindanao – then he is wrong. Fascist measures and repression will only push us, the national minorities to further resist, fuelling even more the existing rebellion,” Aba said.

Aba said the government should instead focus on addressing the roots of social unrest and civil war in the country and called for the resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front.

The group urged the President to lift martial law and render justice to all the victims of human rights violations in the course of the government’s all out war declaration against insurgency.

President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23 last year declared martial law in the entire Mindanao island after clashes erupted between government troops and Maute group in Marawi City.

In December, majority of the members of the Philippine Congress voted in favor of President Duterte’s request to extend martial law until the end of 2018.

The Supreme Court on February 6 upheld the year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao. (


ILPS condemns Canada’s ongoing complicity in expulsion of Palestinians

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) in Canada condemns in the strongest terms possible the Trudeau government’s ongoing support for US-Zionist imperialism in Palestine on this the 70th Anniversary of the Nakba.

Nakba Day or “Day of the Catastrophe” is commemorated every May 15 to remember the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their lands and villages and to celebrate the resiliency and resistance of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants who continue to struggle for their right to return to their homeland.

For the past seven decades the Zionist state of Israel has continued a policy of ethnically cleansing the indigenous Palestinian population from their homeland while simultaneously cultivating the myth of a “democratic beachhead’ in the Middle East.

Since the foundation of Israel, successive Canadian governments have been complicit in the theft of Palestinian land, the implementation of Israeli Apartheid and the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people in the Middle East.

Canadian diplomats Lester Pearson and Supreme Court Justice Ivan Rand were architects of the UN Plan to Partition Palestine. Canada has provided support and charitable status to the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a key institution in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian lands.  Canada has supported the Zionist State diplomatically – it was the first country after Israel to impose sanctions against the Palestinian Authority in 2006 in an attempt to sow division among the Palestinian political factions.

Canada has quietly supported the building of the Wall that divides Palestinian communities and lands and further encourages settlement.   While Israel has continued to build illegal settlements furthering the ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, Canada has actively tried to prevent the sanction of these activities. In 2009 Canada was to sole country to oppose UN Human Rights Council actions against continued settlement activity and the violation of Palestinian rights.

In 2006, when Israel put the entire Gaza strip on a “diet” that restricted the daily caloric intake of food supplies entering the West Bank to starvation levels, Canada said it was a “measured response”. And while Israeli occupation forces this year have murdered 49 unarmed protesters, including 6 journalists, during the Gaza March of Return, Canada has said nothing about these crimes against humanity.

Whenever Palestinians stand up and oppose the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the collective punishment, Canada has joined with the US to provide a pass on the most barbaric acts and gross human rights violations. Critiques of the Israeli Apartheid regime are now routinely labeled anti-Semitic, Israel’s justification for any sins.

Nonetheless, support for Palestine and Palestinian human rights is growing in Canada. A growing number of people are joining the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, despite efforts by various levels of the Canadian State to repress, condemn and de-legitimize the movement.

It is Israel itself that has become illegitimate in the eyes of the people of the world, as the courageous resistance and struggles of the Palestinian people has exposed it as nothing but a murderous tool of imperialism.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) expresses its solidarity and support with the peoples of Palestine.  We stand with Palestinian refugees and their descendants struggling for their right of return. We stand with Palestinian prisoners who continue to organize and speak out even from the depths of the occupation dungeons.  We stand for the liberation of Palestine!

  • Oppose US-Zionist Imperialism!
  • Oppose Canada’s shameful support of Israel!
  • No to Settler Colonialism in Palestine!
  • Withdraw charitable status from the land-stealing Jewish National Fund!
  • Free all Palestinian political prisoners!
  • Support the Right of Return for all Palestinian Refugees!
  • From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!


Philippines: UN racial discrimination experts voice concern at “terrorist” list

GENEVA (May 14, 2018) – Indigenous peoples and human rights defenders must be removed from a list of more than 600 individuals alleged to be affiliated with “terrorist organizations,” the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said in a decision on the Philippines issued in the course of the Committee’s 95th session, held in Geneva.


The full decision is included below this press release.


The Committee, which monitors the implementation of the UN anti-racism Convention which the Philippines ratified in 1967, addressed what they termed the dire situation faced by indigenous leaders and human rights defenders engaged in the fight against racial discrimination in the country.


Acting under its preventive mechanism — the Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures that aims to prevent existing situations from escalating into conflicts and limit the scale of serious violations of the Convention — the Committee expressed alarm at the inclusion of incumbent and former UN mandate holders on that list.


“The list aims to intimidate people struggling for their rights and indigenous people defending their lands. It is part of a wider campaign by the State party to narrow the democratic space and to target various groups of persons,” the Committee members added.


In its decision, the Committee requests the Philippines to take effective measures to protect indigenous peoples and human rights defenders, and to foster a conducive environment enabling them to carry out their work without fear. It furthermore requested the Philippines to provide information no later than 16 July 2018.



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Members of CERD are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty. More information on the Committee here:

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Fr. Rex Reyes Secretary General of the United Council of Churches of the Philippines to Speak at First United Church – Ottawa Sunday May 13th 2018 3:00 to 5 pm.

Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines are under attack,  issues related to Mining and agricultural development have put people living in remote and isolated communities under threat of military and development aggression.   We are honoured to welcome to Fr. Rex Reyes,  activist minister, human rights defender indigenous community leader and Secretary General of the United Council of Churches of the Philippines,  he will be sharing his observations on the current human right situation of for Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.
The event entitled Inter-Faith Merienda is open to all.  The event is organized by Migrante, OCHRP, ANAKBAYAN,  the International League of Peoples Struggles, and the United Church of Canada  with the First United Church (Rev. Brian Cornelius) graciously hosting the event.
Merienda, as per filipino tradition is the mid afternoon snack so food and drink will be served.
There more information on the attached facebook page
Padi Rex” as he is widely known holds the distinction of being the first Indigenous person of the Igorot Tribe of the Cordilleras in Northern Philippines, to be elected as General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the position he has held since 2007.
Fr. Rex is visiting Canada from May 6th  – 26th, 2018.  On May 9th Fr. Rex received a Doctor of Divinity Degree (Honoris Causa) for his important work on human rights, peace, and justice in the Philippines, from Union Theological College in Montreal.
Following his confirmation Fr. Rex embarked on a Canada-wide advocacy tour starting in Montreal, with stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and British Columbia, to highlight the human rights situation in the Philippines under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.