October 28, 2014
Reference: Yoko Liriano, Education Coordinator, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, firstname.lastname@example.org
NY Human Rights Group Denounces Bout of Human Rights Violation in Northeast Mindanao, Philippines
The New York Committee of Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) condemns, in the strongest terms, the extra-judicial killings, frustrated extra-judicial killings, and indiscriminate firings targeted towards indigenous and anti-mining activists and perpetrated by the Philippine military in Surigao Del Sur and Agusan Del Sur on October 24, 2014.
The violations included the extra-judicial killing of Henry Alameda, 44 years old, a committed leader of the Lumads (a category of indigenous people in Mindanao) who strongly opposed the aggressive entry of large scale coal mining and the military’s Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD); extra-judicial killing of Aldren Dumaguit, 21 years old; frustrated extra-judicial killing of Alejandro M. Dumaguit, Barangay Captain and resident of San Lorenzo, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur; indiscriminate firing and injury of Elejen Dumaguit, 13 years old; Arsenio Precioso, 50 years old; Alfredo Undayon, 49 years old; and Lynlyn Undayon, 8 years old.
On October 23, 2014, according to Karapatan Caraga, a human rights organization based in the region the killings took place, Marcos Bocales, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-backed Task Force Gantangan and the current right-hand of Datu Kalpet Igwa, sent text messages and called known leaders of MAPASU (Continuing Struggle for the Next Generation). Witnesses said that Bocales stated, “Panahon on nu ug yusubon ko to dagaeha to mgo lider!”(“It is time for me to put holes in the chests of leaders!”)
On October 24, 2014 at around 7 o’clock in the morning, about 19 members of the 29th IB, 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 2ND Scout Rangers Battalion and armed Lumads identified to be followers of Datu Kalpet arrived in Sitio Kabalawan, San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. They went inside the house of Henry Alameda, who was eating breakfast with his family, dragged him outside, and mercilessly shot him in different parts of his body, killing him as a result.
On the same day, about 40 soldiers from the 2ND Scout Rangers Battalion and paramilitary groups who were in military operations chanced upon Ariel Pagalan, 28 years old, a Lumad who was harvesting abaca in the mountainous area of Brgy. Libas Sud, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. The military men aimed their guns and assaulted Ariel while pointing guns on Ariel’s companions to prevent them from defending her.
At about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Barangay Captain Undo Dumaguit and his son Alden Dumaguit were shot in Brgy. San Lorenzo, Agusan del Sur by military men belonging to the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and 2nd Scout Rangers Battalion.
At around 6 o’clock in the evening, military men and Bagani paramilitary members went by the house of Genasque Enriquez, GenSec of KASALO-CARAGA.
NYCHRP demands an impartial investigation to be launched immediately to hold accountable the perpetrators of this brutal bout of state repression. To date, there has been over 204 incidences of extra-judicial killings recorded since Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III took office in 2010. The United States government finances the Armed Forces of the Philippines $50 million dollars a year from taxes paid by the American people, while funding for healthcare, education, and other basic services in the U.S. are facing chronic funding cuts.
Extra-judicial killings, and other human rights violations such as this, are a result of Philippine government’s counter-insurgency program called “Oplan Bayanihan.” Human rights violators evade accountability, coddled by the Philippine President. In most cases, leaders of military death squads are honored with promotions for their work as murderers of communities opposing government-sanctioned mining projects causing their displacement and neglect. These crimes against the people must stop. Call, email, or fax your U.S. legislators to stop funding the Armed Forces of the Philippines and pressure President Aquino to hold perpetrators of these heinous crimes accountable.
You may send your communications to:
Rep. Steve Chabot (Republican – Ohio)
Chairman, House Committee of Foreign Affairs
2371 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Democrat – Vermont)
Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations
437 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
James P. McGovern (Democratic Staff)
Frank R. Wolf (Republican Staff)
Co-Chairman, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Justice for Henry Alameda!
Stop the filing of trumped up cases against civilians!
Oppose and defeat Oplan Bayanihan!
Defend the rights of the Lumad people!