NYCHRP Remembers the Victims of Martial Law in Mindanao; Commits to Defending Human Rights and Fighting Fascism

For Immediate Release

May 26, 2018

Reference: Rodrigo Bacus, Chairperson, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP),


On May 23, 2018, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) organized a prayer vigil in front of the Philippine Consulate General. Over two dozen people gathered in memory of the 49 victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao. Many also expressed solidarity with victims of forced displacement, illegal detentions and arrests, threats, intimidation, harassment, and many other human rights violations.

One year ago, on May 23, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, promising an end to the imposition in 6 months. The President also promised that martial law would be peaceful with no human rights violations. However, the actual implementation of martial law in the region, and its emboldening of fascist forces throughout the country, would undermine the reality of this promise. Karapatan, a national human rights organizations led by directly impacted people in the Philippines, has documented thousands of human rights violations in Mindanao as a result of martial law. These include 49 extrajudicial killings; 116 frustrated (attempted) extrajudicial killings; 22 torture; 89 illegal arrest and detention,; 9,738 threats, harassment, or intimidation;336,124 indiscriminate firing and bombings; 404, 654 forced evacuations;and 979 forced surrenders. Those who spoke at the prayer vigil highlighted the continued marginalization of Marawi residents, as well as the killing of Fr. Mark Ventura, a relative of a Gabriela New Jersey member.

Martial law continues to be imposed in Mindanao as it was recently extended on December 2017, through a legislative vote which survived a challenge to its constitutionality in the Philippine Supreme Court.

Solidarity allies noted that Duterte’s fascism was not limited to Mindanao and the Philippines. The Philippines has growing ties with other human rights violators in the world, particularly Israel. Some facts include: 1. The Philippines was the only Asian country to support UN Resolution 181 in 1947, the Partition of Palestine and creation of the State of Israel. 2. The Philippines recognized Israel and established diplomatic relations in 1957. 3. Although the Philippines voted in favor of a UN Resolution last week to investigate war crimes committed at the Gaza border, Duterte’s administration has also indicated that they plan on moving their embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel following the US’ decision. 4. On the third week of April 2018, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and specifically the Philippine Navy bought missiles, armored personnel carriers and radar from Israeli arms firms. Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong stated specifically that these missiles would be used for counter-terrorism efforts. 5. Duterte has openly stated that “In the matters of not buy from anyone except from Israel,” again explicitly bought for use in his 3 wars against the Filipino people. 6. Last week, in his greetings to the organizer of the “Israel and Philippines Friendship Celebration,” Duterte gushed for his ties to Israel: “For many years, our people have shared historical ties rooted in kindness and compassion for humanity. Bonded by mutual respect for our cultures and beneficial exchanges between our countries, we have laid the foundations for an enduring and flourishing partnership. Our collective efforts have borne fruit and resulted to significant progress in promoting political dialogue and enhancing trade, tourism, and business between our nations. As we face the challenges ahead we look forward to closely working with you in strengthening and developing our bilateral relations for the benefit and welfare of our peoples.”

At the end of the prayer vigil, participants committed to condemn the continued human rights violations of President Duterte, responding to the call to expose and oppose fascism, led by the Malaya Movement, on June 3rd – the same day as the annual celebration of Philippine independence in New York City.

NYCHRP and other human rights advocates call for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao and an end to the killings and other human rights violations.

#NeverAgainToMartialLaw #StandWithMarawi #StoptheKillingsPH



NYCHRP Condemns Continuation of Martial Law in Mindanao and Extends Solidarity to the People of Marawi

40504833040_2dc09515bd_o (1)

NYCHRP Condemns Continuation of Martial Law in Mindanao and Extends Solidarity to the People of Marawi
The following statement was made on May 23, 2018 by Malaika during NYCHRP’s vigil in memoriam of the victims of human rights violations due to Martial Law in the Philippines:

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. My name is Malaika and I am a New York-born Maranao. It has been one year since the Marawi Siege and the declaration of Martial law – and my relatives have still not returned. One year later and the Meranaos are still displaced. As we speak, there are one year old children – bomba kids as my Tita Unok lovingly says – who are growing up in a world without roots. For whom war torn lives is all they know.

One year later and the closest thing to “closure” that the Maranaos have are corrupt government plans, unanswered searches for the missing, a brief visit to the rubbles and looted houses of our one-year ago lives. Today, my relatives live 4 or 5 families to one small home in neighboring cities after being driven out of shelters. We are left out — left out of the news, left out of our homes, left out of the decisions on how to rebuild our city and left out of history. Worse than displaced – we are being actively replaced — replaced by lies, profit, and by military stronghold. Simply put, the Maranaos have suffered land grabbing and a loss of livelihood. As martial law stifles the voices calling for basic human decency, for accountability – they steal our land in the name of the War on Terror and sell it to the highest bidders. Hoping to replace us with a “virtual paradise”, to render our ancient city an empty shell of itself. Hoping to turn us indigenous people into brief captions of a storied past and turn living into dead museum pieces.

But the truth they try to obscure with the smoke screen of Bangon Marawi and superficial political players arguing over the crumbs they are trying to pass off as genuine efforts – the truth is my very existence even as an internationally displaced Moro is that the power to rebuild Marawi lies in the hands of the Maranao themselves. While they continue to try to actively keep us scattered, disconnected, and humiliated – the truth is our connectedness cannot be so easily erased. Panandem. I remember, the fierce spirit of the Maranao, the unconquered, who resisted the Spanish, who resisted the Americans and whose strength rages through my veins. Standing before you today, I carry the voice of the United Mothers of Marawi, of the fierce Maranao youth, of the people power that will always demand for justice. My duty today as a Maranao in New York – our duty as Filipinos, and allies- is to amplify the voices demanding justice for the Maranaos and the oppressed. We will not let Marawi be another overlooked destroyed culture and perpetually impoverished Muslim community – among the many littered throughout the global “War on Terror”. One year later, and we should not be defeated. One year later and the Maranao will be louder than ever. We will not be quiet. We will not be ignored.

We need to demand that Marawi is for the Maranaos not for foreign investors! We need to demand that the Maranaos be allowed to rebuild their own city. We need to stand with the Maranaos. Unite with us, fast with us, remember our hunger, and demand justice.

Please join our Muslim brothers and sisters in solidarity – amplify their voices and join them in their struggle. During this month of Ramadan, I urge you to fast in solidarity, break fast with us, build with us, and strengthen our collective struggles. Fight displacement! Defend ancestral land! Let the Maranaos return home!

#Love4Marawi #StandwithMarawi #DuyogRamadan #SolidarityIftar



April 18, 2018


Pam Tau Lee, ICHRP-US Chairperson, 415-602-1401

Terry Valen, ICHRP-US Quick Response to Pressing Issues Workgroup, 415.203.0696

Rhonda Ramiro, ICHRP-US Secretariat, 415-377-2599,


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Jerome Aladdin Succor Aba, a peace-building advocate from Mindanao,  has been denied entry to the US and is being held at the airport, scheduled for deportation tonight (Wed, April 18). Authorities have not released the basis for the denial.

Advocates are gathering at the San Francisco International Airport, where Aba has been detained for more than 15 hours, to demand his release and for him to be allowed entry in the US. Advocates are also launching a phone barrage to the Customs and Border Protection Agency for those outside of the San Francisco/Bay Area.

WHAT: Action to support and demand release of Jerome Succor Aba (phone campaign and airport mobilization)

WHERE: San Francisco International Airport, International Arrivals area (for those outside the Bay Area, call the CBP at 415-782-9200 to demand Aba be released immediately)
WHO: Coordinated by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) US Chapter

Aba is a peace-building advocate from Mindanao, Southern Philippines invited to the US by several church institutions, including the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Sisters of Mercy, and the General Board of Global Ministries-UMC to serve as a resource speaker at their respective events, including those of the Sixteenth National Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) for Global Peace with Justice in Washington D.C. on April 20-23, 2018.  The EAD is an annual national gathering of churches on peace and social justice issues that concludes with lobby visits on Capitol Hill. Aba was to speak on the human rights situation in the Philippines under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte, as well as continue speaking beyond DC on as part of the Stop The Killings Speaking Tour sponsored by ICHRP.