Duterte’s Continuing Reign of Terror: Ang Bayan Human Rights Report 2018 (January-December 7, 2018)

Duterte’s Continuing Reign of Terror
Ang Bayan Human Rights Report
(January-December 7, 2018)

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In conjunction with the commemoration of the December 10 International Human Rights Day, we are issuing this report culled from Ang Bayan’s (AB) news reports of human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and other armed agents of the US-Duterte. .

This year, AB monitored an average of almost 82 cases of human rights violations per day or a total number of 29,869 victims from January to December 7, 2018. Close to four victims are killed every two weeks while at least three are illegally arrested and detained per week. An average of at least 12 activists and progressives are threatened, intimidated and harassed per day. This summary report affirms the grave state of human rights in the Philippines even as numerous other cases are yet to be reported in AB. We enjoin everyone to submit reports of additional cases.

With the implementation of Duterte’s National Internal Security Plan (NISP) this year which purportedly aims to decimate the revolutionary armed movement, the fascist suppression of civil liberties and democratic rights and brutality will surely intensify against the people, especially the opressed masses of peasants, workers and national minorities .

Killings, frustrated killings and torture

Based on the initial tally of Ang Bayan, there have been at least 106 civilian victims of extrajudicial (political) killings from January to December 7 this year. In Negros Island, which is dubbed a social volcano because of intense land conflicts, 23 victims of extrajudicial killings, 18 of whom are peasants, were reported. The victims include nine members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) who were massacred by suspected Special Civilian Active Auxiliary elements in Hacienda Nene, Purok Fire Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental on on October 20.

Twenty victims were also killed in the Bicol region. Among them are five residents of Barangay Nabongsoran, Aroroy, Masbate who were massacred by CAFGU troopers on June 8. Meanwhile, 44 other victims were killed in Mindanao under the regime’s continuing martial law.

On top of this, there were also 47 victims of frustrated killings. The victims include Jerry Alicante and Victor Ageas who were shot by unidentified men in Compostela Valley last November 11 and September 4, respectively. Both are members of Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms (NAMASUFA) and are actively campaigning for the regularization of contractuals and the recognition of the right of their union to collective bargaining.

At least 37 individuals were also subjected to torture. Among the victims are five students, all minors, of the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) in Magpet, North Cotabato who were coerced by 19th IB troopers to disclose information on the whereabouts of members of the NPA, and were forced to kneel on the ground, beaten, and threatened to be killed after failing to respond.

Bombing, strafing, attacks on communities and forcible evacuation

Not less than 22 incidents of indiscriminate bombing and/or strafing and 54 incidents of military occupation and attacks on communities resulting in the evacuation of about 24,667 individuals (excludingMarawi residents who remain in evacuation centers up to the present) have been reported by AB this year.

Four incidents of bombing and/or strafing perpetrated by various military units were recorded in Northern Mindanao. Meanwhile, 11 incidents of occupation and attacks were reported each in Southern Tagalog and Caraga. Massive evacuation of Moro residents from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (12,100 evacuees) and peasant and Lumad residents from Caraga (8,791) were reported as well.

Among the most vicious military actions are the bombing and mortar shelling carried out by the AFP Joint Task Force Central with the assistance of US Army Special Forces in Barangay Bialong, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on September 5 which killed Farida Asim and wounded two others; the strafing and bombing launched by the Joint Task Force Ranao under the guise of “counter-terrorism” in the towns of Tubaran, Pagayawan and Binidayan, Lanao del Sur which resulted in the mass evacuation of more than 11,000 individuals; and the repeated evacuation of thousands of Manobo from Lianga and San Agustin Surigao del Sur and hundreds of Dumagats from Gen. Nakar, Quezon due to the unrelenting abuses perpetrated by AFP troopers occupying their respective communities.

Illegal arrest and detention.

This year, at least 271 were illegally arrested and detained by military and police force. On top of this are 407 victims of arbitrary detention.

In Central Luzon, 50 cases of illegal arrest and detention were reported. Among the victims are 42 striking NutriAsia workers, their supporters and members of the media who were illegally arrested and detained by elements of the Philippine National Police-Meycauayan after the violent dispersal of their picketline in font of the factory in Marilao, Bulacan on June 14 (23 victims) and July 30 (19 victims).

In the Davao region, at least 45 were illegally arrested and detained. Among the starkest cases is the illegal arrest of 18 leaders and activists, including former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Party Rep. France Castro, who were all slapped with trumped-up charges of kidnapping and human trafficking in Tagum City last November 29. A day earlier, elements of the police, 56th IB and the Municipal Social Work and Development Office put up roadblocks, interrogated and arbitrarily detained them together with 61 other delegates of the National Humanitarian Mission and the Manobo evacuees they rescued from Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

Threats, Harassments and Intimidation

At least 4,282 individuals have been subjected to threats, harassments or intimidation this year. More than a thousand victims are from Caraga (1,659), 1,600 of whom are Manobo evacuees from Lianga who were harassed by 75th IB troopers on their way to and even while staying in the evacuation center to escape military harassment in their communities. On July 16, the soldiers blocked the route of the evacuees using two six-by-six trucks, and on July 18, blocked the entry of sacks of rice and food for the immediate consumption of the evacuees.

The victims also include National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultants Rey Casambre, Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad and Rafael Baylosis who were all arrested this year in violation of the Joint Agreement on Immunity and Security Guarantees (JASIG) which grants them rights against surveillance and arrests. They are among the 600 names of activists and political personalities included in the proscription case against the CPP and NPA filed by the Department of Justice at the Manila Regional Trial Court on February 22.

The regime recently issued Executive Order 70, which created the National Task Force (which shall purportedly implement the whole-of-nation approach, derived from the “whole-of-government” concept espoused by the US State Department’s 2009 Counterinsurgency Guide), and Memorandum Order 32 (which directly deployed additional battalions to three regions to supposedly counter “lawless violence and terrorism”) to push for the institutionalization of its NISP. With this scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship across the country, the further intensification of suppression is imminent this coming year.