September 18, 2017
QUEZON CITY – On the second week of the Lakbayan 2017, representatives of National Minorities are filing complaints against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). The delegation trooped to the Philippine government section of the GRP-NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee on CARHRIHL.
SANDUGO criticized Pres. Duterte for the failure to stand by its commitment to implement CARHRIHL and has, instead, waged an all-out war and declared martial law, which violates the 1998 agreement.
“Pres. Duterte has driven the peace talks down the drain by insisting on a ceasefire ahead of the agreement on social and economic reforms and in total disregard of the CARHRIHL,” said Jerome Aba, co-chairperson of Sandugo.
Among the cases to be filed are violations committed in relation to the Marawi siege and the government’s implementation of all-out war/martial law:
- The killing of the Lumad youth Obillo Bay-ao who was killed by members of the paramilitary group Alamara and CAFGU on September 5, 2017. Bay-ao is a student of a Lumad school, Salugpungan Learning Center, in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
- The case of a 74 year-old Marcos Aggalao of Kalinga province who died while in detention on Sept. 12, 2017. A veteran of the anti-Chico dam struggle, Aggalao was arrested on September 2016 and suffered stroke thrice while in jail. At the time of hisarrest, Aggalao has dementia, pneumonia and hypertension.
- Extrajudicial killings (EJK), illegal arrests and detention, harassment and threat and divestment of properties among the Maranao in Marawi. Also included are 14 cases of EJKs, 10 cases of illegal arrest and detention, harassment, threat and intimidation, and cases of violation of domicile, physical and mental torture.
Also included are violations committed in the Caraga and Negros regions and those incurred by Consunji mining in the South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat area.
Duterte’s allout war/martial law and failure to push peace talks forward
“Duterte’s war against the national minorities and the poor majority of the people does not address the root causes of the armed conflict but only adds fuel to the ongoing people’s war,” said Aba.
Thousands of national minorities are suffering the brunt of the social and economic crisis sweeping the country. They are further burdened by the entry of foreign monopoly capitalist corporations, endorsed by government and a fascist military, encroaching on their territories and ancestral lands.
Pres. Duterte has dashed all hoped that a Joint Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms can be signed. The agreement could have addressed the reforms needed by the Filipino People, including the demands of the national minorities for rights and right to self-determination, and for the protection of their territories and ancestral lands against plunder.
“As the fight for their economic and political rights continues, so is the pressure by a fascist military defending landlords, companies and foreign monopoly corporations getting bigger,” Aba added.
Sandugo calls on the people to raise the call for the resumption of the peace talks even as they advance their struggle, with the rest of the Filipino people, for a just and meaningful peace in the country.