CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE ACTION ALERT: CALL TO STOP POLITICAL KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES!
It is with outrage and anguish that we inform you of the killing of one of our most devoted and committed leaders, Rafael Markus Bangit, 47 years old and a respected tribal leader. He was gunned down by hooded men on June 8, 2006 in Isabela, while in transit to Baguio from his home province, Kalinga. [download the fact sheet on this incident]
Others of our leaders continue to be under surveillance, even those not included in the military hitlist that we exposed last February. Those who are under intense surveillance include Pastor Vergel Aniceto, Ignacio Pangket, Leonida Tundage, Geannette Galvez, Art malecdan in addition to those in the hitlist, namely Joan Carling, Windel Bolinget, Manny Loste, Julian Gayumba, Jose Cawiding and Xavier Akien. We are taking precaution, but nothing is secure; we remain defenseless.
Rafael Markus Bangit is already the 682nd victim of extra judicial killing since 2001, and the 99th for this year, according to the documentation of KARAPATAN (Philippine Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights). Those who have been killed include church workers, indigenous leaders and advocates, government employees, and local government officials who had been fighting for justice on behalf of their people or active in raising legitimate issues against the government. Likewise, more than 140 activists have been abducted and remain missing.
In addition, 42 journalists have been killed since 2001 ““ five of them since January, according to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP).
Because of mounting pressure on the Philippine government ““ including a strong statement from Amnesty International and an expression of concern from the US Senate and the US Embassy ““ the President in May this year ordered an investigation of the extrajudicial killings and called for a stop to these.
The killers, however, persist with impunity. The military is making excuses and justifications without any credibility, and only pays lip service to the need for investigations and for solutions to cases of human rights violations.
It is thus critical at this stage to heighten the political pressure on the Philippine government from all corners of the world, and demand accountability and respect for the sanctity of life and for human rights. The Philippine government is now part of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNCHR), and it would be important to expose its record of gross human rights violations and demand that political killings be stopped and justice be given the victims.
It is in this context that we again request your support by writing letters to concerned government officials here and drawing international attention to the worsening political killings and human rights violations in the Philippines. With sustained and broadening international attention, we hope lives will be saved, and the human rights situation will improve.
The names and addresses of concerned government officials are provided below, and a sample letter is attached. Letters sent directly to Philippine government officials and to officials of the United Nations, will have more impact, as will the issuance of public statements via the mass media. We shall also be circulating a sign-on letter to those who cannot make their own letter but are willing to express their concern. We are also attaching the update and request for support.
Thanks again for your invaluable solidarity and support.
LIST OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FOR LETTERS OF CONCERN:
1. Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace Compound
J.P. Laurel St. San Miguel Manila
2. Hon. Avelino J Cruz Jr.
Department of National Defense
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
3. Hon. Purificacion C. Valera Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
4. Hon. Jannette Cansing Serrano
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
telFax: + 632-373-96-33; +632-373-9787
CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE
#2 P. Guevarra Street, West Moder Site
Aurora Hill, 2600 Baguio City, Philippines