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Urgent Appeal: The harassment of the staff of PMPI, a network of POs, NGOs and church/faith-based groups - active in the campaign against mining
General Campaigns
Monday, 07 December 2015 17:20

URGENT APPEAL



December 7, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) The harassment of the staff of Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI), a network of people’s organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and church/faith-based groups - active in the campaign against mining.


Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the harassment of the staff of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI), a network of people’s organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and church/faith-based groups – that is at the forefront of campaigns against mining.

CASE DETAILS:

Account of the incident:

Human rights defenders Ms. Yolanda Esguerra, Ms. Candy Hidalgo, Mr. Edel Garingan and Mr. Victor Morillo, all connected with the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI)[1] have been subject of alleged intimidation by the Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) as appeared on the column written by Ellen Tordesillas with the Abante and Malaya, reportedly published online on September 8 and 9, 2015.

According to the said articles, HMC project manager Mr. Arnilo Milaor filed a libel suit against the four PMPI staff on June 20, 2015 (*Abante) and a libel suit under the Republic Act No. 10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (*Malaya), also on June 20, 2015 http://malaya.com.ph/business-news/opinion/truth-only-please. The case is reportedly linked to the anti-mining activities of the PMPI in Guiuan, Eastern Samar where the HMC operates.

Tordesillas went on to write that “Ang pagtulong sa kapwa ay hindi dapat rason para mag­sinungaling. Kung ang isang tao o grupo, ay walang kiyemeng mag-imbento ng kwento para lang makuha ng atensyon ng media sa kawsa na kanilang isinusulong, medyo nakaka­duda yata. Panloloko na yata ‘yun.” Tordesillas’ statement allegedly implied that the above-mentioned PMPI staff are using their organization’s advocacy to deceive people.

The PMPI staff however did not receive the said complaint cited in Tordesillas’ articles. When the articles were posted online, the PMPI communicated with the Office of the Prosecutors in Borongan and Guiuan, Eastern Samar about the said complaint but to no avail. There were no legal documents sent to them and in fact, the said possible complaint was only discovered through the Internet posts by Mr. JB Baylon, vice president for Communications of Nickel Asia Corporation, HMC’s mother company, who has also allegedly posted vague threats towards PMPI. One such threat was his comment on the picture shown below, and the other (has since been deleted) which allegedly said “Napipikon na ko sa isang NGO, kailangan bigyan ng leksyon.

On October 9, 2015, copy of the subpoena was delivered to and received by the PMPI. They have been summoned to appear before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Taguig City last October 30, 2015 at 10:00AM to answer the charge of cyber crime libel by the HMC represented by Mr. Milaor.

The PMPI is a legally registered network of people’s organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), church/faith-based groups and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany based in Aachen, Germany.

“Even before Typhoon Yolanda hit the country in November 2013, PMPI already had partner community organizations in both islands under their anti-mining campaigns: Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO) and Homonhon Environmental Rescuers Organization (HERO).” The PMPI has an ongoing post-Yolanda initiative called Project Pagbangon, which initially started as a relief effort to support partner communities of member organizations in Panay and Eastern Samar. The main objective of the project is to secure the survival of the affected communities, with the perspective to help in the early recovery phase of the islands.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 December 2015 17:23
 
Urgent Appeal: Violent Dispersal and the Arrest and Detention of A Farmer Leader during Protest Rally in Ilo-Ilo City
General Campaigns
Thursday, 29 October 2015 17:38

Dear Friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the violent dispersal of protest of Bukluran ng Progresibong Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (BPMP) farmer members and the arbitrary arrest of Joel Gepaya, BPMP Chairperson and Alab Katipunan (AK) Panay Coordinator.

CASE DETAILS:

On October 4, 2015, 2:30 p.m., BPMP farmer members were conducting a rally on the occasion of the Asia-Economic Corporation (APEC) meeting at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City when they were violently dispersed by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) led by PSupt. Adrian Acollador, Public Order Task Unit Commander.

On the day of the incident, farmers from the whole district of Iloilo City and Capiz arrived at the assembly point in Barangay Ungka, Jaro, Iloilo City at around 9:00 a.m.  

According to Aurora Cutanda, Alab Katipunan Council and BPMP treasurer, 5,000 members were expected to participate in the rally but only about 3,000 members arrived because six (6) vehicles from the 1st district of Iloilo were blocked at the PNP checkpoint and were not allowed to pass.

Cutanda narrated that fifteen (15) vehicles from the 3rd district were also blocked at the PNP check point in Barangay Kabatuan, Iloilo City. The men were instructed to step down from the vehicle for inspection. They were allowed to pass and proceed to Ungka, Jaro, Iloilo after their lawyer, Atty. Rene Sarabia who was with them negotiated with the PNP personnel.

At around 1:00 p.m., the farmer members and supporters started to march toward the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC).  After about one kilometer, when they reached Barangay Sambag, 300 PNP members with anti-riot shields and truncheons blocked their way. They were forced to take another route leading to Jaro Plaza only to be confronted again with the barricade of PNP personnel and their mobile patrol vehicles.

According to BPMP Chairperson and Alab Katipunan Panay Coordinator Joel Gepaya, they turned along El 98 street going to Jaro Cathedral in front of SM City Jaro and stopped to wait for the rest of delegation.

According to Gepaya, he was being interviewed by members of the media when he saw approximately 1,000 anti-riot police who started shoving their shields against the marchers. The protesters continued to push against the PNP members’ shields, truncheons, helmets, and body armors. Later, the police started to hit them with truncheons.

Gepaya ran toward the group but he was blocked by six unidentified PNP men including PSupt. Adrian Acollador. Immediately, he was handcuffed and arrested and brought to Jaro Police Station 3.

Cutanda narrated that some of the PNP personnel were hurt in the commotion, but there were more protesters who sustained injuries including ten (10) of their members who suffered cuts on their heads were brought for medical checkup.

After the commotion and Gepaya’s arrest, the marchers proceeded to Jaro Plaza and continued their program while they were surrounded by anti-riot police and military men. Their tanks and fire trucks were also on standby while the program was ongoing.

At around 6:00 p.m., after some negotiations, the protesters left the plaza.
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015 17:49
 
Urgent Appeal: The harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under CARP and member of a farmer's organization in Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon
General Campaigns
Thursday, 15 October 2015 15:55
URGENT APPEAL

October 12, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) The harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora in Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon

ISSUES: Right not to be deprived of means of subsistence; Land Rights; Access to Justice

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora in Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon.

CASE DETAILS:

On August 13, 2015, Shirley Lape, an agrarian reform beneficiary, active member and farmer – leader of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and resident of Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon, was preparing breakfast when Edwin Ausa arrived. Ausa claims that he is the owner of the land that Lape grows and harvests copra from.

Ausa shouted at Lape and asked her why she is not giving him a portion of her income. Lape asked him why she needed to give him a portion of her income when the land is considered as timberland. Ausa asserted that he owns the land, but Lape countered him. Ausa then threatened her and said that she might suffer the same fate as Elisa Tulid’s if she refused to pay him. Ausa even added that if Lape did not do what was asked of her, Ausa himself would take away their share of coconuts.

On 1999, Lape filed for possession of land in DENR, until the present, Lape and other farmers are still fighting for their claim.

Sometime on October 2013, a week after the killing of Elisa Tulid, Lape with Nelson Fuentes and a certain Severino was also allegedly harassed and threatened by the same Edwin Ausa.

Ausa’s alleged threat was in relation to the killing of Elisa Tulid on October 19, 2013 that was the result of an ongoing land dispute in the said area. Like Lape, Tulid was an active member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and was one of those who actively spoke in defense of the residents’ and farmers’ claim to the land. She was shot multiple times and killed on the spot in front of her husband and then four year old daughter.

There is a persistent agrarian conflict in Bondoc Peninsula where San Andres, Quezon is located, where almost 80 percent of households depend on subsistence farming mainly banana and coconut mono cropping as well as fishing.

Domingo Reyes, one of the main landholders in Bondoc Peninsula currently owns 12,000-16,000 hectares of land in three municipalities. Farmers have been in a 60-40 contract with the Reyes, with 60% of total harvest going to Reyes, while the 40% goes to the tenants, who also have to cover the production expenses.

In 2004, farmers and tenants finally petitioned the government for coverage under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The farmers working on Reyes’ lands started boycotting the 60-40 agreement share after they learned from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that portion of the lands claimed by Reyes are declared public and certified timberland.

It has been alleged by some testimonies that Edwin Ausa and Rannie Bugnot are supporters of Reyes’ clan and have been trying to instill fear in the communities to prevent them from claiming their land rights.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 October 2015 15:57
 
Urgent Appeal: Continuing harassment of Bgy. Capt. Rolando Martinez, member of SANAMABASU, farmer beneficiaries in Barangay Sumalo, Hermosa, Bataan
General Campaigns
Thursday, 15 October 2015 15:51
URGENT APPEAL

October 12, 2015


(PHILIPPINES) Continuing harassment of Barangay Captain Rolando Martinez, member of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Barangay Sumalo (SANAMABASU), farmer beneficiaries in Barangay Sumalo, Hermosa, Bataan

ISSUES: Right not to be deprived of means of subsistence; Access to Justice; Land Rights


Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the continuing harassment suffered by Barangay Captain Rolando Martinez, a member of the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Barangay Sumalo (SANAMABASU) by Riverside Development Corporation owned by the Litton Family.


CASE DETAILS:

Rolando Martinez is the incumbent Barangay Captain of Barangay Sumalo, Hermosa, Bataan. Since 2009, Martinez has been leading the fight against Riverforest Development Corporation whose personnel have allegedly been harassing residents and farmers in relation to the Litton Estate land dispute. Martinez has been helping the residents of his barangay, particularly on legal matters, both as a barangay captain and as a farmer and resident himself.

Martinez has also been the target of harassments. In 2010 and again in 2013, trumped-up charges were filed against him: grave threat, two counts of grave coercion, grave misconduct, falsification, damages, ejectment, injunction, reinvigatoria, and estafa. Martinez has also received threats to his life which started also in 2009 at the height of the land dispute. He frequently received ambiguous text messages sent from different numbers. He was also visited a couple of times by an unidentified who was said to have been the Litton family’s hired assassin. (This alleged hired assassin was ambushed and killed on the same year).

Just recently around August (cannot remember exact date), while Martinez was travelling to Quezon City from Hermosa, Bataan to follow up the complaints they filed at the Commission of Human Rights (CHR), he noticed that at least two men were following him. Martinez took the Genesis bus to the SM North jeepney terminal where the men also alighted. He was also surprised when the men followed him to the restroom and stood by the door. When Martinez came out of the restroom, the men followed him until Philcoa, riding the same jeep. Martinez decided to cancel his trip to CHR and just returned home to Hermosa, Bataan.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 October 2015 15:54
 
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