We have migrated to mndanaoexaminer.com a long time ago. Please follow us on our new website and you can also view us on our mirror site mindanaoexaminer.blogspot.com.
Thank you for supporting us.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) that an activist has continuously been under surveillance allegedly by the military. After having his case reported police authorities have conducted an inquiry about his current situation but they failed to provide him any protection.
UPDATE INFORMATION: (based on information received from Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR))
As earlier reported in our previous appeal, Dante F. Senillo has since been receiving serious threats from the military in Ormoc City, Leyte since April 2004. He, however, was afraid to report to the police as he believes the military may come to know of his whereabouts instead. (See further AHRC-UAC-044-2008).
According to the information newly obtained, two police officers, one of whom identified as Sergeant Bereso, had visited his house at around 1pm on 4 April 2008. The officers told him that they have received a letter regarding his situation. They also asked him some questions about his current situation. They asked him whether he is still experiencing harassments from the 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) presently and that he had witnesses to prove the incidents regarding the threats mentioned in the copy of letter they had.
They also questioned him about his current job; when he started affiliating with the National Federation of Labour Union -Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU) and whether he is still actively communicating with the said federation, amongst others. However, there has not been any actual assistance or adequate protection provided to him so far.
Meanwhile, at around 9:45am on April 9, Dante took a ride on a van going to Isabel, Leyte to attend the monthly board meeting of NAFLU-KMU. He arrived in Barangay Libertad, Isabel around 11am. As he entered the Gate 2 of Philphos Company, he noticed someone had been following him. Upon reaching the canteen inside the premises of the company, the man whom Dante suspected following him, had approached.
The man then asked Dante some dubious questions like where he is going, what his job is and what he is doing in that company. According to Dante, the man was wearing a short and fatigue shirt with the abbreviation PA printed on it, which means Philippine Army.
At exactly 12:30, the company bus service came to pick up the company employees who were waiting in the bus stop. He rode on the bus and went to the union office. However, he was not sure if the man who approached him also followed him on the bus up to his destination.
The high number of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines is a result from far higher level of threats and intimidation on the human rights defenders in the Philippines. Killings and threats to the human rights defenders in fact reflect that fear is manifested in the society and the government rules people by fear. Many times, the victims who receive serious threats from the military or police do not report their cases to any government authorities fearing that their location would be exposed. The circle of serious threats often ends only after a victim is arrested or killed. (See further: AHRC-UAU-011-2008, AHRC-UAC-010-2008)
In the Philippines, policemen are seen as adversaries by the activists for having been involved in carrying attempts on their lives and for their inaction in affording them any form of protection. Often, when an activist faces and receives threats to his or herself, going to police station and concerned authorities is not an option. They rather take upon themselves any arrangement for protection.
The AHRC has in recent times has expressed serious concerns over the continuing violence and the lack of protection to activists facing threats in the Philippines. Please refer to AHRC-STM-016-2008, AHRC-STM-014-2008, AHRC-STM-009-2008, AHRC-STM-007-2008.
SUGGESTED ACTION:Please write letters to the government authorities urging them to investigate this continuing surveillance allegedly by military against Dante.
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 22, 2008) – Some groups within and outside the Southern Philippines Development Authority have expressed opposition to the plan of Administrator Jerry Tomawis to transfer the main office of the agency to Cagayan de Oro City.
In a statement, the groups claimed the proposed transfer will be illegal because under the Presidential Decree 1703, which amended Presidential Decree 690, its principal office should be in Davao City.
The groups said that based on these presidential decrees, which were issued when the late President Ferdinand Marcos was still exercising both legislative and executive powers, could only be repealed through a congressional action.
Also, they added, the transfer could only be undertaken upon the resolution of its board of director. Since there was no resolution, the proposed transfer, if pursued, will be illegal, they said.
They also claimed that the transfer will be cumbersome considering that Cagayan de Oro, a city in Northern Mindanao, is far from the constituents of the agency, the Muslim areas in Central and Western Mindanao and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
On April 15, Tomawis announced that the main office of the agency will be transferred to Cagayan de Oro City as the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will take over its properties at its main office in Catalunan Pequeño.
The statement said that Tomawis only told the employees about the transfer a day after he made the announcement during the press conference announcing the takeover the DAR of its main office.
It added that the transfer was not even discussed with the members of the board of directors.
“This clearly shows the utter ignorance of Administrator Tomawis on the basic procedures and rules governing the authority. The motive behind this transfer is to dislocate personnel of the authority who have settled in Davao and force them to resign so he can appoint his all relatives, all Maranao employees who will all be subservient to his malevolent schemes,” it added.
Dissolved during the earlier part of the Arroyo administration, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo revived the agency in October 2006 with the mandate of addressing the gaps in the implementation of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front. (Candido Aparece, Jr.)
Kuala Lumpur is brokering the peace talks in an effort to bring an end to the more than three decades of bloody insurgency in the war-torn, but mineral-rich region in the southern Philippines.
Elzadia Washington, of the United States Agency for International Development, who visited Sulu province, also joined the clean-up drive in the village of Mauboh in Patikul town. Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan led the locals in the campaign.
“We are happy that people are active in caring for their environment and we will sustain this effort to ensure Sulu remains a beautiful place in this part of the country,” Tan told reporters.
Filipino marines and US troops headed by Col. Bill Coultrup joined in picking up pieces of garbage left by tides on the beach. “Along this, we are all reminded of our responsibilities, which extend beyond our own backyards. This clean-up campaign demonstrates oneness among stakeholders in caring for the waters not just in Sulu, but in fact everywhere in the world,” Marine commander Brig. Gen. Juancho Sabban said.
“Every day should be coastal clean-up. And cleaning the coast through picking up garbage is the least that we can do. By giving Mother Earth a totally healthy environment, we are also acting upon our moral duty for the people we both serve and hold dear,” he said.
Washington said she is happy by the active participation of the province in the World Earth Day celebration. “Protecting the environment is important and crucial towards the progress of the nation. If environment is not protected, concerns in security may arise,” she said.
She also toured different places in Sulu and went with Tan to the Mount Datu where Washington viewed the whole of Jolo and nearby towns. Washington was all praised to the beauty of Sulu, from its pristine beaches to unspoiled jungle and friendly people. “The people are great and friendly and the place is magnificent,” she said.