Friday, July 22, 2005

Statement from a Concerned Citizen on Basey Incident

From: "richard cagara"

Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 02:30:32 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Fwd: Militarization in Basey; The People Resist


Friends,

This e-mail just came in today. I wish to share this with you.

This is for real. This is happening under our nose. Basey is just
across the San Juanico Strait from Tacloban City. We seem to be
comfortable here in the city while our fellow Filipinos are being
harassed and slaughtered by fellow Filipinos. And it's happening just
across the narrow San Juanico Strait from here.

I wonder if these inhuman acts would radiate to this beautiful city of
ours. God forbid.

Richard Cagara

-------

July 22, 2005

Dear Colleagues from the national offices:

Greetings from the Eastern Visayas region.

I am reporting the recent case of human rights (HR) violations in the region which transpired just recently. Yesterday, I sent a documentation team to Basey, Samar after we have been receiving reports of massive evacuation in the town. This had been a result of the on-going clearing operations of the military belonging to the 801st Brigade of the Philippine Army/ headed by Col. Joel Cabides and eventually under the 8th Infantry Division, PA which in turn is under the command of Brig. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan.

Yesterday afternoon, the evacuees were persuaded to return to their barangays (villages) after seeking refuge in the municipal gymnasium located in the town center (poblacion) of Basey, Samar. However, I, in behalf of our human rights formation here in Eastern Visayas, together with the Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (Eastern Visayas Regional Peasant Alliance of SAGUPA-SB) dispatched another quick response team, to document another wave of violations.

Among the violations reported are a) indiscriminate firing, bombing (bombs were dropped by two (2) bomber planes, not the usual Sikorsky or Huey helicopters, as described by the peasants), burning of houses, and looting (slaughtering of carabaos left by the fleeing farmers). These are but few of the documented cases which are being attended by our documentation teams as of the moment.

So here are the facts, so you maybe able to respond to this crisis too. Let me present the blow-by-blow report of the documentation teams.

21 July 2005

Early in the morning, several residents of far-flung and hinterland barangays of Basey, Samar sought refuge at the municipal gymnasium and opened their problems to the local government unit headed by Mayor Engr. Vicente Labuac. The LGU responded by giving food assistance to the victims. Local media reported that there were around 300 families (households) or more than 1000 individuals who were displaced mostly from Brgys. Villa Aurora and its sitios Cambabang, Lanaga and Cancaiyas. A report which appears today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) correspondent Joey Gabieta who also went to the town gives sufficient data on the incident.

At about 10:00 AM, I talked over Radyo Diwa (DyDW, 531 KHz on the local AM Band) of the observations of our human rights organization on the string of incidents (as previously, incidents of mass evacuation were also experienced in the towns of Tarangnan, Motiong, Jiabong, San Jorge and Calbiga, all of Samar province and in Hindang, Hilongos, Baybay and Mahaplag in Northern Leyte). Seemingly, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) through Atty. Paquito Nacino, its regional director is doing nothing about these incidents of violations. This tolerance and indifference by the CHR have been happening despite of our lobbying for action, reporting of incidents, and request for intervention. This also happens despite the assurance from the director himself since according to him, they have already received the necessary amount from CHR National Office to dispatch teams to look into these incidents. We have yet to hear the developments of the cases lodged to them by our organization.

The team was able to interview victims especially of the destruction of their dwelling places. Six (6) houses were reportedly burned down by military men during their operations last 19 July 2005.

In the afternoon, at about 4:30 to 5:00 o’clock, the peasants were convinced to go back to their respective villages.

Meanwhile, the documentation team reported that they were harassed by a military agent in civilian clothes while conducting the interviews with the witnesses/victims.

22 July 2005

9:00 AM – The QRT arrived in the town of Basey from Tacloban City. They observed that people have been massing up in the municipal gymnasium just across the municipal building and the local police station.

9:30 AM – The teams reported that there were more peasants displaced by the on-going clearing operations. The farmers have also brought along their horses, carabaos (water buffaloes) and pigs along with their families to the town center.

The team estimated that there were about a hundred carabaos lined up in the “sea wall” of the town, where they were left to feed on grass. Even these farm animals are also under threat, the team reported.

It was also reported that the carabao owned by the family of Mr. Lito Gacusana, secretary-general of SAGUPA-SB and his father, Mr. Ulrico Gacusana, chairperson of Kapunungan han Basaynon nga Parag-uma (Farmer’s Association of Basey or KABAPA) have been slaughtered by unknown assailants amidst this commotion.

12:00 NN – The team reported a bombing incident in the vicinity of Sitio Binugho and Sitio Burabod of Brgy Mabini, Basey, Samar, which according to the farmers was the main reason for their evacuation.

The teams tabulated the following statistics of the evacuees within the municipal gymnasium (as of 12:00 NN):

Area Number of Affected Households Number of Affected Families Other Notes
Brgy. Mabini (proper) 32 100+
Sitio Burabod/ Asuyan, Brgy. Mabini 87 390
Sitio Bagti, Brgy. Mabini 80 398
Sitio Binugho, Brgy. Mabini 21 125
Brgy. Manlilinab 35 80

1:00 PM – More farmers were arriving the municipal gymnasium, which was their temporary refugee center. The team counted that there were already 234 households or 968 displaced individuals. They also learned that residents of Brgy. Cancaiyas and Brgy. Cogon who went home yesterday came back after learning that the military operations were continuing in their respective areas.

1:15 PM – The team was able to register that there were 80+ individuals coming from Barangay Cancaiyas and Brgy. Cogon who went back to seek sanctuary at the town center.

1:20 PM – An affidavit was made from the testimony of one Narciso Mabag, farmer and resident of the place [Sitio Bagti of Brgy. Mabini] regarding the presence of the unidentified military men in the area who were on combat operations. He also confirmed the bombing incident by two (2) unusual planes (by the description, it is not a Sikorsky or a Huey helicopter owned by the Tactical Operations Wing [TOW] of the Philippine Air Force [PAF] used in most military operations before this). The team said that they could be specialized planes for bombing operations.

2:50 PM – The team had to be evacuated from the gymnasium as they have been accused by the military men belonging to the 801st Brigade of the Philippine Army as the ones urging the farmers to remain in the town center. They looked for a house where they would base, that would serve as their sanctuary too. Witnesses are brought to them for interview by liaison officers.

The team noted that Col. Joel Davides, commanding officer of the 801st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Fatima, Hinabangan town also in Samar was surveying the area in plainclothes. Another officer under the same unit. Col. Damo was seen in military combat uniform within the premises of the evacuation center.

3:00 PM – Pedrito Asis, sitio captain (officer-in-charge of the sitio) of Binugho and Romulo Mabag, sitio captain of Bagti affirmed Narciso Mabag’s testimony on the bombing incident.

Previously, Hon Virgilio Lugnasin, sangguniang bayan (town’s council) member said in an interview with a local radio station that their supplies of food for the evacuees would not last for long. He estimated that they would be able to feed them for at most five (5) days. Thus, he appealed for support to those with generous hearts, to help them out in this time of need. He also appealed to the military, headed by Brig. General Palparan not to interpret their actions, as siding with their enemies particularly the New People’s Army (NPA). It can be remembered that Palparan had been accusing local government officials to be supportive of the endeavors of the revolutionary left.

3:30 PM – The team reported that Gen. Dionesio Benito Coloma, the regional director of the Philippine National Police [PNP] went to the municipality of Basey to talk about the possibility of a relief operation to the victims gathered at the town center. It is already clear that the displacement of the peasants due to the military operations have already been considered by the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) chaired by Coloma as a “man-made calamity”, which for us is definitely a “state-sponsored disaster”.

3:40 PM – The documentation team observed that the officials of the barangays that went with their constituents to the evacuation center were gathered at the gym’s stage for a dialogue. Col. Cabides went to talk to the peasants and he attempted to persuade them to go back to their respective villages.

Diana Ragub, the information officer of SAGUPA-SB talked to the crowd about the people’s demand to end up the harassment and abuses of military during military operations. These words were complemented by accounts and same demands from the barangay councils of the affected barrios.

The people declared that they would not go back to their farms and homes should the military not cease from the indiscriminate attacks – indiscriminate firing at civilian populations and aerial bombardments. The affected farmers wanted assurance from the military that their security would not be jeopardized by the military on the conduct of their operations. However, Col. Cabides said that they would not pull out the military troops from the affected barangays.

Enraged by Col. Cabides’ words, the victim vowed a mass action tomorrow around the town to denounce the intrusion of the military to their peaceful villages.

For us in the regional HR formation, KATUNGOD-Siirangan Bisayas, we see this as an utter disregard and the blatant departure of the Philippine Army and the administration of the Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo from international covenants, particularly Protocol 2, which prohibits “endangering the lives of the civilians” in time of military offensive or combat operations.

Hoping that would suffice for the moment. We will keep you posted on developments of the cases in our region.

Sincerely yours, I remain,


ALEX GARCIA LAGUNZAD
Secretary-General

In Defense of Life, Report of the PEDV

In Defense of Life...
BUILDING RESISTANCE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

a public forum on the Solidarity Mission to
TARLAC, EASTERN VISAYAS and MINDANAO

of the PASTORAL ECUMENICAL DELEGATION
of the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia

20 July 2005 * 1:00 - 5:00 pm
St. Thomas Aquinas Research Complex
University of Sto. Tomas, Manila

Sponsored by: Peace for Life
in cooperation with National Council of Churches in the Philippines*
Social
Science Research Center (UST)* CONTAK Philippines* Promotion of Church
People's Response* Ecumenical Women's Forum* Kapatirang Simbahan para
sa
Bayan

For more info please contact: 9288636* 9252008



July 15, 2005

DEAR FELLOW PEACE ADVOCATES:

The recent killings of peace advocates in the Philippines including
church
people have become a cause for alarm not only among us Filipinos but
even
among our international friends. A delegation of church personalities
and
leaders put together by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the
Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) will come to the Philippines on a
fact-
finding mission and pastoral engagement with families of victims,
churches,
and organizations who/which now bear the brunt of the intensifying
political
repression in the country.

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has invited the
aforementioned church organizations to dialogue with as many sectors,
including the Roman Catholic and Protestant church leaders, the
military,
and some civil authorities. The schedule of the visit is July 15-21,
2005.

The group, which goes by the name, Pastoral Ecumenical Delegation, will
report the results of the visit through a public forum and press
conference
on July 20, 2005 at 1:00 – 5:00 in the afternoon at the Thomas Aquinas
Research Complex, University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila.

Your valued presence at the forum will surely project the passion of
church
people like you for justice and peace. Let us continue to stand and be
counted for the cause that we have long embraced. Thank you very much.

Very respectfully yours,



MS. SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES
General Secretary

Updated Profile of Brig. General Palparan

Biodata Sheet/Resume


JOVITO S. PALPARAN, JR.
Commanding General of the 8th ID, PA, AFP
Camp Lukban, Brgy. Maulong, Catbalogan, Samar


Demographic Profile:

Name: JOVITO S. PALAPAN, JR.
Date of Birth: 11 September 1950
Place of Birth: Cagayan de Oro City
Date Entered the Military Service: 30 June 1973

Educational Background:

Civilian Education:

• BS Business Administration @University of the East [UE] (graduated on 28March/May 1971)
• Master in Management @ Philippine Christian University [PCU] (graduated on 31July1994)
• Master in National Security Administration @ National Defense College of the Philippines [NDCP] (graduated on 31Aug1999)

Military Schooling:

• Infantry Basic Training Command @ Philippine Army (graduated on 29April1977)
• Infantry Advance Course @ United States [US] Army Infantry School, CONUS (graduated 13June1989)
• Command and General Staff Course @ Armed Forces of the Philippines [AFP] Command and Staff College (graduated on 03May1994)
• Joint Service Staff Course @ Australia (graduated 28June1996)

Designation/ Work Experience:

• Second Lieutenant designated at the 24th IB, PA (assigned at Brgy. Tagbak, Indanan Sulu in 1974)
• Platoon Leader of Charlie Company of 24th IB, 11ID, PA (from 17Feb1976 to 01July1976)
• Commander of the Strike Force of the 24th IB, PA (from 01July1976 to 13 Dec1976)
• Commanding Officer of the Delta Company of the 24th IB, PA (from 20Aug1977 to 20Aug1978)
• Intelligence Operations Officer of the 24th IB, PA (from 20Aug1978 to 10April1981)
• Battalion Ex-O of the 24th IB, PA (from 10April1981 to 15Aug1981)
• Battalion Commander of the 24th IB, PA (from 03Dec1989 to 30June1993)
• Commander of the Counter-Terrorist Force of the AFP-NCR (from 16Aug1995 to 20Dec1996)
• Inspector General? (IG) of the TRADOC, PA (from 01Jan1997 to 17Dec1997)
• Commanding Officer (CO) of the PHILCONPRU J3, General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines [GHQ-AFP] (from 28Jan2000 to 20May2000)
• Commanding Officer (CO) of Task Force Banahaw (TFB), Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), AFP (from 23May2000 to 13Aug2001)
• Commanding Officer (CO) of the 204th Infantry Brigade of the PA (from 15Aug2001 to ______, when he faced several allegations of human rights violations, Palparan has gained notoriety for series of killings in Mindoro that included the cold-blooded murderof Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy)
• Head of Delegation of the Iraq Humanitarian Mission(transferred by Macapagal-Arroyo purportedly to evade from the scams and clamor of his victims and their families for justice).
• Commanding General of the 8th ID, PA, AFP (designated at Camp Lukban, Brgy. Maulong, Catbalogan, Samar from 10 February 2005 [his formal assumption into office] to present, although his promotion to the rank of Major General was strongly opposed by several congressmen and leaders of cause-oriented groups along with victims of human rights violations).

Skills/Outputs:

* Conceptualized ….


Awards and Decorations:

• Mindanao, Sulu Campaign Medal
• Combat Commander “K” Badge
• Military Merit Medal (MMM) with 3rd Bronze Spearhead Device (BSD) – gained in the February 1974 burning of Jolo, Sulu after he “led a reinforcement that repelled the Moro National Liberation Front attack on the 24th IB, PA headquarters at Brgy. Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu)
• Gold Cross Medal – gained after he, as “commander of the Delta Company [of the 24th IB, PA] led the assault of the insurgent strongholds at Mt. Sinumaan, Patikul, Sulu on 21 January 1978”. He was also promoted to the rank of captain .
• Martial Law Citation Badge
• Military Merit Medal (MMM) with 1st SAL
• Bronze Cross Medal
• Bronze Service Medal
• Long Service Medal
• Best Distinguished Service Star

Contact Information:
Ma. Evangelina F. Palparan – wife (along with a teenage son and a daughter).

Mass Evacuation in Basey Samar due to Military Operations

KATUNGOD-SB-KARAPATAN
Alyansa ha Pagpanalipod han Tawhanon nga Katungod
ha Sinirangan Bisayas
(Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights in Eastern Visayas)
Email: katungodsbisayas@yahoo.com, xandre24@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.karapatan.org
P.O. Box 204, Tacloban Central Post Office, Tacloban City, 6500 Leyte

July 22, 2005

Dear Colleagues from the national offices:

Greetings from the Eastern Visayas region.

I am reporting the recent case of human rights (HR) violations in the region which transpired just recently. Yesterday, I sent a documentation team to Basey, Samar after we have been receiving reports of massive evacuation in the town. This had been a result of the on-going clearing operations of the military belonging to the 801st Brigade of the Philippine Army/ headed by Col. Joel Cabides and eventually under the 8th Infantry Division, PA which in turn is under the command of Brig. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan.

Yesterday afternoon, the evacuees were persuaded to return to their barangays (villages) after seeking refuge in the municipal gymnasium located in the town center (poblacion) of Basey, Samar. However, I, in behalf of our human rights formation here in Eastern Visayas, together with the Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (Eastern Visayas Regional Peasant Alliance of SAGUPA-SB) dispatched another quick response team, to document another wave of violations.

Among the violations reported are a) indiscriminate firing, bombing (bombs were dropped by two (2) bomber planes, not the usual Sikorsky or Huey helicopters, as described by the peasants), burning of houses, and looting (slaughtering of carabaos left by the fleeing farmers). These are but few of the documented cases which are being attended by our documentation teams as of the moment.

So here are the facts, so you maybe able to respond to this crisis too. Let me present the blow-by-blow report of the documentation teams.

21 July 2005

Early in the morning, several residents of far-flung and hinterland barangays of Basey, Samar sought refuge at the municipal gymnasium and opened their problems to the local government unit headed by Mayor Engr. Vicente Labuac. The LGU responded by giving food assistance to the victims. Local media reported that there were around 300 families (households) or more than 1000 individuals who were displaced mostly from Brgys. Villa Aurora and its sitios Cambabang, Lanaga and Cancaiyas. A report which appears today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) correspondent Joey Gabieta who also went to the town gives sufficient data on the incident.

At about 10:00 AM, I talked over Radyo Diwa (DyDW, 531 KHz on the local AM Band) of the observations of our human rights organization on the string of incidents (as previously, incidents of mass evacuation were also experienced in the towns of Tarangnan, Motiong, Jiabong, San Jorge and Calbiga, all of Samar province and in Hindang, Hilongos, Baybay and Mahaplag in Northern Leyte). Seemingly, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) through Atty. Paquito Nacino, its regional director is doing nothing about these incidents of violations. This tolerance and indifference by the CHR have been happening despite of our lobbying for action, reporting of incidents, and request for intervention. This also happens despite the assurance from the director himself since according to him, they have already received the necessary amount from CHR National Office to dispatch teams to look into these incidents. We have yet to hear the developments of the cases lodged to them by our organization.

The team was able to interview victims especially of the destruction of their dwelling places. Six (6) houses were reportedly burned down by military men during their operations last 19 July 2005.

In the afternoon, at about 4:30 to 5:00 o’clock, the peasants were convinced to go back to their respective villages.

Meanwhile, the documentation team reported that they were harassed by a military agent in civilian clothes while conducting the interviews with the witnesses/victims.

22 July 2005

9:00 AM – The QRT arrived in the town of Basey from Tacloban City. They observed that people have been massing up in the municipal gymnasium just across the municipal building and the local police station.

9:30 AM – The teams reported that there were more peasants displaced by the on-going clearing operations. The farmers have also brought along their horses, carabaos (water buffaloes) and pigs along with their families to the town center.

The team estimated that there were about a hundred carabaos lined up in the “sea wall” of the town, where they were left to feed on grass. Even these farm animals are also under threat, the team reported.

It was also reported that the carabao owned by the family of Mr. Lito Gacusana, secretary-general of SAGUPA-SB and his father, Mr. Ulrico Gacusana, chairperson of Kapunungan han Basaynon nga Parag-uma (Farmer’s Association of Basey or KABAPA) have been slaughtered by unknown assailants amidst this commotion.

12:00 NN – The team reported a bombing incident in the vicinity of Sitio Binugho and Sitio Burabod of Brgy Mabini, Basey, Samar, which according to the farmers was the main reason for their evacuation.

The teams tabulated the following statistics of the evacuees within the municipal gymnasium (as of 12:00 NN):

Area Number of Affected Households Number of Affected Families Other Notes
Brgy. Mabini (proper) 32 100+
Sitio Burabod/ Asuyan, Brgy. Mabini 87 390
Sitio Bagti, Brgy. Mabini 80 398
Sitio Binugho, Brgy. Mabini 21 125
Brgy. Manlilinab 35 80

1:00 PM – More farmers were arriving the municipal gymnasium, which was their temporary refugee center. The team counted that there were already 234 households or 968 displaced individuals. They also learned that residents of Brgy. Cancaiyas and Brgy. Cogon who went home yesterday came back after learning that the military operations were continuing in their respective areas.

1:15 PM – The team was able to register that there were 80+ individuals coming from Barangay Cancaiyas and Brgy. Cogon who went back to seek sanctuary at the town center.

1:20 PM – An affidavit was made from the testimony of one Narciso Mabag, farmer and resident of the place [Sitio Bagti of Brgy. Mabini] regarding the presence of the unidentified military men in the area who were on combat operations. He also confirmed the bombing incident by two (2) unusual planes (by the description, it is not a Sikorsky or a Huey helicopter owned by the Tactical Operations Wing [TOW] of the Philippine Air Force [PAF] used in most military operations before this). The team said that they could be specialized planes for bombing operations.

2:50 PM – The team had to be evacuated from the gymnasium as they have been accused by the military men belonging to the 801st Brigade of the Philippine Army as the ones urging the farmers to remain in the town center. They looked for a house where they would base, that would serve as their sanctuary too. Witnesses are brought to them for interview by liaison officers.

The team noted that Col. Joel Davides, commanding officer of the 801st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Fatima, Hinabangan town also in Samar was surveying the area in plainclothes. Another officer under the same unit. Col. Damo was seen in military combat uniform within the premises of the evacuation center.

3:00 PM – Pedrito Asis, sitio captain (officer-in-charge of the sitio) of Binugho and Romulo Mabag, sitio captain of Bagti affirmed Narciso Mabag’s testimony on the bombing incident.

Previously, Hon Virgilio Lugnasin, sangguniang bayan (town’s council) member said in an interview with a local radio station that their supplies of food for the evacuees would not last for long. He estimated that they would be able to feed them for at most five (5) days. Thus, he appealed for support to those with generous hearts, to help them out in this time of need. He also appealed to the military, headed by Brig. General Palparan not to interpret their actions, as siding with their enemies particularly the New People’s Army (NPA). It can be remembered that Palparan had been accusing local government officials to be supportive of the endeavors of the revolutionary left.

3:30 PM – The team reported that Gen. Dionesio Benito Coloma, the regional director of the Philippine National Police [PNP] went to the municipality of Basey to talk about the possibility of a relief operation to the victims gathered at the town center. It is already clear that the displacement of the peasants due to the military operations have already been considered by the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) chaired by Coloma as a “man-made calamity”, which for us is definitely a “state-sponsored disaster”.

3:40 PM – The documentation team observed that the officials of the barangays that went with their constituents to the evacuation center were gathered at the gym’s stage for a dialogue. Col. Cabides went to talk to the peasants and he attempted to persuade them to go back to their respective villages.

Diana Ragub, the information officer of SAGUPA-SB talked to the crowd about the people’s demand to end up the harassment and abuses of military during military operations. These words were complemented by accounts and same demands from the barangay councils of the affected barrios.

The people declared that they would not go back to their farms and homes should the military not cease from the indiscriminate attacks – indiscriminate firing at civilian populations and aerial bombardments. The affected farmers wanted assurance from the military that their security would not be jeopardized by the military on the conduct of their operations. However, Col. Cabides said that they would not pull out the military troops from the affected barangays.

Enraged by Col. Cabides’ words, the victim vowed a mass action tomorrow around the town to denounce the intrusion of the military to their peaceful villages.

For us in the regional HR formation, KATUNGOD-Siirangan Bisayas, we see this as an utter disregard and the blatant departure of the Philippine Army and the administration of the Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo from international covenants, particularly Protocol 2, which prohibits “endangering the lives of the civilians” in time of military offensive or combat operations.

Hoping that would suffice for the moment. We will keep you posted on developments of the cases in our region.

Sincerely yours, I remain,


ALEX GARCIA LAGUNZAD
Secretary-General

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Opinion & Editorial: Ugop Waraynon

Opinion & Editorial

‘Ugop Waraynon’



FILIAL affection with a provincemate is an innate value ingrained in every Filipino. But never is it expressed more fervently and passionately as a Waray would do to his own fellow Waraynon, each hundreds of kilometers away from bungto nga natawhan (place of birth).

And especially so when pressed against the wall by oppressive circumstances. "Ugop Waraynon" (literally, Support for Waray People), a movement of Leyteños, Samareños, and Biliranons residing in Metro Manila, came naturally for those Region 8 natives. When the regional organization was launched last Wednesday at a restaurant in Quezon City, the standing-room-only banquet hall was filled with mixed emotions. As an integral part of the evening program, the metropolitan Waraynons were shown an audio-visual presentation on the alleged atrocities and summary executions of human rights leaders and their sympathizers. Military operatives are the suspects. As an aftermath, hundreds of families have been displaced and evacuated to safer places for fear of being caught in a crossfire. Many of those in the hall were seething with anger. They have been made more aware of what is happening in their region, some of which resemble those vigilante killings in Cebu and Davao cities. On the other hand, some were beaming with smiles hobnobbing with fellow Waraynons, joining together in singing An Iroy nga Tuna’ and dancing the kuratsa. To be fair and square, the military command in the island, in its official reports, maintains that those casualties as reported in local and national media were the results of legitimate encounters with dissidents in the area. Many residents in Eastern Visayas will readily admit that their region has been a hotbed of NPA activities since the early 1970s. The military itself has documents and audio-video records that authenticate that those encounters with Communist-supported elements were legitimate skirmishes. The two Samareño congressmen and one party-list representative who shared their concern and grief for the victims each expressed disgust and contempt. The Samareño solons also told the cheering crowd that they have already forwarded a letter to President Gloria M. Arroyo detailing the atrocities. Alex Lagunzad, secretary general of KatungobSB who annotated the power point presentation, said the assassinations of lawyer Felidito Dacut and UCCP Pastor Rev. Edison Lapuz have a pattern. The killers rode in motorcycles, as reported by police investigators and witnesses. Ugop Waraynon volunteer officers and members are Caloocan City Vice Mayor Tito Varela, chairman; former DBM Assistant Secretary Claro Piczon, spokesperson; Ricardo T. Melendrez, secretary general; Priscilla D. Ampuan, treasurer; Osmundo C. Orlanes, media relation officer; Fiscal Alfredo D. Ampuan, Engr. Cayo A. Romano, Rev. Artemio S. Luaton, Dr. Alexis S. Montes, Doroteo Dasmariñas, Dan D. Ampuan, Romy Florencio, Rudy Eco, Tito Go, Ezel Jaboli, Santiago Dasmariñas, and Silverio Celada, members.

STATEMENT OF CONCERN by Ugop Waraynon

DEMOCRATIC SPACE

STATEMENT OF CONCERN
By UGOP WARAYNON

A Movement of Leyteños, Samareños, Biliranons in Metro Manila
in Support for the Welfare and Development of Eastern Visayas

From February to May this year, about 200 reported and documented cases of human rights violations (i.e. killings, torture, harassment, intimidation and arbitrary incarcerations) were recorded all over Eastern Visayas. This is equivalent to 10 terror incidents a week and 5 political executions per month. Many more cases/incidents remain unreported and undocumented.

Among the victims were Felidito C. Dacut, a human rights lawyer, Bayan Muna Party-list regional coordinator and member of the Board of Directors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Leyte) who was shot and killed in Tacloban City on March 14, 2005; Mr. Alden Ambida, Bayan Muna Party-list provincial coordinator in Eastern Samar, who survived four gunshot wounds on April 9, 2005 in Borongan, Eastern Samar; Rev. Edison C. Lapuz, UCCP Conference Minister (equivalent to a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church), chairperson of KATUNGOD-Sinirangan Bisayas and an active member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) who was shot and killed on May 12, 2005 in San Isidro, Leyte together with Alfredo Malinao, leader of KAMAS (a local farmers’ group). The long list of victims of human rights violations after Gen. Palparan’s public avowal of political reprisal include ordinary farmers, fisherfolk, local government officials, members of the academe, church people and professionals. Many have fled their homes to take refuge in other provinces and metropolitan centers including Metro Manila.

Under Gen. Palparan’s reign of terror, Waraynons’ right to life, limb and property is threatened. There seems to be no more freedom of speech as those who dare to speak out against government anomalies, military abuses and social inequity have either been under persistent surveillance operations, accosted or imprisoned, gunned down or killed; their offices, businesses, cars and residences burned down. An undeclared Martial law indeed!

As concerned Waraynons residing and working in Metro Manila and elsewhere, we cannot in our conscience close our eyes and ears nor can we just stand by and watch idly as our fellow Waraynons are being slaughtered, harassed, arbitrarily incarcerated or abducted with impunity, simply because they are vocal critics of government plunder of our natural resources (especially against mining applications and operations), corrupt practices and abuses or simply because of their membership in progressive organizations. We strongly condemn this irrational, inhuman and militarist reaction by government troops to legitimate political dissent in Eastern Visayas.

Thus in our collective capacity as citizens, as peace-loving Waraynons, we demand from the President of the Philippines and the Congress an immediate and impartial investigation into these violations by the elements of the 8th Infantry Division under Gen. Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. in our region and act swiftly to stop these atrocities. We demand that the perpetrators of the extra-judicial killings be brought to justice.

We demand a stop to the abuses/atrocities of the military men in our home islands.

We demand the immediate relief of Gen. Palparan from his command at the 8th ID PA and from military service to forestall further violations and sufferings of the civilians. His relief from service will also pave way to the impartial investigation and prosecution for the violations he and his command has committed in Eastern Visayas and elsewhere in his previous assignments.

What we need is genuine development in Eastern Visayas, not military atrocities and military-sponsored/backed killings of civilians and civil libertarians!

On these difficult times, we call on all Leyteños, Samareños, Biliranons to unite and join the flock of civil libertarians and human rights defenders! We have already suffered a lot of these miseries. Napapanahon an panawagan nga: “Ugop, Waraynon!” Ugupan ta an aton Iroy nga Tuna nga natawhan ngan an aton kabugtuan kontra han pangangabuso ngan kapobrehan!



(SGD.) TITO VARELA

Vice-Mayor, Caloocan City

Chairperson, UGOP WARAYNON



(SGD.) CLARO PICZON

Former Budget Undersecretary

Spokesperson, UGOP WARAYNON



Email address: kadayaw@gmail.com; help-panaon@yahoo.com

Mobile number: (+63 921) 228-3089

Posted by Bulatlat

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© 2004 Bulatlat ■ Alipato Publications

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Ugop Waraynon to bring together Leyteños, Samareños and Biliranons in Metro Manila

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ugop Waraynon is trying to bring together Leyteños, Samareños and Biliranons in Metro Manila. It describes itself as a movement that supports the struggle for civil liberties and socioeconomic development of Eastern Visayas.

In a recent letter to newsmen, Vice Mayor Tito Varela of Caloocan City, chair of Ugop Waraynon, reported that from February to mid-May this year more than a hundred cases of political killings and harassment were recorded all over Eastern Visayas. This is equivalent to about 10 incidents a week and five political executions a month.

Some of the more gruesome atrocities that have managed to find their way to national TV and radio news broadcasts were the vicious murders of UCCP pastor Rev. Edison Lapuz and lawyer Felidito Dacut. Both were vocal critics of antipoor government policies and practices and leaders of progressive organizations.

But the story does not end there. Varela, the former basketball pro and referee who traces his roots to Catba-logan, Samar, said: “A climate of terror deliberately sown to silence protest will persist in our home islands for so long as we close our eyes and ears to the howling cries of those among us whose human rights are being trampled upon.”

For these violations, Varela and his group blame Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, the military chief in Eastern Visayas. The general’s promotion has been submitted to the bicameral Commission on Appointments for confirmation.

In a letter signed by Varela, together with former budget undersecretary Claro Piczon, Palparan’s promotion was described as “a direct insult to the people of Eastern Visayas, where human-rights violations have become commonplace since he assumed office as top military commander of the region, most especially because the violations have been blamed on him.”

The CA adjourned without acting on Palparan’s promotion. Concerned Warays ask: But for how much longer?

Solons press Samar general ouster

Solons press Samar general ouster


Pro-administration Samar congressmen have found the raging audiotape controversy as "bargaining chip" in pressing for the ouster of Major Gen. Jovito Palparan as chief of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Catbalogan, Samar.

Western Samar Reps. Catalino Figueroa and Reynaldo Uy on Wednesday night said they will withdraw support to President Arroyo on the issue of her alleged wiretapped conversations if Palparan is not shipped out of Samar.

The audiotape allegedly revealed a plot by Malacañan to rig the 2004 election.

Palparan has been the subject of ouster calls by civic and religious groups led by bishops after being blamed for the increasing cases of human rights violations in Samar province, which have resulted in the deaths of a number of Waraynons.

Ugop Waraynon, a newly-organized coalition working for the ouster of Palparan, estimated that Samar has been experiencing 10 terror incidents a week and at least five executions per month while many cases remained unreported. Since Palparan's assumption as 8th Infantry commander, a total of 199 human rights cases have been reported.

Among the prominent victims of Palparan's alleged terror were lawyer Felidito Dacut of Bayan-Muna Eastern Visayas, Rev. Edison Lapuz of the Promotion of Church People's Response and peasant leader Alfredo Malinao.

Dacut, a human rights lawyer, was killed in Tacloban City on March 14 while Lapuz and Malinao were gunned down May 12 in San Isidro, Leyte.

Alden Ambida, a Bayan-Muna Samar coordinator, survived an assassination attempt in Borongan, Eastern Samar on April 9. Ambida sustained four gunshot wounds to the body. Just recently, another Bayan-Muna coordinator in Samar survived an assassination attempt from a motorcycle-riding gunman.

Ugoy Waraynon is directly linking Palparan to the killings, abductions and attempted assassinations as part of his self-styled counterinsurgency campaign.

Figueroa has sent two letters to the President asking for the transfer of Palparan for the atrocities he allegedly committed in Samar. The request has remained unheeded. Apart from the "Dear Madam President" letters, Figueroa also delivered a stinging privileged speech denouncing Palparan's "acts of terror" in Samar.

"I've learned that Palparan and me were both products of the ROTC of UE (University of the East). But when Waraynons are being butchered left and right, I don't care if he's a fellow ROTC or not," he said.

He added: "Wala nang atrasan ito (There's no turning back)."

Figueroa likewise warned Malacañan against just reassigning Palparan to another infantry division.

He stressed Palparan should also be prosecuted for his involvement in the killings of Waraynons.

Uy said Palparan should be booted out the Armed Forces, fearing that many people and communities would continue to be terrorized if he's merely moved to another assignment.

Palparan first became controversial for his counterinsurgency campaign in Mindoro Island, where he was previously assigned. Human rights activists and militant groups members were also killed and abducted in Mindoro.

"Marami pang pahihirapan si Palparan. Hindi makatao ang kanyang mga gawain (Many people will continue to suffer under Palparan. His ways are not humane)," Uy said.

Uy said Samareños would be forced to join the growing calls for the President's resignation over charges of corruption and election fraud if their demand is not heeded.

"We might as well demand R.I.P. GMA!R.I.P. Palparan!" he said. R.I.P. stands for the remove, investigate and prosecute.

He said it would not be long that all Samar congressmen like Reps. Harlin Abayon (Northern Samar), Marcelino Libanan (Eastern Samar) and Romualdo Vicencio (Northern Samar) and other local officials will join the anti-Palparan movement.

AN WARAY Rep. Florencio "Bem" Noel, who was also present during Ugop Waraynon's launching, said the movement should also focus on having the President removed since "no Gloria means no Palparan." Noel also co-authored the resolution asking President Arroyo to transfer Palparan.

In a recent House hearing called on the issue, Palparan said the accusations that he personally approved killings and other human rights violations were "highly malicious," "unfounded and unproven."

"How can I think of killing a person ... whom I was not fully knowledgeable of?" he asked referring to those killed whose deaths were being linked to him.

Palparan said around 50 to 60 percent of the population in Samar sympathized with the communist New People's Army (NPA), adding that the deaths that happened under his watch were "small sacrifices."

He insisted that the number of local officials and civilians killed before he was assigned to Samar was greater than the number of civilians killed under his command, and that some of the latter were either "directly linked to the armed group [CPP-NPA]" or "fighting [the] government."

The major general said the NPA had gathered a "vast intelligence network," which had supposedly infiltrated local government units and even the military.

Palparan said that 19 soldiers have so far been suspected of being in cahoots with the rebels and that of these, 17 had been transferred, one discharged and another is being investigated.

He added that he would not do anything to worsen his already bad reputation as "Berdugo ng Mindoro," referring to his alleged dismal human rights record in that province.

Palparan said he is ready to face any charges as long as it is filed in the right venue.

"If there are facts, submit [them] to [the] proper forum," he said. -- Dennis A. Gadil/abs-cbnNEWS.com

Ecumenical delegation to visit the Philippines

Ecumenical delegation to visit the Philippines


Bishop Solito Toquero
Bishop Solito Toquero
June 2, 2005
By United Methodist News Service
An ecumenical delegation will visit the Philippines to collect facts about political repression and offer pastoral support to affected churches and families.
United Methodist Bishop Solito Toquero of Manila and Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes, chief executive of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, urged the visit.
"Now more than ever, we are seeing the church under siege only because she has decided to take up her cross and follow Jesus through his Via Dolorosa," they wrote in a May 16 invitation. "Church people who have walked alongside our struggling people have joined the myriads of peace advocates and human rights defenders whose lives have been snuffed out."
Most recently, the Rev. Edison Lapuz, a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, was brutally murdered.
The delegation -- which is being arranged through the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia -- will visit the Philippines July 15-21. The council hopes to set up meetings with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, military authorities in Central Luzon and Eastern Visayas, and representatives of the Department of National Defense and the Senate Committee on Human Rights, as well as church leaders and members of nongovernmental organizations.
Among the areas the delegation will visit is Samar, a province in Eastern Visayas where most of the recent killings have occurred, and Hacienda Luisita, a sugar cane plantation where striking peasants and farm workers were massacred.
The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said in a recent statement that the situation in the Philippines is "deeply disturbing to the Christian conscience."

Day has joined with Protestant leaders in the Philippines in calling for a full and fair investigation of the May 12 murder of Lapuz, who was shot while he slept. Alfredo Malinao, also a grassroots organizer, died after the late night attack on a house where a group had gathered following a funeral.
Both were involved with a human rights organization, Promotion of the Church People's Response, which has highlighted what it considers the unjust social, political, and economic practices permitted by the administration of President Macapagal-Arroyo. Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon, United Church of Christ chief executive, had reported that 50 people, including six church members, have been ambushed or assassinated in 2005 on the islands of Leyte and Samar.
Day joined with Toquero in calling upon the president to investigate the murders of Lapuz and others. "I plead with the government," Day said, "to establish fair economic policies and to control the use of violence against those who question current practices." The mission executive noted that he attended Sillman University in the Philippines and has a deep affection for the country and its people.
In a May 16 statement, Bolocon noted that Lapuz "was pastorally responsible for expressing the church's alarm and concern over the recent shooting of one UCCP member and the killing of another in his conference. The Rev. Lapuz unflinchingly maintained his firm commitment to stand for justice and righteousness; he set aside the death threats he was receiving as an attendant risk to the prophetic call."
Addressing "the perpetrators of the dastardly act of assassination and murder," Bolocon declared that by eliminating "the perceived 'enemies of the State' this way, you are, in fact, escalating the cycle and level of violence, leaving the people more and more limited options in seeking redress of wrongs."

Numerous church leaders, Protestant and Catholic, have warned against a trend toward martial law in the Philippines, with opponents coming under intimidation and attack.
In a separate May 16 statement, Toquero said the increase in killings of peace advocates is "leading us to think that a systematic plan of silencing people expressing dissent is on a full-scale implementation."

He cited the United Methodist Church's Social Principles, which state in Paragraph 164: "We hold governments responsible for the protection of the rights of the people to free and fair elections and to the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, communications media, and petition for redress of grievances without fear of reprisal; . . . We also strongly reject domestic surveillance and intimidation of political opponents of governments in power and all other misuses of elective or appointive offices. . . . the mistreatment or torture of persons by government for any purpose violates Christian teaching and must be condemned and/or opposed by Christians and churches wherever and whenever it occurs."
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

From: http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=8363


Ecumenical delegation to visit the Philippines



An ecumenical delegation will visit the Philippines to collect facts about political repression and offer pastoral support to affected churches and families.
United Methodist Bishop Solito Toquero of Manila and Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes, chief executive of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, urged the visit.
"Now more than ever, we are seeing the church under siege only because she has decided to take up her cross and follow Jesus through his Via Dolorosa," they wrote in a May 16 invitation. "Church people who have walked alongside our struggling people have joined the myriads of peace advocates and human rights defenders whose lives have been snuffed out."
Most recently, the Rev. Edison Lapuz, a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, was brutally murdered.
The delegation -- which is being arranged through the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia -- will visit the Philippines July 15-21. The council hopes to set up meetings with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, military authorities in Central Luzon and Eastern Visayas, and representatives of the Department of National Defense and the Senate Committee on Human Rights, as well as church leaders and members of nongovernmental organizations.
Among the areas the delegation will visit is Samar, a province in Eastern Visayas where most of the recent killings have occurred, and Hacienda Luisita, a sugar cane plantation where striking peasants and farm workers were massacred.
The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said in a recent statement that the situation in the Philippines is "deeply disturbing to the Christian conscience."
Day has joined with Protestant leaders in the Philippines in calling for a full and fair investigation of the May 12 murder of Lapuz, who was shot while he slept. Alfredo Malinao, also a grassroots organizer, died after the late night attack on a house where a group had gathered following a funeral.
Both were involved with a human rights organization, Promotion of the Church People's Response, which has highlighted what it considers the unjust social, political, and economic practices permitted by the administration of President Macapagal-Arroyo. Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon, United Church of Christ chief executive, had reported that 50 people, including six church members, have been ambushed or assassinated in 2005 on the islands of Leyte and Samar.
Day joined with Toquero in calling upon the president to investigate the murders of Lapuz and others. "I plead with the government," Day said, "to establish fair economic policies and to control the use of violence against those who question current practices." The mission executive noted that he attended Sillman University in the Philippines and has a deep affection for the country and its people.
In a May 16 statement, Bolocon noted that Lapuz "was pastorally responsible for expressing the church's alarm and concern over the recent shooting of one UCCP member and the killing of another in his conference. The Rev. Lapuz unflinchingly maintained his firm commitment to stand for justice and righteousness; he set aside the death threats he was receiving as an attendant risk to the prophetic call."
Addressing "the perpetrators of the dastardly act of assassination and murder," Bolocon declared that by eliminating "the perceived 'enemies of the State' this way, you are, in fact, escalating the cycle and level of violence, leaving the people more and more limited options in seeking redress of wrongs."
Numerous church leaders, Protestant and Catholic, have warned against a trend toward martial law in the Philippines, with opponents coming under intimidation and attack.
In a separate May 16 statement, Toquero said the increase in killings of peace advocates is "leading us to think that a systematic plan of silencing people expressing dissent is on a full-scale implementation."
He cited the United Methodist Church's Social Principles, which state in Paragraph 164: "We hold governments responsible for the protection of the rights of the people to free and fair elections and to the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, communications media, and petition for redress of grievances without fear of reprisal; . . . We also strongly reject domestic surveillance and intimidation of political opponents of governments in power and all other misuses of elective or appointive offices. . . . the mistreatment or torture of persons by government for any purpose violates Christian teaching and must be condemned and/or opposed by Christians and churches wherever and whenever it occurs."
From: http://gbgm-umc.org/global_news/full_article.cfm?articleid=3253

Ugop Waraynon’

Ugop Waraynon’


FILIAL affection with a provincemate is an innate value ingrained in every Filipino. But never is it expressed more fervently and passionately as a Waray would do to his own fellow Waraynon, each hundreds of kilometers away from bungto nga natawhan (place of birth).

And especially so when pressed against the wall by oppressive circumstances.
"Ugop Waraynon" (literally, Support for Waray People), a movement of Leyteños, Samareños, and Biliranons residing in Metro Manila, came naturally for those Region 8 natives.
When the regional organization was launched last Wednesday at a restaurant in Quezon City, the standing-room-only banquet hall was filled with mixed emotions.
As an integral part of the evening program, the metropolitan Waraynons were shown an audio-visual presentation on the alleged atrocities and summary executions of human rights leaders and their sympathizers. Military operatives are the suspects.
As an aftermath, hundreds of families have been displaced and evacuated to safer places for fear of being caught in a crossfire.
Many of those in the hall were seething with anger. They have been made more aware of what is happening in their region, some of which resemble those vigilante killings in Cebu and Davao cities.
On the other hand, some were beaming with smiles hobnobbing with fellow Waraynons, joining together in singing An Iroy nga Tuna’ and dancing the kuratsa.
To be fair and square, the military command in the island, in its official reports, maintains that those casualties as reported in local and national media were the results of legitimate encounters with dissidents in the area.
Many residents in Eastern Visayas will readily admit that their region has been a hotbed of NPA activities since the early 1970s.
The military itself has documents and audio-video records that authenticate that those encounters with Communist-supported elements were legitimate skirmishes.
The two Samareño congressmen and one party-list representative who shared their concern and grief for the victims each expressed disgust and contempt.
The Samareño solons also told the cheering crowd that they have already forwarded a letter to President Gloria M. Arroyo detailing the atrocities.
Alex Lagunzad, secretary general of KatungobSB who annotated the power point presentation, said the assassinations of lawyer Felidito Dacut and UCCP Pastor Rev. Edison Lapuz have a pattern. The killers rode in motorcycles, as reported by police investigators and witnesses.
Ugop Waraynon volunteer officers and members are Caloocan City Vice Mayor Tito Varela, chairman; former DBM Assistant Secretary Claro Piczon, spokesperson; Ricardo T. Melendrez, secretary general; Priscilla D. Ampuan, treasurer; Osmundo C. Orlanes, media relation officer; Fiscal Alfredo D. Ampuan, Engr. Cayo A. Romano, Rev. Artemio S. Luaton, Dr. Alexis S. Montes, Doroteo Dasmariñas, Dan D. Ampuan, Romy Florencio, Rudy Eco, Tito Go, Ezel Jaboli, Santiago Dasmariñas, and Silverio Celada, members.
From: http://www3.mb.com.ph/OPED2005062737960.html