11 August 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson-09217229740
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994
Place abduction and torture issue in Peace Talk agenda
Roxas abduction: Prelude to another wave of atrocities – Migrante
The biggest global alliance of OFW organizations held a lightning rally
today in front of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)
building to condemn what it calls a prelude to a series of abductions of
officers of progressive organizations such as Migrante.
“We strongly believe that with the inclusion of Migrante in the AFP Order
of Battle and the abduction of Melissa Roxas, who was thought to be Maita
Santiago, is a part of a new wave of attacks on progressive organizations,
journalists and other oppositionists. If not for their blunder, the series
of atrocities could have victimized more leaders of militant
organizations. This only proves that the AFP order of battle prepared by
the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (IDPA) based in Southern
Mindanao is being implemented to the letter by its death squads,” Martinez
To dramatize their protest, the group glued several clothes covered with
blood at the gate of the NICA building to represent the hundreds of
victims of torture, forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings
under the Arroyo administration.
“NICA should be spelled with a small ‘I’ for they have an intelligence of
a moron. They could not even get their target right! Their stupidity to
include a legitimate journalist in their order of battle likewise reflects
what kind of intelligence the AFP has,” Garry Martinez, Chairperson of
Migrante International, exclaimed.
Prior to Melissa Roxas abduction, a soldier handed a document to a group
that was conducting a probe on the human rights situation in Mindanao. The
said document contained an order of battle (OB) naming persons and civil
society organizations as either “dominated, targeted or organized”
purportedly by the Communists. One of the names listed in the said OB is
Carlos Conde, a journalist of 15 years who is presently working as a
freelance correspondent for US-based publications, namely The New York
Times, the International Herald Tribune and GlobalPost.com.
“We also strongly suggest to both panels of the Government of the Republic
of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the
Philippines (NDFP) that the issue of abduction and torture be placed as
the first agenda in the impending Peace Talks,” Martinez said.
Government and the NDF panels recently agreed to sit down again after the
talk was stalled 5 years ago. The resumption of the Peace Talk is
scheduled to be held late this month in Norway.
“We would also like to warn the people to be more vigilant. We believe
that human rights atrocities will intensify as the elections come closer.
We fear that the abductors and torturers of Melissa will specifically
target progressive party-lists who will run in the 2010 elections and the
only way to stop these is to put President Arroyo and its AFP death squad
behind bars,” added Martinez.
The group vowed to expose Arroyo administration’s human rights violations
since 2001 through its member organizations in 23 countries across the
globe. They are also considering to file a formal complaint to the office
of Prof. Philip Aliston, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights who blames
the AFP and the Arroyo administration as the ones responsible for the
extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances in the past.
“President Arroyo’s days are numbered. If she thinks that she will leave
Malacanan Palace clean and spend her days dining in Le Cirque, she is dead
wrong. Migrante along with our members worldwide will see to it that
justice will prevail and Citizen Gloria Arroyo will pay for its crimes
against the Filipino people after her term,” Martinez concluded.###
6 August 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson-09217229740
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994
Maita was the Target Not Melissa
MIGRANTE airs concern for safety of Maita and its leaders
Migrante International wishes to express its solidarity with Melissa Roxas,
the Fil-American activist who was abducted and tortured by masked men
believed to be members of the Philippine military. Under an illegitimate
and repressive regime such as that of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s,
Melissa’s act of pursuing charges against her abductors and torturers is
an act of courage and dignity in a class of its own.
Migrante International also condemns the malevolent attempts made by
Pastor Alcover of the Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) and
Bantay Partylist Representative, General Jovito Palparan, to discredit
Melissa. In falsely accusing her to be a member of the New People’s Army (NPA)
to justify Melissa’s abduction and torture, Alcover and Palparan, both
rabid fascists, continue to affirm the heinous government policy of
committing human rights violations against any suspected or imagined enemy
of the state.
We view both Alcover’s and Palparan’s statements against Bayan Muna
Partylist Representative Satur Ocampo and a host of other legitimate
organizations as a direct threat to all progressive organizations who have
spoken up and stood against Arroyo’s vicious regime.
Maita was target
We are alarmed over the information that Melissa Roxas has been mistaken
for Maita Santiago - a Filipino-Canadian and a former Secretary General of
Migrante International - when she was forcibly taken by armed men in La
Paz, Tarlac last May 19.
This is concrete proof that it was Migrante’s Maita and not Melissa who
was the target.
Thus, Migrante International raises its concern over Maita’s safety and
security - even as she is now back in Canada - and the safety and security
of our officers, organizers and members here and abroad.
We are calling on the Canadian government to not stand idly by as one of
its own citizens have been evidently targeted for abduction and torture.
Putting a blind eye on this issue, we believe, could endanger more
Canadian citizens who’ll be taking part in future solidarity missions and
exposure trips in the country.
Lastly, we demand that Melissa Roxas’ abductors and torturers be brought
to justice swiftly and that the government and the military immediately
put an end to this terror campaign against progressive organizations and
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
REMEMBERING ALYCE CLAVER,
REMEMBERING DR. RODOLFO PENERA~
MOURNING AND ORGANIZING!
There is another grief that was overshadowed by the news of the death on
August 1 of Corazon Aquino, former President of the Philippines.
It is the untimely death of Alyce Claver whose anniversary we remember. It
is also that of the recent killing of Dr. Rodolfo Penera and the pain of
the families that their brutal deaths have wrought.
Alyce Omengan Claver died in Tabuk, Kalinga, northern Philippines last
July 31, 2006. Alyce died from gunshot wounds in her head, neck, and
shoulders. She was in the family car with her husband, physician-surgeon
Dr. Constancio “Chandu” Claver, and one of their three daughters, 11-year-
old Cassandra, when armed men fired at them with M-16 type powered rifles
that early morning. Alyce had instinctively thrown her body to cover her
husband's. “As a result, she caught seven of the deadly projectiles
intended for me. Her selfless sacrifice did not stop there. At the
hospital Emergency Room where we were rushed to, she insisted that I be
attended to first. Because of such unselfish acts, I am still alive
today,” Dr. Claver said in a statement in 2007 marking the first death
anniversary of Alyce. Dr. Claver sustained severe damages to his left arm
and his liver, stomach and intestines. Cassandra, physically unscathed,
bears the trauma of that day.
Alyce was a student activist during her college days, a strong and vocal
supporter of the Cordillera People's Alliance and of the progressive
partylist Bayan Muna, a dear comrade, friend, wife and mother.
As with the other victims of human rights violations in the Philippines,
no one (or no group) has been prosecuted or punished for this crime
against the Claver family. The chilling fear is that the killings continue
with such impunity and with what seems to be the tacit consent by silence
and without objection by the Arroyo government and her state forces and
“I was targeted for assassination because of my political beliefs,” Dr.
Claver has said. He was the chairperson then of the Bayan Muna-Kalinga
Chapter, the progressive and militant partylist that was a thorn in the
side of the Arroyo regime. The ambush against Dr. Claver is part of the
Arroyo's counter-insurgency program that has unarmed civilian activists
lined up like sitting ducks on a shelf and made open targets by killers
whose Mastermind is bent on eliminating the country's long-running
counter-insurgency before the Mastermind's term ends in 2010.
Dr. Rodolfo “Bong” Penera was not as lucky as Dr. Claver.
Barely two months ago, on June 24, 2009, armed perpetrators on a
motorcycle fired at and killed Dr. Penera and wounded his daughter Lianne
when their car was ambushed in Davao City, southern Philippines. Dr.
Penera and 15-year-old Lianne were on their way home when the attack
happened in the early evening.
Dr. Penera, who was 45 years
old, headed the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of the Department
of Health (DOH)-Southern Mindanao and was the country's leading expert on
the influenza A (H1N1). Aside from being a government doctor, Peñera
actively opposed the privatization of government hospitals and of other
government programs that limited people’s access to health care. Dr.
Peñera was also one of the few doctors trained to handle and monitor
possible outbreaks of the swine flu, dengue, malaria and other diseases
known to afflict poor communities.
He was also a Board member of the Urban Integrated Health Foundation
Incorporated, a council member of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and a
convenor and chair of the Katawhan Kontra Kartel, three organizations
which are listed on the military Order of Battle that Bayan Muna Rep.
Satur Ocampo exposed to the media in May of this year. While the military
denies that such a list exists, certain people in that list have already
been killed and the groups mentioned in that list are constantly vilified
and demonized as “communist fronts.” There are six physicians named in the
list and they included Dr. Ruben Robillo, Dr. Jose Lacuesta, Dr. Shalom
Lorezana, Dr. Eugene Nalian, and Dr. Rey Lesaca.
More than 9,000 doctors have already left the country as nurses, more than
tens of thousands of nurses continue to be exported, more than 200
hospitals have already closed and 800 more are partially closed because of
the lack of doctors and nurses and seven out of 10 Filipinos die without
access to health personnel. And yet, the Arroyo government has seen fit to
target doctors who have chosen to minister to the country's poor and
advocate for the people's healthcare. It is a logic that defies
There is a scourge more deadly than any virus and that is what is killing
our unarmed civilians of doctors, journalists, lawyers, church people,
peasants, workers, students and human rights activists. Arroyo calls it
her counter-insurgency weapon Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Plan Freedom
Watch) and the Filipino people call it Evil and the modus operandi of a
The deaths that befell Alyce and Dr. Penera are terrifying because their
deaths at the hands of death squads have become so ordinary and they
happen all too often in the Philippines. While Alyce and Dr. Penera can
not cry out for justice, it is the duty of all of us, of the living, to do
so for them.
The mourning will continue. So will organizing and fighting for justice.
Justice for Alyce Claver and Dr. Rodolfo Penera!
Stop the Extra-Judicial Killings, Enforced Disappearances and Torture!
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rigths
8 August 2009