Migrante International picket at the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA):

Roxas abduction: Prelude to another wave of atrocities – Migrante

Quezon City


August 11, 2009




Photos courtesy of Migrante International




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 explained.

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 individuals.###




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 agencies.

“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 understanding.

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 Fascist Regime.

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
(Vancouver, BC)
8 August 2009