An Open Letter to President Aquino of the Philippines

CANADA-PHILIPPINES SOLIDARITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (CPSHR)
1-5687 West Blvd Vancouver, BC Canada
Email: cps_hr@yahoo.ca

06 March 2013

AN OPEN LETTER to His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III

RE: The extrajudicial killing of Barug Katawhan leader Cristina Morales Jose

Mr. President,

The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR) joins the
Filipino human rights defenders and international rights groups in
strongly denouncing the callous killing of Cristina Morales Jose,
Barangay Kagawad (District Councillor) and Barug Katawhan (People Rise
Up!) mass leader. She was shot dead by an unidentified
motorcycle-riding assassin around 6:00 pm on Monday, March 4th, 2013.
Cristina Morales Jose was also a leader of Bayan Muna (People First)
and member of Barug Katawhan, an organization of the survivors of
Typhoon Pablo that hit Davao Oriental last December 2012.

We send our deepest condolences to her family and the people she
served with passion, asserting that every human person has the right
to demand from the government to be provided with the basic needs for
survival such as food, and shelter, the right for humanitarian aid in
the context of disaster, without any discrimination due to his or her
race, age, class, gender and political affiliation.

As a District Councillor and community activist, Cristina Morales Jose
had exposed the food blockade and militarization of relief operations
in Sitio Limot, Barangay Binondo by the 67th Infantry Battalion of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Together with other typhoon
survivors from Baganga, she participated in the three-day Kampuhan or
camp-out in front of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD) in Davao City on February 25-28, and demanded the release of
relief goods allocated for the starving typhoon survivors. She had
also protested against the blacklisting of Typhoon Pablo victims by
the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion who was at the protest.

Human rights group Karapatan Southern Mindanao documented that
Cristina Jose and all those who participated in the camp-out at the
DSWD were harassed by the Barangay Captain and by the Army’s 67th
Infantry Battalion when they went home to their communities. Under
Oplan Bayanihan, 21 military battalions from three Infantry Divisions
(ID) of the AFP have been stationed in the region and this heavy
military presence has resulted in rampant cases of human rights
violations and displacement of the peasants and the Lumad people.

With just a couple of days before the International Women’s Day, we
are strongly reminded that women are also in the forefront of the
struggle for justice and human rights in the Philippines, alongside
the peasants, workers, and indigenous peoples, and that their activism
puts them in the military’s firing line. The killing of Cristina
Morales Jose only highlights the fascist hand of the Aquino government
and its military in putting down any critical dissent, any movement
that fights for basic rights and welfare. It is also ironic that at
the rally in front of the DSWD, Cristina Morales Jose was holding a
placard that said “Bigas, hindi bala, ang ipamahagi placard.

Mr. President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, we ask that you order an immediate pull-out of the 67th
Infantry Battalion and stop Operation Plan Bayanihan, which has
declared all-out war against the people.

We further urge your government to:

1. Conduct an impartial investigation of the 67th IBPA, the DSWD and
other government agencies with possible connections to the murder of
Cristina Morales Jose and ensure the immediate prosecution of the
perpetrators.

2. Stop to the militarization of relief and rehabilitation operations
in Typhoon Pablo affected areas. Immediately turn – over relief and
rehabilitation programs to the civilian government.

3. Conduct an independent fact finding mission composed of lawyers,
church people, academe, and other human rights groups to investigate
Jose’s killing and other violations of international humanitarian law.

Justice for Cristina M. Jose!
Stop the militarization of humanitarian operations in Typhoon Pablo Areas!
Stop the Killings!
End impunity now!

Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
http://www.canadaphilippinessolidarity.org/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Canada-Philippines-Solidarity-for-Human-Rights/

Member: Stop the Killings Network (STKN-Canada)/ International League
of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Canada)/ International Women’s Alliance
(IWA)/ Coalition for Migrant Workers Justice (C4MWJ)/ Mining Justice
Alliance (MJA)
Associate Member:International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA)
Proud Supporter of Bayan-Canada and Migrante-Canada

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One thought on “An Open Letter to President Aquino of the Philippines

  1. ching bandola

    nag serve po ako sa Operation Blessing as a nurse volunteer from December 17, 2012 to January 07, 2013 and if in case your request for the pulling out of the presence of the military in Binondo and Baganga area be granted, then there will be total chaos in the land. As a volunteer during the height of the relief distribution, i’ve seen how unruly the people were at Cateel and Comval. They would directly snatch the goods off our van and they won’t fall in line. there was no order in the distribution of relief goods and medicines. but when the 67th IB stepped in and set up the command post at Baganga and ordered us NGO’s to register first and wait for them to escort us to our designated area for distribution in an orderly manner, it made our distribution alot easier and we and the rest of the other teams have covered all of the area equally; unlike before they’ve set up the command post wherein most of the relief goods were concentrated only on areas in whose barangay captain is friends with the mayor and the rest of the areas are left to starve! you ought to be there and experience how unruly and utterly stupid it is to deal with mob mentality before you criticize military order. as a nurse medic my goal is to help regardless of race, creed or belief and it does not matter whether we are serving the godless NPA, muslim and Christian alike in that area.

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