LIST: Human rights watch (July 4 – 10, 2021)

One year ago, the Terror Law was passed. Formed as a means to “eradicate terrorism,” what this instead wrought was the arrests and deaths of countless innocent activists and even civilians (READ: Progressives reflect on Terror Law 1 year since passage).

One year ago, Congress yanked ABS-CBN’s chain for the final time by denying them of any chance to secure their franchise. With one of the country’s largest networks being forced to shutter most of their key facilities’ doors, Filipinos have to struggle with waves of propaganda and sensationalized news to get to the truth.

(RELATED STORIES: ABS-CBN Regional goes dark, Netizens slam gov’t for ABS-CBN Regional absence in Typhoon Rolly)

The national government’s legacy of bloodshed did not end with legislative matters, as this week also saw developments regarding the Bloody Sunday massacre, four months since nine progressives were killed and four others were arrested. According to forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun, the victims were “shot to be killed” (READ: Expert confirms Bloody Sunday deaths intentional, demands probe).

This week of commemorations also saw two killings and one instance of land-grabbing, the likes of which a farmer community has already struggled with for years.

Here are all of the other HRVs that have been reported this week.

July 5 and 9 – Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental

Human rights alliance Karapatan Timog Katagalugan (TK) says that Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental police are delaying the release of Quennie Daraman’s body to their family last July 9. The victim was said to have been killed last July 5 by elements of the Philippine Army’s 203rd Brigade.

Karapatan-TK says that police interrogated and separated Daraman’s mother from her family to “complete their papers” despite having already accomplished and at one point harassed the family in their home. Authorities also gathered “unnecessary” information from their relatives. The alliance, however, did not disclose what specific information was taken.

Delaying the release of bodies is nothing new to police, as was seen with the lengthy processing of the bodies of the Sta. Rosa 3. They were three red-tagged civilians who were killed in a raid in Brgy. Macabling, Sta. Rosa City. The same raid where UPLB alumnus KI Cometa was taken (READ: UPLB alum ‘abducted’ in AFP-PNP raid, still missing).

Alleged JAKA – Sta Lucia – South Cavite Land personnel by the farmland.
Photo from KASAMA-TK / Facebook.

July 6 – Lupang Kapdula, Dasmariñas, Cavite

Real estate companies Jaka – Sta. Lucia – South Cavite Land reportedly fenced a Lupang Kapdula farmland in Dasmariñas, Cavite last July 6, before completely “running over” and digging farmers’ crops.

According to Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), this is a move that prepares the farm to be fully converted into a market road.

The farmers’ organization asserts that illegality of the real eastate companies’ fencing because of their lack of permit. What were brought instead by the companies’ guards, headed by Alvin Santos and Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Dominador Viray, were long firearms to threaten the farmers.

When the farmers of Lupang Kapdula initiated a dialogue with the barangay government, they were advised to file a complaint and that the barangay “will support” the farmers.

The farmers also already sent their complaints and demands to Dasmariñas Mayor Jenny Barzaga, but have yet to receive a response after five months, apart from their case being “passed on” to the Office of the Congressman.

KASAMA-TK added that SAMAKA farmers experienced having been “yelled at” by the mayor’s staff, leading them to think that the Office of the Mayor “hides” something from them.

“Nakakagalit na sa kabila ng ganitong iligalidad at harassment ay nananatiling nagtatago at walang aksyon ang lokal na pamahalaan,” KASAMA-TK wrote in a Facebook post.

KASAMA-TK solidifies their call for a Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) that will truly uphold the rights and interests of farmers to their land.

July 8 – Brgy. San Francisco, Gandara, Samar

Anakbayan Calamba says that a farmer leader from Brgy. San Francisco, Gandara, Samar was “rained with bullets” and was beheaded by currently unnamed assailants. While the group says that the suspects have been identified, his head is yet to be found.

Human Rights Watch is a weekly collation of human rights news stories gathered from different sources by UPLB Perspective. This initiative was launched in response to the sweeping number of human rights violations (HRVs) among various sectors across the country.

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