LIST: Human rights watch (September 26 -October 2, 2021)

As the Certificate of Candidacy filing commences, harassment still continues across different regions in the country. In the past seven days, workers were demanded to leave, four progressives were surveyed, a policeman gatecrashed a burial, and a former local accountant was ambushed and killed.

Here are the human rights violations reported for this week.

September 19 – October 1 – Catanduanes, Bicol Region

Four leader-activists in Catanduanes were surveyed by elements of the Philippine Army, gathering information about officials of progressive organizations and topics of their meetings, as well as taking photos of the activists’ homes, Defend Bicol Stop the Attacks Network says

On September 19, four armed military men went to Ernesto Nazareno’s house. Nazareno was a known member of Asosasyon ng mga Parahagot sa Catanduanes (ABACA) and the coordinator of Kilusan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP) in Bicol. The military men tried to gather information about KMP’s whereabouts, KMP’s meetings and topics, and other confidential information.

Three days later, on September 22, Nazareno was called by one of the four military personnel that interrogated him, and named all of ABACA’s officers. After six days, on September 28, two military men and two policemen went again to Nazareno’s home, and took a photo of him.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna coordinator for Catanduanes Rudy Suarez was also surveyed by the military on September 19. At that time, Suarez was not in his residence, so the two military personnel just took photos of his home and left. It was reported that this is the third time that the state conducted surveillance on Suarez’ house since he became a coordinator for Bayan Muna.

On September 29, member of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Catanduanes Jose Bonifacio was tried to be interrogated by four military personnel. At that time, Bonifacio had to leave for work. The military said that they would return.

Last October 1, Shirley Tutanes was visited by three armed military men in her office in Brgy. San Joaquin, Panganiban, Catanduanes. Tutanes is the coordinator of Bicolana Gabriela Catanduanes. She was asked by a certain Arthur Vargas from the Office of the President, about who appointed her as coordinator. She was also asked for information about the people within their organization and meeting place, and if she is personally-linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

September 30 – Cabuyao, Laguna

Workers of the warehouse division of Wyeth Philippines, Inc. went under deception of their management, as a supposed “team-building activity” led to the issuance of a redundancy notice forcing them to decide for only a short time regarding their tenure, after being told that they will be laid off.

Reports from Drug Food and Allied Workers (DFA-KMU) showed that the said activity was not part of any meetings held between the Wyeth Philippines Progressive Workers Union (WPPWU) and the Wyeth Management, and that the said team building had no clear agenda.

WPPWU also said that the production division of the company might be the next to receive a redundancy notice, as its supervisors secretly met and the activity that they will hold “also had no clear agenda”.

It can be recalled that elements of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) surveyed Wyeth Philippines unionists four times already, leading to a protest held by progressives last September in DILG, Quezon City (READ: Mga grupo ng manggagawa, nanawagan sa DILG na tigilan ang panghaharas, pananakot sa mga unyonistang Wyeth).

September 30 – Bantayan Island, Cebu

A policeman from the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) of Police Regional Office 7 (PRO-7) gatecrashed the burial of Elena Tijamo, former Sustainable Agriculture Program Coordinator of Farmers Development Center (FARDEC), ANINAW Productions reports.

The police officer, who suddenly entered the gate of Tijamo’s residence in Bantayan Island, Cebu, approached Elena’s sister and asked her for an interview. Elena’s kin went over to reject the interview as the family did not request any investigation from the AKG.

ANINAW Productions added that the AKG tried contacting the family since Tijamo’s remains were in Metro Manila. Despite the firm rejection by the family, the AKG continues to contact them.

KARAPATAN-Central Visayas calls this as ‘a means to harass the family in their time of mourning’, and cited the importance of consulting to their legal counsel before giving any statements to the state forces.

It can be recalled Tijamo was abducted from her home in June 2020 and was later found dead in Mandaluyong City last August 2021.

October 2 – Biñan City, Laguna

Former Biñan City accountant Virgilio Dimaranan was killed in an ambush in Brgy. Sto. Tomas, Biñan City, after he attended a meeting near their residence, Anakbayan Laguna says. Dimaranan was shot by unidentified armed men.

His relative, Christopher Dimaranan, was also killed in an ambush in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna on February 17, 2020. Christopher was formerly Brgy. Sto. Tomas chairperson.

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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