Karapatan decries violations of human rights

Published June 23, 2020, 3:50 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Raymund Antonio

A human rights group on Tuesday claimed the recent abduction of a development worker and strafing incident involving a student activist have shown the “deteriorating” human rights situation in the country, especially at a time of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Karapatan Alliance Philippines, in a statement sent to the media, said they condemned the kidnapping of Elena Tijano in Bantayan town, Cebu and alleged strafing of Jolina Calot Meraya by military forces in Palapag, Northern Samar.

Tijano, a program coordinator of Farmers Development Center (Fardec) in Central Visayas, was forcibly taken by armed abductors last June 13, while Meraya, who is a member of the League of Filipino Students-University of Eastern Philippines Chapter, is currently in a critical condition after the June 20 strafing incident.

The group noted the “worsening and continuing attacks” on human rights defenders and activists under the Duterte administration amid the looming passage of the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Bill.

The new measure, which many sectors and progressive oppose because it could be used to stifle government critics, only needs Duterte’s signature to become a law.

“Elena Tijamo’s abduction and the ruthless strafing of Jolina Calot Meraya show the militarist Duterte regime’s blatant disregard for people’s rights especially in the middle of a deadly pandemic,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

“These brutal attacks show the dangers of res-tagging and pushing for counterinsurgency-centered policies such as the Anti-Terrorism Bill—and at a time of crisis, these policies clearly reflect the priorities of the fascist government,” she stressed.

Karapatan also pointed out in its statement that the red-tagging of people and groups perceived to be enemy of the state and communist is not new.

“Forcibly tagging every Filipinos as an enemy, a communist, or a rebel when they voice out dissent is no longer a new tactic for the mercenary armed forces, but what comes alongside these abuses are calls and struggle for justice that will never cease,” it said.