November 17, 2014

The alleged murder of Stephen Galidan, a student of Mountain Province State Polytechnic College at the hands of the Bontoc Municipal Police is outrageous and calls for the highest condemnation.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) slogan is “To Serve and Protect”, but the Bontoc police proved it to be a joke. The murder of Galidan by alleged five members of the Bontoc police is not an isolated case. In the region, there are other cases involving members of the PNP in violating the rights of the civilians whom they are supposed to serve and protect. The incident in La Trinidad where a PNP officer shot and killed two civilians was not so long ago.

In addition, there are also numerous crimes reported to the police that are not solved. In Baguio City and its adjacent municipalities, victims of salvaging of suspected criminals are on the rise. This is a dangerous situation. Even if the victims are suspected criminals, they have the right of due process of law. Another scenario is when this happens to a wrong person or a case of mistaken identity. This should already stop.

It is not only the PNP involved in human rights violations, but also elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) committing human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL)violations against civilians and hors de combat members of revolutionary forces. To name a few of these violations are the extrajudicial killings of the Ligiw family in Baay-Licuan Abra; William Bugatti of Ifugao; Engr. Fidela Salvador and Noel Viste in Lacub, Abra. The IHL violations against the seven NPA members in Lacub clearly show the total disregard by the military to observe the rules of war.

In the news is Pvt. Christopher Collado Baccay, an element of the 54th IBPA who is charged with rape and intentional abortion at an RTC in Lagawe, Ifugao. What is worrisome is that Baccay was arrested at the 5th Infantry Division in Camp Melchor Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela. It appears that the 5th IDPA is coddling an alleged rapist among their ranks. If 5th IDPA is true to their oath to protect the people, they should have surrendered Baccay to the court. But this is not surprising, if we recall Capt. Danilo Lalin of the 86th IBPA who was also accused of raping a minor from Mankayan, Benguet was also coddled by the same division.

When State security forces kill, torture, rape, arrest and file trumped-up charges against people whom they are supposed to serve and protect, who will protect the people?

When this happens, the people in their number will rise to challenge this order, as shown by the people in Mt. Province, and all those who believe in the sacredness of life. It is right and just to march to the streets to demand and call for justice and peace. Perpetrators of crimes and human rights violations should be hold accountable.

Lastly, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance joins and supports the families, friends, schoolmates and communities of all the victims of human rights violations in their campaign and quest for true justice and peace.#

For reference:

ATB Anongos Secretary General