January 28, 2016

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), along with human rights victims in the region, is dismayed over the cancellation of the scheduled on-site investigation of the Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives (HRCC) from January 28-29, 2016 here in Baguio City. The on-site hearing was supposed to hear Northern Luzon human rights cases under BS Aquino regime in aid of legislation. Still, we ask the HRCC to push thru its onsite hearing in the immediate days as the human rights situation in the region need urgent attention, and the victims and witnesses are prepared to appear and testify before the committee to present their cases.

Congress should also look beyond the Mamasapano incident and conduct investigation on human rights related issues. Since BS Aquino assumed office in 2010, human rights organizations in Northern Luzon documented at least 21 different types of human rights violations with at least 1,350 victims. Of this number, there are at least 21 cases of extrajudicial killings (EJK) where 10 of the victims come from the Cordillera region. Other documented cases include six cases of frustrated extrajudicial killing and six cases of torture, cases of International Humanitarian Law violations, indiscriminate firing, bombing, and encampment in community, use of human shield, threat, harassment, intimidations and more.

Should the scheduled on-site hearing pushed thru in Baguio City, CPA along with human rights victims and organizations in Northern Luzon would like congress to question Oplan Bayanihan as a National Internal Security Policy of the BS Aquino regime and its impact on indigenous communities. We would like congress to summon the battalion and division commanders of the armed forces to answer all human rights violations in their areas of responsibilities. We would like congress to invite the Commission on Human Rights in the region and in Northern Luzon to give reports on their supposed mandate to help victims.

Again, we reiterate our call for the HRCC to push thru its supposed schedule of an on-site congressional inquiry in Baguio City. Despite the limitations of an on-site hearing to address human rights violations, the HRCC will be a venue for human rights victims and witnesses to share their stories and testimonies in aid of legislation.

Lastly, we call on all peace and human rights advocates to support the victims and their families in their continuing search for justice amidst impunity and state fascism. ***