International mission reveals brutality of Duterte’s Martial Law

International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission recommends filing of cases vs. state forces

“The International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission (IFFSM) opened the Pandora’s Box of Duterte’s Martial Law.” This was the statement of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) as it led the presentation of highlights of the four-day mission Mindanao that probed the extent and forms of human rights violations under Martial Law.

“The mission has documented and uncovered the worst human rights violations carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, police, and paramilitary groups against civilians in peasant and Lumad communities in Mindanao. The terror of Martial Law is real. We attest to it,” says Danilo Ramos, KMP chairperson.

Through Martial Law, the Duterte regime has authorized rural militarization and human rights violations against peasants, along with the local and foreign economic interests behind them – exploitative ventures of foreign large-scale mining, plantation expansion, and energy extraction.

“Martial Law imposition has further emboldened state forces in increasing the frequency and intensity of HRVs against rural poor, yet Martial Law and Oplan Kapayapaan are painted as successful in ‘maintaining peace,” the peasant leader said.

Ramos added, “Martial Law and militarization targets not only leaders and members of peasant organizations, but also civilians, especially in relation to counter-insurgency campaigns. Intensification of military presence — military use of civilian facilities, logbooks in peasant communities, restriction of movement, roving, food and economic blockade, among others, happen on a daily basis, especially with the military’s conduct of Community Operations for Peace and Development (COPD)

“Forcing farmers to surrender as NPAs has also become a central part of military operations. However, it was revealed during the mission that collusion of military, police, and judicial officers in extorting from peasants with trumped-up charges have also become a norm in some areas in Mindanao,” Ramos said.

“Women, youth, and children are also hapless victims of militarization,” the KMP leader said.

Ramos said KMP, Barug Katungod-Mindanao and other mission participants will continue to expose the real situation in Mindanao.

From April 6-9, the mission probed areas in Caraga, Northern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao regions.

The IFFSM also recommends the following:

  • File complaint with the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the NDFP and the GRP for the human rights violations committed against the farmers; and request the JMC to conduct immediate investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators and urge GRP to respect the CARHIHL;
  • Hold the US-Duterte regime and principal perpetrators of the human rights violations committed against the farmers and their accomplices by
    • Filing complaint for violation of Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law, Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Murder, and other crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws.
    • Filing civil and administrative cases against the perpetrators of the HRVs.
  • Should the government fail to act on these cases, file a complaint with the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Commission for Human Right (UNCHR) for violation of IHL and Crimes Against Humanity against President Duterte and the military and the police;
  • Investigate and prosecute the military, the judge, the prosecutor and the PAO who connived in extorting from peasant victims of trumped-up charges;
  • Hold a dialogue with PAO Chief and the IBP to ensure that the PAO or IBP Legal Aid Clinic provides competent and free legal assistance to victims of trumped-up cases and ensure continuous monitoring of the cases to ensure the protection of the rights of the victims as an accused of trumped-up cases and so that they and their families will not be subjected to illegal money-making and extortion schemes;
  • Recommend to the Department of Justice to review all cases involving political prisoners and victims of trumped-up charges;
  • Call for the abolition of Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA) that is instrumental in filing the trumped-up cases;
  • Lobby for the passage of the law to protect the rights of respondents even during the preliminary investigation stage to prevent miscarriage of justice or injustice against farmers who were not properly notified that cases have already been filed against them;
  • Call on the Supreme Court to review the Rules on Writ of Amparo and Writ of Habeas Data to ensure that farmers and their families will be protected against EJK or enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention, or threat thereof to their lives, liberty, or security;
  • Demand from the government to disband COPD teams, paramilitary and other groups responsible for HRVs of the farmers;
  • Lobby for the enactment of law or policy that would ensure that military and paramilitary group cannot or will not use civilian facilities for any military or so-called socio-civic purpose with corresponding penalty for violation thereof;
  • Continuously expose, locally and internationally, and organize broad and multi-sectoral resistance against the abuses committed against the farmers.
  • Call on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and include in the talks measures on how to put a halt to the escalating military abuse of civilians particularly farmers and Lumad and their communities.
  • Demand for a stop of all so-called “development projects” in the island especially those being carried out by multinational corporations in vast export crop plantations and mining concessions that only displace peasants and Lumad communities.
  • Demand for the implementation of genuine agrarian reform that include free land distribution to the tillers and a comprehensive system of support services for the farmers.

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