Archive for September, 2011

A time for commemoration and continuing the struggle against human rights violations

In the 1097th day of the enforce disappearance of James Balao, co-founder of the Cordillera People’s Alliance and alumnus of the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet, the Guild remains steadfast in its condemnation of the incident which is a manifestation of the rampant violation of human rights in the Cordillera region.

Abducted by military agents last September 17, 2008 during the term of Gloria Arroyo, James is yet to be surfaced by the suspects. That is despite the Writ of Amparo granted by the Supreme Court last January 2009 ordering Arroyo and her minions to surface James Balao. Now that Arroyo is out of the presidency and Aquino takes over her place, it is deplorable that James is yet to be found nor released. At the same time, it asks for the continued vigilance of everyone regarding not just James’s case but also the general situation of human rights in the country.

Under the Aquino regime, the horror of massive human rights violations does not cease. Aquino’s deceptive Oplan Bayanihan program which hides beneath the cloth of “winning the peace,” is actually a subtle facilitator of more human rights violations. Under the guise of extending services to farlung areas in the form of medical missions, outreach programs among others, Oplan Bayanihan only softens the existing militarization of many communities, especially in the Cordillera. The presence of military personnel in rural communities inhibits the movements of the people on the community, especially those who are identified as critics of the state. In that case, Oplan Bayanihan targets identified critics of the government and this usually leads to human rights violations such as harassments, enforced disappearances and political killings.

Three years after the abduction of James Balao, the struggle for upholding our human rights continue. This is not only the time for commemoration; this is also the time for renewing our strength and commitment in defending and asserting our human rights in the face of a crooked administration that just refuses to grant us what we rightfully deserve.





Media Advisory on James Balao September 17 commemoration

14 September 2011

­­­­Media Advisory:


September 17, 2011 marks the 1097th day since the indigenous people activist James Balao was abducted by state security forces in La Trinidad, Benguet. Since then, his family, along with the Cordillera People’s Alliance and Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, has sought the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to bring justice to James’ enforced disappearance by holding the past regime accountable for its misdeeds. Last January 2009, the Supreme Courtb granted the writ of amparo to surface James Balao and to prosecute those who are accountable for this abduction which included then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cohorts. Moreover, September 21 marks the anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.


In relation to this, we are inviting you to be part of the commemoration of James’ enforced disappearance and the continuing struggle for justice not only for him but to all the victims of human rights violations in the country this coming September 17, 10 am at People’s Park. With the theme: “Resist the continuing State Terrorism! Persevers in our Human Rights Defense and Assertion,” the activity will serve as a broad gathering of individuals and organizations to clamor the Aquino administration for justice and bring the perpetrators of HRVs accountable. Media coverage is requested.


Below is the program of activities for the whole-day activity.




Part I



Set Up at the Venue

Public Announcement

Part II

11:00-11:05 Invocation  
11: 05-11:10 Introduction of the Activity Ms. Joana Cariño, Afong-Selda


11:10-11:20 On Human Rights Situation Mr. Jude Baggo, Secretary-General, CHRA


11:20-11:25 Introduction to the video documentary entitled Rimbaw* Ms. Audrey Beltran, Deputy Secretary General, CHRA


11:25-12:00 Public Viewing of Rimbaw  



12:00-12:05 Message Balao Family


12:05-12:10 Challenges Ms. Chie Galvez, Coordinator, HustisyaNorthern Luzon


Part III

1:00-4:00 Poetry Reading and Cultural


CEGP Baguio-Benguet, Baguio Writer’s Group and UBBOG Cordillera Young Writer’s Group
4:00-5:00 CEGP Freeze Mob in Session Road CEGP Baguio-Benguet



*Rimbaw is a video documentary that chronicles the struggles of families in Northern Luzon who have been subjected to human rights violations, through Operation Plans Bantay Laya I and II and Bayanihan. It is also a narrative of courage mustered by these families and their communities in their assertion of human rights. The video was produced through the efforts of Hustisya-Northern Luzon, Dinteg (Cordillera Indigenous Peoples’LegalCenter), Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, Cordillera Women’s Education, Action, and Research Center, Inc. (CWEARC), and the European Union – Delegation to thePhilippines.


**simultaneous with the program is a mural painting activity depicting the struggle for justice for the enforced disappearance of James Balao and the victims of human rights violations under the Oplan Bantay Laya I and II and Oplan Bayanihan.


Thank you.



For Reference:


Ruel Caricativo

CHRA Media Officer, 09162772239


Ivan Emil Labayne

CEGP Baguio-Benguet Chaiperson, 09268105915

Media advisory regarding Budget Cut Campaign

September 12, 2011

Media Advisory:

It is again the time for budget deliberations and confrontations as the Aquino administration released its budget proposal a day after Aquino’s second State of the Nation Address last July 25 and its “anti-people” orientation is again revealed by the numbers.

We speak again of the old dilemma: the bulk of the budget going to debt servicing and military spending and the budget for social services are noticeably lower and arguably insufficient for what the people need.

P357 billion is allocated for interest payments this year, making up 70% of the whole national budget. The military budget increased from 104.7 billion to 107.9 billion this year. Also, 39.5 billion is allocated for Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) – the notorious dole-out answer of the government on poverty. CCT funds were only 10.9 billion last 2010 and 29.2 billion this year.

In stark contrast, the budget for social services is on the decline. Despite a seeming increase in the Education budget from more than 200 billion to 238.8 billion this year, the 30 billion increase will mainly go for Personal Services — not as an exercise of political will, but an automatic increase mandated by the law. This budget proposal for education is way below the 6% recommendation of the United Nations and is grossly insufficient to address the shortages in books, chairs, rooms and teachers.

Moreover, the Universal Kindergarten program needs P18 billion to hire teachers for the 2.3 million 5-year old kids but the government allotted only 1.9 billion for this. The Aquino government targets to build only 45,231 classrooms out of the 152,000 shortage. Only 13,000 new teachers will be hired despite the need for 103,000.

The Aquino government also decided to slash the budget of hospitals and social services. The P44.4 billion allocated for health services is far from the P90 billion actually needed for the people’s health needs.

In essence, while the government allocates increasing budget for debt payment and military, it is unwilling to spend for education and health. This only shows the kind of orientation the government wants the national budget to take – a budget that is anti-people because of systematically neglecting social services which they should provide for its citizens.

To protest about this dire situation and to call on the government to increase the budget for basic social services like education, health and housing, different organizations from different sectors like KABATAAN Partylist and ACT Teacher’s Partylistwill hold a press conference on Friday, September 16, at UP Baguio Galeriya Kordilyera. After the press conference, a symbolic t-shirt cutting activity will be done to signify Pnoy’s budget cut on social services and call on to stop these cuts.

Then on September 26, join us as we conduct a trooping among the offices of our Congressmen all over the region. This aims to present the initial signatures gathered under the “A Hundred Thousand Signature Campaign against Budget Cuts” launched last August 25 and will continue until December 01 all over the Cordillera region. Also, we aim to earn the support of the Congressmen in lobbying for a higher subsidy for basic socials services.

 We invite all members of the media to cover this event. Thank you!


For Reference:

Ivan Emil Labayne, 09268105915

CEG Baguio-Benguet

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