Thursday, April 05, 2007


Two left-wing peasant leaders, Arthur Orpilla and Dionisio Battad, missing since last week, were found dead and stuffed into garbage bags on a northern Philippine riverbank Wednesday, police said. The two, both 50 years old, are reportedly from Bagunot village in Baggao, Cagayan. Orpilla's body was found with multiple stab wounds, while remains of Battad had gun shot wounds.

Vendors found the bodies beside the Cagayan River in Lal-lo town, about 30 kilometers from Baggao municipality where soldiers had allegedly abducted them on March 27, said National Peasant Movement (KMP) spokesman Carl Ala.
Ala said KMP members have been put on a military list of suspected supporters of the underground Communist party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's army, which has a strong presence in Cagayan, about 380 kilometers north of Manila.

He said more than 60 KMP leaders have been killed since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office in 2001 and ordered an intensified counterinsurgency campaign by the military.

An article in the Anglican Journal reports a five-member delegation of Filipino church leaders and human rights advocates traveling across Canada says since 2001 more than 800 church workers, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, labour organizers, peasant leaders and heads of political organizations have been killed, reportedly by police and military agents of the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“I have been going around telling my story, but mine is only one case,” said Dr. Constancio Claver, a medical doctor serving indigenous communities in Northern Luzon and one member of the delegation in Canada, who survived an assassination attempt that killed his wife in 2006. Dr. Claver is a leader of the political group, Bayan Muna (Country First), which has been branded by the Philippine military as a communist front. Dr. Claver, who sustained three gunshot wounds, has been unable to continue his practice following serious injury to his left arm. “I’m also now without a home. I’ve had to move around constantly and clandestinely since the death threats have continued,” he told a gathering in Toronto jointly organized by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund of the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and Kairos, an ecumenical peace and justice coalition.

Another delegation member Rev. Joe Dizon, chair of Kairos-Philippines and director of the Workers’ Assistance Centre, talked about how trade unions are “under siege,” following President Macapagal-Arroyo’s statement in 2005 that workers who demand labour rights “are terrorizing foreign investors.”

The article below comes from the Gulf Times.

Activists found dead in Cagayan

MANILA: Two leftist activists missing since last week in the northern Philippines were found dead yesterday, while another activist was abducted just outside the capital, police said.

The bodies of Arthur Orpilla and Dionisio Battad were found near a river in Lallo town in Cagayan province, 390km north of Manila, yesterday morning.

Police said the two victims, members of the leftist Peasant Movement of the Philippines, had been missing since March 27.

Colleagues said the two men were allegedly abducted by soldiers while they were campaigning for a leftist group vying for seats in the House of Representatives in the May elections.

Chief Superintendent Geary Barias, head of a police task force on extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, said he would travel to Cagayan today to oversee the investigation into the killing.

“I have mobilised all resources and personnel of the regional task force to lead the investigation into the death of the two peasant group members,” he said.

On Tuesday evening, six gunmen abducted a local leader of an urban poor group in Dasmarinas town in Cavite province, just south of Manila.

Lourdes Rubrico, 62, was attending a neighbourhood prayer reading when the gunmen seized her at gunpoint, according to Chief Superintendent Nicasio Radovan.

Radovan said he has formed a team to investigate the abduction.

The Philippine government has recently been under fire for its failure to put a stop to a wave of attacks against political activists in the country.

More than 350 activists have been killed, while more than 180 others were victims of forced disappearances in the Philippines since 2001, according to local human rights group Karapatan

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