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Human Rights Situation in Cagayan Valley

Military atrocities remains rampant in Cagayan Valley. The Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and para-military groups continues to harass, maim, inflict physical and psychological harm to countless peasants, youth, church workers and ordinary citizens of Cagayan Valley. They provide security services to establishments and business interests of national/local politicians and businessmen. They have become the instrument in implementing land grabbing activities in the region.

As a glaring example, the Provincial Government of Isabela signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the 5th Infantry Division to provide "security" to the Cassava Plantation. Peasants opposing the project are harassed by military personnel. 

KARAPATAN - Cagayan Valley, an alliance of human rights organizations in the region continues to monitor and report the human rights situation in the area.

Most Recent Human Rights Violation

Military personnel from the 205th Brigade, 5th Infantry Division based in Echague, Isabela are illegally detaining five suspected New People's Army combatants. Allegedly caught after an encounter in Quirino Province last November 10, 2003, no case have been filed against the suspected NPA's. This is a clear violation of their rights against detention without a case filed within 36 hours.

Reports reaching Taripnong said that two other suspected NPAs are being held incommunicado and are being tortured in clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law agreed upon by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Another recent human rights violation happened when a hacking incident involving peasant leader Joey Javier, chairperson of Cagimungan by elements of the Special Operations Team (SOT) of the 5th Infantry Division last July 6, 2003. This special military unit is headed by Capt. George Domingo, who has consistently announced through the media that Cagimunang and its leaders are members of the revolutionary underground movement, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army. Capt. Domingo, for the past four months was laying the ground for the eventual summary execution of the leaders of the peasant organization.

Cagimungan is the provincial chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines). They are instrumental in exposing military atrocities in the province of Cagayan and is campaigning for the removal of military camps in their area.

A case was recently filed with the Municipal Trial Court in the Municipality of Baggao in Cagayan and with the Commission on Human Rights.