Advocacy

In its efforts to involve the youth in the call for peace and CARHRIHL, SUlong created the PEACEtahan 2008 campaign, a year-long series of activities including a poster/infomercial/songwriting and music video contest. PEACEtahan aims to develop advocacy materials for and by the youth, giving us a glimpse into their hopes and ambitions for a peaceful nation, a nation where basic human rights and the rights of civilians even at wartime are respected.

The Awards Night was held on April 19, 6 p.m. at the UP Film Center, with performances by Imago, Bayang Barrios, Reggae Mistress, Teatro Kolehiyo ng Miriam with Pinay and Jeepney Joyride.

Rommel Ramota won for his poster Wall of Peace, Roxanne Paraguison for her infomercial CARHRIHL, tied with John Chris Crisostomo’s Lakad Kabataan, Purebliss for their song Pilipinas, and Lilcoli for his music video Kabataan.

For the whole PEACEtahan story, complete with photos, videos, and the complete entries to the contest, visit the Sulong Youth Network blog.

Sulong CARHRIHL, in partnership with Pathways Production and with the support of the Government of Norway, produced 18 Tikada infomercials this year. These three-minute radio spiels were aired nationwide on Radio Mindanao Network in the first two months of 2006, during Radyo Pitlag’s time slot (Monday-Friday, 6:00-6:30 pm). The Tikada infomercials tackle several topics including the causes and impact of armed conflict on civilian communities, the need to observe and respect human rights and international humanitarian law, the importance of peace-building efforts and the active involvement of the actors for peace. Several spiels address specific issues like the use of landmines and child soldiers.

Education Officer of Sulong CARHRIHL

nzchrThe second day of the workshop started with a audio-visual prayer. The morning activity for the day was facilitated by Ms. Cathy Cerillo, Education Officer of Sulong CARHRIHL. The activity was the modified war games in line for the first topic of the day on humanitarian protection in relation to International Humanitarian Law. The activity was able to highlight the rules of war, effects of armed conflict to communities and how communities can assert their rights.

The learning session for the morning was the topic on humanitarian protection in relation to International Humanitarian Law with Mr. Leonilo Lagasca of IHL Committee of PNRC. His session focused on the primary principles of IHL of protection, distinction and limitation. He also shared some experiences they have on Red Cross on humanitarian protection which was appreciated by the participants. He also shared the programs of Red Cross on conflict affected communities as well as in other areas. The discussion was fruitful especially for the youth partners in the regions.

The second topic for the day was on peace education and peace-building which was discussed by Ms. Jayme Uy, Spokesperson, Generation Peace Network and Staff of Center for Peace Education – Miriam College. The discussion started with series of activities to establish the definition of peace and conflict in the participant’s point of view. After the activities, Ms. Uy stressed on the difference of positive and negative peace as well as the levels of peace. She also discussed on the nature of conflict and aggression, on how it can bring negative and positive impact to the lives of the people. Moreover, she also dwelled on defining peace education and how it can change consciousness towards meaningful changes in the society. As GenPeace Spokesperson, she introduced the peace quilt project of GenPeace and encouraged the network to join in this endeavor which stirred interest to the group.

Lunch break was late on this day and so the session for the afternoon started late. Unluckily, the next speaker was also late for the session. Nonetheless, instead of the panel forum, Mr. Romy Halabasso gave an input discussion on the peace processes the government is spearheading. He contextualized his discussion on making the participants understand peace as a national agenda and how the national policy on peace have been shaped over the years. He also discussed the guiding principles of peace process and the development of the six paths to peace as framework for the endeavor for the peace process. Afterwards, he shared the current status of the negotiations and dialogues being held with armed groups in the country. He also provided the group with the programs and projects OPAPP is handling for developmental aid for peace.

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In the late afternoon, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Lead Convener of Sulong CARHRIHL proceeded with her participative approach in discussing the peace process. She posted several questions which includes defining peace process, how young people can help and what actions are to be taken. At the end of the sharing session, the group agreed to write a manifesto on young people’s view on the peace process and commitment to call for resumption of peace talks.

On the late afternoon, the participants were divided into three learning groups for the concurrent session on creative expressions. The topics for the concurrent sessions involved basic theater workshop, music writing and doodle arts. At the end of the sessions, the participants were able to come up with their presentation, musical output and art works. Due to time constraint and logistical problems encountered that day, the presentations was postponed for the other days but was not pursued because of the intensive planning session. Thus, it was treated as a personal learning especially in expressing peace and human rights concerns.

The day started with a group activity prepared by the secretariat. The groups were treated to an egg hunting activity which they enjoyed. The groups collected the eggs and answered questions on topics discussed in the previous days.

The discussion for the day started with a forum on CARHRIHL and updates on the agreement presented by Gen. Lina Sarmiento, member of the GRP Monitoring Committee. She represented the GRP MC in behalf of Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria, Chairperson of the GRP MC. The discussion focused on the historical background of which led to the signing of the agreement of the two parties. She stressed on the mandate provided by the national peace policy of the government and preceded on the general overview of the agreement focusing on the human rights and international humanitarian law principles and provisions. She also discussed the mechanisms of the Joint Monitoring Committee to address the violations and to seek retribution and justice.

The strategic planning started with Ms. Joeven Reyes facilitating the conflict, peace and stakeholders analysis in order to map-out the conflict and peace situation of young people and how other stakeholders can affect changes for peace-building. The group used the COPAR peace analysis lens for the workshop. The participants were grouped and worked on the workshop with the following results: :

The groups presented their analysis and intently discussed their issues and concerns.

Afterwards, Mr. Wilson Requez facilitated the assessment of the peace and conflict dynamics workshop. It was done to aid in the formal planning session of the activity.

Due to lack of time, the session for the day was put on hold and the groups worked on their workshops even after the session hours.

Documentation and Monitoring

One of the network’s primary objectives is the monitoring of the compliance of the two signatory parties to the CARHRIHL. Sulong CARHRIHL will document violations by both parties of human rights and international humanitarian law with its partner organizations, particularly the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), with whom Sulong CARHRIHL collaborated in 2007 to develop documentation templates and a database of documented cases.

Through the documentation and monitoring program, Sulong CARHRIHL aims to:

Develop the database as a source for alternative reports on human rights and international humanitarian law violations for comparison with the periodic reports the government submits to the international community.
Formulate appropriate interventions or actions for the victims of CARHRIHL violations. Though SULONG CARHRIHL will not file cases on behalf of the victims, we will help them seek protection and justice.
Use the data gathered for advocacy, education and policy intervention in order to prevent further violations of the CARHRIHL.

Networking

Public forums and/or consultations are held in affected communities and/or with prospective partners in different provinces, especially those affected by the armed conflict.  In these events, the network and its work are introduced to participants.  The local situation or specific concerns of the community or organization are discussed.  Communities and partner organizations are encouraged to undertake advocacy, preventive action and monitoring of the observance of CARHRIHL.  Activities that will address violations or respond to pressing concerns are planned.

The need to hold such consultations was identified in the network’s National Strategizing workshop held in February 2006.  Consultations were identified as a means to build new partnerships to expand the peace and human rights constituency nationwide and develop the capacity to respond to the impact of the armed conflict.
Special Projects

Sulong CARHRIHL builds partnership in Arakan and Davao (Miriam Coronel Ferrer)

Sulong CARHRIHL’s involvement in Arakan, North Cotabato began in February 2006 when Bae Magdalena Suhat, a Manobo-Matitsalog tribal leader, requested assistance to facilitate the return of seven families to their communities. The heads of the seven families applied to join the government’s Citizens Armed Forces Geographic Unit (CAFGU).  Although they were not recruited, they feared retaliation from the New People’s Army (NPA). Thus, they decided to stay in Kidapawan for the time being.

Bae Magdalena was part of the delegation of the Mindanao People’s Peace Movement (MPPM), which visited the UP CIDS Program on Peace, Democratization and Human Rights. A case documentation was made by Sulong Secretariat chair Jovy Reyes, and arrangements were made to hold a consultation in Kidapawan.

Uphold IHL and CARHRIHL, Talk Peace

arakanbmp3Our nation has no lack of red-letter days. Each year we commemorate a mixed bag of everything from cities and harvests to mothers and martyrs – and without fail, groups and personalities jump at appropriate occasions, campaigning for every imaginable pet cause.

On other days we laud heroes for their valor and prowess at battle; today we look at the ravages of armed conflict and remember that even wars must have rules and limits. International Humanitarian Law – the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 – recognizes the damage wrought by armed conflict and provides for the protection of its victims. IHL sets restrictions for the conduct of war and distinction between military targets and civilian persons and objects. In 1977, an additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions extended protection to victims of internal armed conflict. IHL Day was first celebrated in the Philippines in 1999 to raise public consciousness on IHL.

Today, then, is such an occasion to jump at.

Sulong CARHRIHL takes this opportunity to call for warring parties, particularly the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front to uphold and observe their decade-old Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

For even with the CARHRIHL, the prolonged armed hostilities between government forces and the New People’s Army has brought about civilian casualties, displacement of communities, destruction of livelihood and staggered economic growth.

Sulong CARHRIHL appeals to both parties to suspend offensive military operations and resume negotiations for the sake of the civilian population, so that a just and peaceful settlement of the armed conflict may be reached.

In these times where collateral wounds of war are seemingly taken for granted, we remind the government and the National Democratic Front of the value of human life and dignity, be the bearer civilian or armed. May it be that the heroism we remember this day be that of those who “faithfully comply” with the rules of war.

The CARHRIHL

Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, including the executive department and its agencies, hereinafter referred to as the GRP

AND

THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES, including the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), hereinafter referred to as the NDFP
Hereinafter referred to as “the Parties“,


PREAMBLE

RECOGNIZING that respect for human rights and international humanitarian law is of crucial importance and urgent necessity in laying the ground for a just and lasting peace,
CONSIDERING that a comprehensive agreement on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law should take into account the current human rights situation in the Philippines and the historical experience of the Filipino people.
AFFIRMING that the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law are universally applicable,
ACKNOWLEDGING that the prolonged armed conflict in the Philippines necessitates the application of the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law,
REAFFIRMING their continuing commitment to the aforesaid principles and their application,
REALIZING the necessity and significance of assuming separate duties and responsibilities for upholding, protecting and promoting the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law,
UPHOLDING and complying with the mutually acceptable principles as well as the common goals and objectives in The Hague Joint Declaration of September 1, 1992, the Breukelen Joint Statement of June 14, 1994 and pertinent joint agreements hitherto signed, and
FULLY AWARE of the need for effective mechanisms and measures for upholding, protecting and promoting the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law in a comprehensive agreement,
SOLEMNLY ENTER without reservation into this Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.


PART I
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES

Article 1
The Parties are governed by the framework of holding peace negotiations under mutually acceptable principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice and under no precondition that negates the character and purpose of peace negotiations, as stipulated in The Hague Joint Declaration (Paragraph 4) and reaffirmed in the Breukelen Joint Statement (No. 7 of II) and subsequent agreements.

Article 2
The Parties uphold the principles of mutuality and reciprocity in the conduct of the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration. The Parties likewise affirm the need to assume separate duties and responsibilities in accordance with the letter and intent of this Agreement.

Article 3
The Parties realize the need for a comprehensive accord on human rights and international humanitarian law based on realities involving violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law.

Article 4
The Parties recognize that fundamental individual and collective freedoms and human rights in the political, social, economic and cultural spheres can only be realized and flourish under conditions of national and social freedoms of the people.

Article 5
The Parties affirm the need to promote, expand and guarantee the people’s democratic rights and freedoms, especially of the toiling masses of workers and peasants.

Article 6
The Parties are aware that the prolonged armed conflict in the Philippines necessitates the application of the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law and the faithful compliance therewith by both Parties.

Article 7
The Parties hereby forge this Agreement in order to affirm their constant and continuing mutual commitment to respect human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law and hereby recognize either Party’s acts of good intention to be bound by and to comply with the principles of international humanitarian law.


PART II
BASES, SCOPE AND APPLICABILITY

Article 1
This Agreement is meant to meet the needs arising from the concrete conditions of the Filipino people concerning violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law, and to find principled ways and means of rendering justice to all the victims of such violations.

Article 2
The objectives of this Agreement are: (a) to guarantee the protection of human rights to all Filipinos under all circumstances, especially the workers, peasants and other poor people; (b) to affirm and apply the principles of international humanitarian law in order to protect the civilian population and individual civilians, as well as persons who do not take direct part or who have ceased to take part in the armed hostilities, including persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict; (c) to establish effective mechanisms and measures for realizing, monitoring, verifying and ensuring compliance with the provisions of this Agreement; and, (d) to pave the way for comprehensive agreements on economic, social and political reforms that will ensure the attainment of a just and lasting peace.

Article 3
The Parties shall uphold, protect and promote the full scope of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. In complying with such obligation due consideration shall be accorded to the respective political principles and circumstances of the Parties.

Article 4
It is understood that the universally applicable principles and standards of human rights and of international humanitarian law contemplated in this Agreement include those embodied in the instruments signed by the Philippines and deemed to be mutually applicable to and acceptable by both Parties.

Article 5
This Agreement shall be applicable in all cases involving violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law committed against persons, families and groups affiliated with either Party and all civilians and persons not directly taking part in the hostilities, including persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict. It shall likewise be applicable to all persons affected by the armed conflict, without distinction of any kind based on sex, race, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth or any other similar condition or status.


PART III
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Article 1
In the exercise of their inherent rights, the Parties shall adhere to and be bound by the principles and standards embodied in international instruments on human rights.

Article 2
This Agreement seeks to confront, remedy and prevent the most serious human rights violations in terms of civil and political rights, as well as to uphold, protect and promote the full scope of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including:

  • The right to self-determination of the Filipino nation by virtue of which the people should fully and freely determine their political status, pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and dispose of their natural wealth and resources for their own welfare and benefit towards genuine national independence, democracy, social justice and development.
  • The inherent and inalienable right of the people to establish a just, democratic and peaceful society, to adopt effective safeguards against, and to oppose oppression and tyranny similar to that of the past dictatorial regime.
  • The right of the victims and their families to seek justice for violations of human rights, including adequate compensation or indemnification, restitution and rehabilitation, and effective sanctions and guarantees against repetition and impunity.
  • The right to life, especially against summary executions (salvagings), involuntary disappearances, massacres and indiscriminate bombardments of communities, and the right not to be subjected to campaigns of incitement to violence against one’s person.
  • The right to liberty, particularly against unwarranted and unjustified arrest and detention and to effectively avail of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
  • The individual and collective right of the people and of communities to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and to effective safeguards of these rights against any illegal operations by GRP agencies.
  • The right not to be subjected to physical or mental torture, solitary confinement, rape and sexual abuse, and other inhuman, cruel o degrading treatment, detention and punishment.
  • The right not to be held in involuntary servitude or to perform forced or compulsory labor.
  • The right to substantive and procedural due process, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and against self-incrimination.
  • The right to equal protection of the law and against any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, belief, age, physical condition or civil status and against any incitement to such discrimination.
  • The right to freedom of thought and expression, freedom of conscience, political and religious beliefs and practices and the right not to be punished or held accountable in the exercise of these rights.
  • The right to free speech, press, association and assembly, and to seek redress of grievances.
  • The right to privacy of communication and correspondence, especially against intercepting, pilfering and opening of mail matters and conducting illegal surveillance and information gathering through electronic and other means.
  • The right to free choice of domicile, movement and travel within the country and abroad, to seek asylum, migration and exile, and against travel restrictions for political reasons or objectives.
  • The right not to be subjected to forced evacuations, food and other forms of economic blockades and indiscriminate bombings, shellings, strafing, gunfire and the use of landmines.
  • The right to information on matters of public concern and access to records, documents and papers pertaining to acts, transactions or decisions of persons in authority.
  • The right to universal suffrage irrespective of sex, race, occupation, social origin, property, status, education, ideological and political conviction, and religious belief.
  • The right to own property and the means of production and consumption that are obtained through land reform, honest labor and entrepreneurship, skill, inventiveness and intellectual merit and to use such means for the common good.
  • The right to gainful employment, humane working and living conditions, livelihood and job security, to work and equal pay, to form unions, to strike and participate in the policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and interests, and the right not to be denied these rights due to nationality, creed, minority status, gender or sexual preference, or civil status.
  • The right to universal and free elementary and secondary education and access to basic services and health care.
  • The right to freely engage in scientific research, technological invention, literary and artistic creations and other cultural pursuits.
  • The right to form a marital union and to found a family, and to ensure family communications and reunions.
  • The equal right of women in all fields of endeavor and in all spheres of political, economic, cultural, social and domestic life and to their emancipation.
  • The right of children and the disabled to protection, care and a home, especially against physical and mental abuse, prostitution, drugs, forced labor, homelessness, and other similar forms of oppression and exploitation.
  • The existing rights of the minority communities in the Philippines to autonomy, to their ancestral lands and the natural resources in these lands, to engage in and benefit from affirmative action, to their participation and representation in the economic, political and social life and institutions, and to cultural and all round development.

Article 3
The Parties decry all violations and abuses of human rights. They commend the complainants or plaintiffs in all successful human rights proceedings. They encourage all victims of violations and abuses of human rights or their surviving families to come forward with their complaints and evidence.

Article 4
The persons liable for violations and abuses of human rights shall be subject to investigation and, if evidence warrants, to prosecution and trial. The victims or their survivors shall be indemnified. All necessary measures shall be undertaken to remove the conditions for violations and abuses of human rights and to render justice to and indemnify the victims.

Article 5
The Parties hereby respect and support the rights of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, taking into consideration the final judgment of the United States Federal Court System in the Human Rights Litigation Against Marcos; Senate Resolution 1640; Swiss Supreme Court Decision of 10 December 1997; and pertinent provisions of the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1984 U.N. Convention Against Torture.
Should there be any settlement, the GRP shall also execute with the duly authorized representatives of the victims a written instrument to implement this Article and guide the satisfaction of the claims of said victims, with regard to the amount and mode of compensation, which shall be the most direct and quickest possible to every victim or heir in accordance with the relevant Swiss Supreme Court decisions.
In case of any settlement outside of U.S. jurisdiction, all or the majority of said victims shall determine their representation by power of attorney.

Article 6
The GRP shall abide by its doctrine laid down in People vs. Hernandez (99 Phil. 515, July 18, 1956), as further elaborated in People vs. Geronimo (100 Phil. 90, October 13, 1956), and shall forthwith review the cases of all prisoners or detainees who have been charged, detained, or convicted contrary to this doctrine, and shall immediately release them.

Article 7
The GRP shall work for the immediate repeal of any subsisting repressive laws, decrees, or other executive issuances and for this purpose, shall forthwith review, among others, the following: General Orders 66 and 67 (authorizing checkpoints and warrant less searches); Presidential Decree 1866 as amended (allowing the filing of charges of illegal possession of firearms with respect to political offenses); presidential Decree 169 as amended (requiring physicians to report cases of patients with gunshot wounds to the police/military); Batas Pambansa 880 (restricting and controlling the right to peaceful assembly); Executive Order 129 (authorizing the demolition of urban poor communities); Executive Order 264 (legalizing the Citizens’ Armed Force Geographical Units); Executive Order 272 (lengthening the allowable periods of detention); Memorandum Circular 139 (allowing the imposition of food blockades); and Administrative Order Nº 308 (establishing the national identification system).
Upon the effectivity of this Agreement, the GRP shall, as far as practicable, not invoke these repressive laws, decrees and orders to circumvent or contravene the provisions of this Agreement.

Article 8
The GRP shall review its jurisprudence on warrant less arrests (Umil vs. Ramos), checkpoints (Valmonte vs. De Villa), saturation drives (Guazon vs. De Villa), warrant less searches (Posadas vs. Court of Appeals), criminalization of political offenses (Bayloisis vs. Chavez), rendering moot and academic the remedy of habeas corpus upon the subsequent filing of charges (Ilagan vs. Ponce-Enrile), and other similar cases, and shall immediately move for adoption of appropriate remedies consistent with the objectives of this and the immediately preceding Article.
Upon the effectivity of this Agreement, the GRP shall, as far as practicable, not invoke theses decisions to circumvent or contravene the provisions of this Agreement.

Article 9
The Parties shall take concrete steps to protect the lives, livelihood, and properties of the people against incursions from mining, real state, logging, tourism or other similar projects or programs.

Article 10
The Parties shall promote the basic collective and individual rights of workers, peasants, fisher folk, urban poor, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, women, youth, children and the rest of the people and shall take concrete steps to stop and prevent the violations of human rights, ensure that those found guilty of such violations are punished, and provide for the indemnification, rehabilitation and restitution of the victims.

Article 11
The GRP shall respect the basic rights guaranteed by the International Labor Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and the standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO) pertaining to job tenure, wage and living condition, trade union rights and medical and social insurance of all workers, right of women workers to maternity benefits and against discrimination vis-à-vis male workers, right against child labor, and the rights of migrant workers abroad in accordance with the International Covenant on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Article 12
The GRP shall respect the rights of peasants to land tenure and to own through land reform the land that they till, the ancestral rights of the indigenous peoples in the areas classified as public domain and their rights against racial and ethnic discrimination, the right of the poor homesteaders or settlers and the indigenous people to the areas of public domain on which they live and work and the right of poor fisher folk to fish in the waters of the Philippines.
The GRP shall forthwith review its laws or other issuances pertinent to the rights mentioned in this and the immediately preceding Article and shall move for the immediate repeal of those found violative of such rights.

Article 13
The Parties shall promote and carry out campaigns of human rights education, land reform, higher production, health and sanitation and others that are of social benefit to the people. They shall give the utmost attention to land reform as the principal measure for attaining democracy and social justice.


PART IV
RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW

Article 1
In the exercise of their inherent rights, the Parties to the armed conflict shall adhere to and be bound by the generally accepted principles and standards of international humanitarian law.

Article 2
These principles and standards apply to the following persons:

  • civilians or those taking no active part in the hostilities;
  • members of armed forces who have surrendered or laid down their arms;
  • those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds of any other cause;
  • persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict; and,
  • relatives and duly authorized representatives of above-named persons.

Article 3
The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the persons enumerated in the preceding Article 2:

  • violence to life and person, particularly killing or causing injury, being subjected to physical or mental torture, mutilation, corporal punishment, cruel or degrading treatment and all acts of violence and reprisals, including hostage-taking, and acts against the physical well-being, dignity, political convictions and other human rights;
  • holding anyone responsible for an act that she/he has not committed and punishing anyone without complying with all the requisites of due process;
  • requiring persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to disclose information other than their identity;
  • desecration of the remains of those who have died in the course of the armed conflict or while under detention, and breach of duty to tender immediately such remains to their families or to give them decent burial;
  • failure to report the identity, personal condition and circumstances of a person deprived of his/her liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to the Parties to enable them to perform their duties and responsibilities under this Agreement and under international humanitarian law;
  • denial of the right of relatives and duly authorized representatives of a person deprived of liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to inquire whether a person is in custody or under detention, the reasons for the detention, under what circumstances the person in custody is being detained, and to request directly or through mutually acceptable intermediaries for his/her orderly and expeditious release;
  • practices that cause or allow the forcible evacuations or forcible reconcentration of civilians, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand; the emergence and increase of internally displaced families and communities, and the destruction of the lives and property of the civilian population;
  • maintaining, supporting and tolerating paramilitary groups such as armed religious fanatical groups, vigilante groups, private armed groups of businessmen, landlords and politicians, and private security agencies which are being used in land and labor disputes and the incursions in Article 9, Part III of this Agreement; and,
  • allowing the participation of civilian or civilian officials in military field operations and campaigns.

Article 4
The principles and standards of international humanitarian law shall likewise apply and protect the rights of persons, entities or objects involved or affected in any of the cases or situations cited hereunder.

  • Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives, dignity, human rights, political convictions and their moral and physical integrity and shall be protected in all circumstances and treated humanely without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, faith, sex, birth, social standing or any other similar criteria.
  • The wounded and the sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the armed conflict which has them in its custody or responsibility.
  • Neutral persons or entities and medical personnel, including persons of humanitarian and/or medical organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), shall be protected and respected. The establishments, facilities, transport and equipments of these persons, entities and organizations; objects bearing the emblem of the red cross and the flag of peaceful intention; and historic monuments, cultural objects and places of worship shall likewise be protected.
  • Civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack. They shall likewise be protected against indiscriminate aerial bombardment, strafing, artillery fire, mortar fire, arson, bulldozing and other similar forms of destroying lives and property, from the use of explosives as well as the stockpiling near or in their midst, and the use of chemical and biological weapons.
  • Civilians shall have the right to demand appropriate disciplinary actions against abuses arising from the failure of the Parties to the armed conflict to observe the principles and standards of international humanitarian law.
  • All persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict shall be treated humanely, provided with adequate food and drinking water, and be afforded safeguards as regards to health and hygiene, and be confined in a secure place. Sufficient information shall be made available concerning persons who have been deprived of their liberty. On humanitarian or other reasonable grounds, such persons deprived of liberty shall be considered for safe release.
  • The ICRC and other humanitarian and/or medical entities shall be granted facilitation and assistance to enable them to care for the sick and the wounded and to undertake their humanitarian missions and activities.
  • Personnel and facilities of schools, the medical profession, religious institutions and places of worship, voluntary evacuation centers, programs and projects of relief and development shall not be the target of any attack. The persons of said entities shall be guaranteed their safety.
  • Every possible measure shall be taken, without delay, to search for and collect the wounded, sick and missing persons and to protect them from any ham and ill treatment, to ensure their adequate care and to search for the dead, prevent despoliation and mutilation and to dispose of them with respect.

Article 5
The Parties decry all violations of the principles of international humanitarian law. They encourage all victims of such violations or their surviving families to come forward with their complaints and evidence.

Article 6
The persons liable for violations of the principles of international humanitarian law shall be subject to investigation and, if evidence warrants, to prosecution and trial. The victims or their survivors shall be indemnified. All necessary measures shall be undertaken to remove the conditions for such violations and to render justice to and indemnify the victims.

Article 7
The GRP shall review and undertake to change policies, laws, programs, projects, campaigns, and practices that cause or allow the forcible evacuation and reconcentration of civilians, the emergence and increase of internally displaced families and communities and the destruction of the lives and property of the civilian population.

Article 8
The GRP shall continue to review its policy or practice of creating, maintaining, supporting, or allowing paramilitary forces like the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) and Civilian Volunteers’ Organizations (CVOs) or any other similar groups.

Article 9
Internally displaced families and communities shall have the right to return to their places of abode and livelihood, to demand all possible assistance necessary to restore them to their normal lives and to be indemnified for damages suffered due to injuries and loss of lives.

Article 10
The Parties shall provide special attention to women and children to ensure their physical and moral integrity. Children shall not be allowed to take part in hostilities.

Article 11
Medical, religious and other humanitarian organizations and their personnel shall not carry out other tasks inimical to any of the Parties. Neither shall they be compelled to carry out tasks which are not compatible with their humanitarian tasks. Under no circumstances shall any person be punished for having carried out medical activities compatible with the principles of medical ethics, regardless of whoever is benefiting from such medical activities.

Article 12
Civilian population shall have the right to be protected against the risks and dangers posed by the presence of military camps in urban centers and other populated areas.

Article 13
The Parties recognize the right of the people to demand the reduction of military expenditures and the rechanneling of savings from such reduction towards social, economic and cultural development which shall be given the highest priority.

Article 14
The Parties shall promote and carry out campaigns of education on international humanitarian law, especially among the people involved in the armed conflict and in areas affected by such conflict.


PART V
JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE

Article 1
The Parties shall form a Joint Monitoring Committee that shall monitor the implementation of this Agreement.

Article 2
The Committee shall be composed of three members to be chosen by the GRP Panel and three members to be chosen by the NDFP Panel. Each Party shall nominate two representatives of human rights organizations and to sit in the committee as observers and to do so at the pleasure of the nominating Party. The Committee shall have co-chairpersons who shall serve as chief representatives of the Parties and shall act as moderators of meetings.

Article 3
The co-chairpersons shall receive complaints of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and all pertinent information and shall initiate requests or recommendations for the implementation of this Agreement. Upon its approval by consensus, the Committee shall request the investigation of a complaint by the Party concerned and make recommendations. By consensus, it shall make reports and recommendations on its work to the Parties.
Meetings of the Committee shall be every three months and as often as deemed necessary by the co-chairpersons due to an urgent issue or complaint. The meetings shall be held in the Philippines or in any other venue agreed upon by the Parties.

Article 4
Members of the Committee and the observers shall be entitled to the safety and immunity guarantees stipulated by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

Article 5
The Committee shall create a joint secretariat that shall provide staff support. Each Party shall nominate an equal number of members in the joint secretariat who shall serve at the pleasure of the nominating Party.

Article 6
The Committee shall be organized upon the effectivity of this Agreement and shall continue to exist until dissolved by either Party by sending to the other Party a written notice of dissolution which shall take effect thirty days after official receipt. Dissolution of the Committee shall not mean the abandonment of rights and duties by any Party under this Agreement and under the principles and standards of human rights and international humanitarian law.


PART VI
FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 1
The Parties shall continue to assume separate duties and responsibilities for upholding, protecting and promoting human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law in accordance with their respective political principles, organizations and circumstances until they shall have reached final resolution of the armed conflict.

Article 2
The Parties recognize the applicability of the principles of human rights and principles of international humanitarian law and the continuing force of obligations arising from these principles.

Article 3
Nothing in the provisions of this Agreement nor in its application shall affect the political and legal status of the Parties in accordance with the Hague Joint Declaration. Subsequently, this Agreement shall be subject to the Comprehensive Agreements on Political and Constitutional Reforms and on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces. Any reference to the treaties signed by the GRP and to its laws and legal processes in this Agreement shall not in any manner prejudice the political and organizational integrity of the NDFP.

Article 4
The Parties may from time to time review the provisions of this Agreement to determine the need to adopt a supplemental agreement or to modify the provisions hereof as circumstances require.

Article 5
This Agreement shall be signed by the Negotiating Panels and shall take effect upon approval by their respective Principals.

IN WITNESS, we sign this Agreement this 16th day of March 1998 in The Hague, The Netherlands.

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILLIPPINES

  • By: Amb. Howard Q. Dee; Chairpersons, GRP Negotiating Panel
  • Rep. Jose V. Yap, Member
  • Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III, Member
  • Ms. Zenaida H. Pawid, Member

FOR THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • By Luis G. Jalandoni; Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
  • Fidel V. Agcaoili, Member
  • Coni K. Ledesma, Member
  • Asterio B. Palima, Member
  • Jojo s. Magdiwang, Member

WITNESSES:

  • Hon. Jose C. de Venecia. Speaker, House of Representatives GRP
  • Jose MA. Sison. Chief Political Consultant NDFP Negotiating Panel
  • Usec. A. Wilfredo Clemente, DECS, GRP
  • Antonio L. Zumel, Senior Adviser
  • Ms. MA. Carla L. Munsayac, Executive Director GRP Negotiating Panel Secretariat
  • Romeo T. Capulong, General Counsel NDFP Negotiating Panel

Fact finding team probes misencounter

A fact-finding team composed of representatives of the Alab Katipunan and the Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates is scheduled to hold a probe on the reported mis-encounter between Army soldiers and members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade in Brgy. Balabag, Escalante City, on June 16.

AK secretary general Ben Solilapsi said the result of their investigations will be submitted to the Joint Enforcement Monitoring Committee.

The reported mis-encounter between RPA-ABB members and soldiers of the 11th Infantry Battalion led to the death of Romulo Estacio, a worker at the farm of San Enrique Mayor Jilson Tubillara, and the injury of Noli Escalona, another employee of the mayor, and RPA-ABB member Arnel Costamares.

Eight RPA-ABB members who were arrested and disarmed, were later released by the police, but not the high-powered firearms and explosives taken from them.

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The mis-encounter was reportedly triggered by lack of coordination between the military and the RPA-ABB members who entered into peace agreement with the government in year 2000.

Solilapsi said the Local Monitoring Team under the supervision of JEMC will also conduct its own investigation.

A non-government organization calling itself Sulong CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) is now coordinating with NGO’s and people’s organizations, in monitoring human rights violations committed by the government and the New People’s Army in Negros.

Solilapsi said AK gave its commitment to help Sulong CARHRIHL in monitoring human rights violations in Negros Occidental.

Karen Tanada, convenor of Sulong CARHRIHL, yesterday met with representatives of various NGOs and POs in Negros Occidental to establish networking in their mission.

Sulong CARHRIHL as a “third party” to the conflict

The network will maintain its independence and autonomy.

It will not file complaints on behalf of victims but will ensure that human rights victims will have recourse and that the CARHRIHL processes and structures are responsive.

It will campaign for the observance of the CARHRIHL by both parties in order to prevent violations.

Functions of the Network

Sulong CARHRIHL hopes to bring together people, groups, and programs nationwide to achieve its advocacy, prevention, and monitoring goals.

The network shall serve as a coordinative body of these groups and individuals who agree to adopt the objectives and undertake corresponding actions (promotion, documentation, monitoring and fact-finding, responding or assisting HR/IHL victims).

Programs

CARHRIHL Advocacy
HR/IHL Training and Education
HR/IHL and Peace Constituency Building – networking and capacity-building
Implementation and Action-Response – updates on HR/IHL/CARHRIHL and peace situation; special missions/campaigns/task forces; statements; mediation and engagement of the GRP and the NDF; interface with other HR/IHL and peace agencies and initiatives
Organizational Mechanisms

networking and partnership building at different levels with existing groups
unity of purpose, sharing of strategies, and pooling of resources but full respect for the autonomy and integrity of partners
diversity of organizational forms and entry points
Approaches and Strategies

Public awareness – statements, radio programs
Education and norm building – trainings, seminars
Forums/discussions/studies on critical issues and developments  – publication, radio
Research for well-informed intervention
Direct and indirect engagements – letters, statements, dialogues in different levels
Case-specific interventions

Promoting Peace and the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights through Network Building

Sulong CARHRIHL with the support from  the Conflict Prevention and Peace-building Program (CPPB) of GOP-UNDP held a series of initiatives with different IP groups from in different areas in Luzon from Mid-part of 2007 up to January 2010. With the conclusion of this series, the IP Network was born.

Since 2007, efforts have already been made to look into the situations of Indigenous People in Luzon on how they were affected by the armed conflict between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF.  This led to the discussion of how they have responded to their situations and their indigenous ways of resolving conflict and peace-building. The project launched focused in areas such as Tubo-Abra, Porac-Pampanga, Aurora, Bulacan, North Quezon, Camarines Norte, Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental.

Research through interviews, FGDs and validation workshops were conducted to identify their experiences and to share these experiences in different tribes in Luzon. This project became a catalyst for building the initial level of partnership between these groups.

To further respond to their need of building their capacity in peace and human rights advocacy, Sulong CARHRIHL had conducted a series of trainings to IP partners in Luzon. The next step that was taken was to conduct a Documentation and Monitoring Training upon the request of the IP groups.

These trainings were done in Mindoro Oriental, Abra, North Quezon and cluster trainings for Pampanga, Camarines Norte, Bulacan and Aurora. The IP partners in these areas then established the Local Monitoring Teams in different formation, which were able to respond to cases of violations that had happened in the community-level and had submitted reports and complaints at the GRP Monitoring Committee, NCIP and OPAPP.

An Exchange Visit Program was also conducted in 2008 as part of the plan by the 9 IP partners, a program that became a venue wherein they were able to share how conducted peace and CARHRIHL advocacy at the community level and the concrete gains and impact of their advocacy in solving the armed conflict situation in their respective areas. The participants learned the experiences of other tribes in forming each of their organizations and their key roles as leaders, women and youth in solving problems in their community.

As a result of the Exchange Visit Program, the IP partners in Luzon were able to plan the expansion to other IP areas in nearby provinces/municipalities to build their cluster network formation. The partner in Tubo Abra aspired to federate the different tribes in Abra as a result of his learning experience with the Mangyans in Mindoro Occidental.

The consultation program included an orientation of the CARHRIHL, an open forum, situational analysis and discussion of common situations of the different locations, a planning session based on recommendations from the participants, and making group action plans.

The first of series of consultations done with IP groups was last September 15 in Malibcong, Abra was attended by the Vanao, Mabaka and Gubang tribes, barangay officials and health workers from Taripan, Duladulao, Poblacion, Gakab, Binasaran, Mataragan, Pacgued and Buanao), and high school student representatives from Sta. Theresa High School.

The next consultation was held last September 24, 2009 in Lamao, Bucloc, Abra. This consultation was attended by Municipal and Barangay officials, representatives from the Philippine National Police, elders, and from the women sector. This was followed by a consultation with the IP chieftains of Dumagat and barangay councillors from Montalban, Rizal last October 1, 2009.

The last leg of the consultation series were held last October 28 in Botolan, Zambales and last November 16-17, 2009 in Matalahib, Tarlac City which was attended by IPs of Botolan and Capas, Tarlac.

One of the major outputs from this series was the agreement to hold a general assembly among the Indigenous Peoples of Luzon which was consequently done last November 10-11, 2009 in Quezon City. This led to the establishment of the IPNet (Indigenous People’s Network for Ancestral Domain and Peace), the formulation of its Vision, Mission and Goals, the formation of its organizational structure as well as the mapping of their initial activities and action plans and crafting of their proposal.

IPNet is now working on their registration with the SEC with the assistance of the Sulong CARHRIHL network. Their initial plans for 2010 is to promote capacity-building through trainings for the five expansion areas, conduct a general assembly in its five area clusters and to build its network at the local level by tapping other sectoral groups, LGU, local and national government agencies and other service providers.

The opening activity

arakanbmp4The opening activity of the workshop started early the next day with an ecumenical prayer and the singing of the national anthem. Ms. Joeven Reyes, Executive Director of Sulong CARHRIHL formally welcomed the participants to the workshop and stressed importance of the gathering of young people for peace and CARHRIHL Advocacy. She relay the envisioned partnership of the Network with young people by harnessing the potentials and other mechanism already being used by the youth to sustain such partnership.

Afterwards, as per the design of the workshop, the first two days of the thematic workshop was assigned for the introduction and deepening of knowledge on concepts of human rights, sectoral rights and issues, peace, IHL and CARHRIHL through learning sessions and fora. The discussion started with the lecture on deepening understanding of human rights by Atty. Ibarra Gutierrez III, Executive Director of UP Institute of Human Rights. The discussion focused on the historical imperatives which led to the conceptualization of human rights as an assertion of the people. Atty. Gutierrez also provided discussion on the basic concepts of human rights and described contemporary development in human rights theory and practice. Furthermore, he delved on the concept of universality of human rights as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nonetheless, he also posed questions on operationalization of human rights as it is individualistic in nature and western in orientation.

The next learning session was a workshop on building protective environment for children especially those involved in armed conflict and how CARHRIHL can be used to protect their rights. The learning session was facilitated by Mr. Marco Puzon, National Coordinator of Protect CIAC. The session started with an activity designed to show the situation of children and how their rights are violated. After the activity, Mr. Puzon explained the activity and its relation to the topic. The participants were introduced to the six grave violations of the rights of children as well as on children’s rights violated under the premise of CARHRIHL. Moreover, Mr, Puzon stressed the need to advocate for children’s rights and presented possible avenues for advocacy of children’s rights.

Before lunch time, the each group was asked to list down rights of women at times of peace and uring armed conflict. All of the groups posted their list after 15 minutes and headed for lunch break. After the lunch break, the session on women and girl’s rights was facilitated by Ms. Joeven Reyes, Executive Director of Sulong CARHRIHL. The discussion focused on the basic rights of women and girls at times of peace and during armed conflict. She introduced to the group the UN Resolution 1325 and the CEDAW as international instruments to secure women and girl’s rights. Moreover, she also presented the context of CARHRIHL in relation to UN Resolution 1325 and CEDAW. The discussion focused on the rights enshrined in the three document and highlighted the need for women to assert such rights. At the end of her discussion, the earlier workshop was checked to validate the rights listed by the participants.

Due to late notice of the speaker from NCIP, the session on understanding the marginalization of IP’s and protection of their rights was cancelled. Atty. Masli Quilaman of NCIP Human Rights Office however made efforts to arrange his schedules to be able to come the next days but was not permitted by the consequences of office related concerns.

All the learning session was well participated by the participants. To allow them to express what they learned and as per activity design, a poetry writing session was facilitated by Mr. Wilson Requez, Networking Officer of Sulong CARHRIHL. Mr. Requez presented a five line poem guide for those who are new into poem writing. Some of the participants are already familiar with it and proceeded on their own.

After the dinner, the groups gather for the night for their poetry reading session. Everyone shared their poems and it was a good exercise to gauge what they’ve learned on the morning sessions. The evening ended with everyone happy sharing their reflections for the workshop.

CARHRIHL and Peace Trainings

713078688_0b4ddf7f8b_mSulong CARHRIHL in partnership with the Prelature of Infanta, and the Peace Advocates of Northern Quezon and Aurora (PANQA) held a CARHRIHL and peace training in Tahanang Nasaret, Infanta. Church leaders, key members of the non-governmental organizations Task Force Sierra Madre and Task Force Kalikasan and representatives from the media and Kabalikat Civicom participated.

The training was held in preparation for the August 6, 2007 dialogue for the Metro Real Peace Zone, and future barangay-level CARHRIHL trainings to be spearheaded by PANQA and Sulong CARHRIHL Metro Real. The campaign for the Peace Zone began earlier this year through the Kapayapaan weekly broadcasts on DWJO-Spirit FM.

Bicol, specifically Sorsogon, is on the list of the perceived “hot spots” in the Philippines because of the continuous war between the armed forces and the local NPA. Extra- judicial killings, the collection of revolutionary tax, and the extortion of permits to campaign from those running for public office are also rampant in this area.

BEC Workers from municipalities of Sorsogon City, Bacon, Bulan, Bulusan, Sta. Magdalena, Magallanes, Castilla, Gubat, Pilar attended the CARHRIHL and peace training in Sorsogon City. During the training, the participants drew up a peace-building plan that included dialogues with barangay officials and youth leadership training with components of human rights, IHL, CARHRIHL, and peace.