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Kilos Bikolano Laban sa Tiraniya: Thousands march on Naga streets to protest activist killings

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Photo courtesy of Bayan Camarines Sur

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, Philippines – A protest march held in this city Wednesday has stunned city residents over the huge participation of rallyists who were wearing red T-shirts, angry protesters pouring out their condemnation over the Monday killing of Neptali Morada, a Nagueno, during that time when progressive groups were protesting over the killing Saturday of two human rights activists in Sorsogon City.

The huge crowd of rallyists, stretching from SM mall in Naga’s new Central Business District up to San Francisco Church at the city’s old central business district has impressed residents about the thousands of participants, while observers were also amazed about the organization efficiency of launching wide-scale mobilization within a day’s notice.

Protest organizer BAYAN-Bicol has declared: “In time for Dr. Jose Rizal’s 158th birthday, thousands of activists in Bicol join regional protest caravan today Wednesday, June 19, to protest against the intensified tyranny of PNP-AFP forces of US-Duterte regime.”

Protest caravan

According to organizers, the protest march named as “Kilos Bikolano Laban sa Tiraniya”, activists from six provinces were divided into three (3) groups. They marched and merged to Plaza Rizal in Naga City to hold their main program.

Bayan – Bicol quoted Jose Rizal saying “I wish to show those who deny us patriotism that we know how to die for our duty and convictions”.

“Based on the present political situation here in Bicol, it is obvious and undeniable who is really patriotic and who is not,” said Dan Balucio, spokesperson of BAYAN Bicol.

“Duterte’s termination orders”

According to Balucio, Rodrigo Duterte is eager to implement nationwide Martial Law that’s why he intensified its counter-insurgency Oplan Kapanatagan, MO 32 and Executive Order No. 70 which the Duterte Government called it the ‘whole-of-nation-approach’ through the so-called National Task Force To End Communist Armed Conflict.

“In the ‘whole-of-nation’ program, the civilian bureaucracy of the Government is subject to the command of the military and police. It is a direct militarization of the civilian bureaucracy. Basic social service programs are set in the counterinsurgency program and violates the human rights of the masses,” Balucio added.

BAYAN Bicol condemns the brutal killings of activists in the region recently. “They sacrificed their lives, died for their duty as human rights defenders and with conviction to serve the masses despite harassment from the AFP-PNP forces”, said Vince Casilihan, the group’s information officer.

Murder of civilian activists

Former Popular Campaigns Committee head of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) -Bicol, Nephtali Morada, was gunned down along the road in Barangay San Isidro, Naga City on Monday, June 17, on his way to work.

While on Saturday, June 15, two human rights workers were killed close range by two unidentified gunmen along the road of Phase 2, Seabreeze Homes Subdivision, barangay Cabid-an in Sorsogon province. The victims were Ryan Hubilla, a senior high school student and Karapatan Sorsogon staff, and Nelly Bagasala of Sorsogon Peoples’ Organization, a network of Karapatan Sorsogon.

“We seek justice to these activists and legit members of Karapatan Sorsogon and Bayan Bicol respectively. It is already expected that PNP will disrespect and will question their identities.,” said Bayan-Bicol, in a statement given to the press.

de facto Martial Law

“We believe the PNP and AFP are behind the killings of activists under Oplan Kapanatagan, MO 32 and EO 70. This is what Rodrigo Duterte really wanted after canceling the peace talks – use the PNP-AFP forces to silence the progressive groups, activists and individuals to fully implement Martial Law.”

Since Duterte became the president of the country, Bicol region already recorded 61 extrajudicial killings which six (6) of these – four (4) victims in Sorsogon, one (1) in Masbate and one in Camarines Sur – were under the implementation of MO 32 since November 2018. [BicolToday.com]

Activist in Naga City gunned down 2 days after Sorsogon killings

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Photo courtesy of DZNG Bombo Radyo Naga

By Reynard Magtoto

NAGA CITY – Following the assassination of two human rights workers in Sorsogon City Saturday, another activist in Bicol gunned down along the road in Barangay San Isidro here today, June 17, on his way to work.

Neptali Morada was shot multiple times, sustaining six bullet wounds from an M16 at about eight o’clock this morning. His perpetrators were reported riding a van. Morada managed to drive 100 meters away from perpetrators, but later on succumbed to his injuries.

Morada was a former popular campaigns committee head of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) -Bicol, regional Bayan Muna head and Student Christian Movement of the Philippines member. The victim now works as a staff member of former Camarines Sur vice governor Ato Peña.

Before his death, Morada was already alarmed over the heightened periodic surveillance conducted by police and military forces since he left BAYAN – Bicol.

On June 15, Two human rights workers were killed close range by two unidentified gunmen. The victims Ryan Hubilla, a senior high school student, and Nelly Bagasala were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds at around 8:20 in the morning along the road of Phase 2, Seabreeze Homes Subdivision, barangay Cabid-an in Sorsogon province.

BAYAN Bicol condemns the brutal killings of activists in the region.

Duterte Government is desperate in its failure to end the civil war in the country that’s why he implemented the ‘whole-of-nation approach’ of the US imperialist agents Lorenzana, Esperon and Año according to BAYAN Bicol spokesperson Dan Balucio.

“In the ‘whole-of-nation’ program, the civilian bureaucracy of the Government is subject to the command of the military and police. It is a direct militarization of the civilian bureaucracy. Basic social service programs are set in the counterinsurgency program,” said Balucio.

Balucio added that MO 32, EO 70 and whole-of-nation approach will strengthen social tensions due to fascist US-Duterte regime and the tyranny of its state forces.“Memorandum Order 32 violates the human rights of the masses,” he said.

Since the implementation of MO 32 on November 2018, Bicol region recorded six (6) extrajudicial killings – four (4) victims in Sorsogon, one (1) in Masbate and the latest record today in Camarines Sur. [BaretangBikolnon.com]

Migrante finds “alarming”on PhilHealth ‘ghost claims’; Duterte’s ‘Universal Health Care’ a fake

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Photo courtesy of UNTVWeb

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – International labor group Migrante issued a statement Sunday blaming PhilHealth “ghost claims” as corruption in the gravest form in the State’s healthcare system.

The group also called the Universal Health Care as a “fake” which only guarantee private, profit-driven healthcare institutions to get their share in the “profit pie.”

Migrante informed Bicol Today.com in Naga City about the latest scandal shaking up the healthcare system of the country.

The recent PhilHealth scandal involving unlawful ‘ghost claims’ by WellMed points to the rotten state of a profit-oriented and privately-dominated healthcare system in the Philippines.

“Since PhilHealth membership is mandatory for OFWs, it is just one of the many state exactions being relished by the corrupt Duterte regime. Migrante views this crime as a horrible offence against OFWs and their dependents”, said Arman Hernando, Chairperson, Migrante Philippines.

At this period when many OFW families are battered by the unreasonably high cost of healthcare and all sorts of state exactions, we find it insulting that our hard-earned contributions are getting funneled into the over-bloated pockets of reprobate thieves, Migrante asserted.

“Recently, the Duterte regime has been bragging about its Universal Health Care Law which automatically enrolled all Filipinos under Philhealth membership. Contrary to what the name suggests, there is really nothing universal about Duterte’s much vaunted healthcare law. In fact, we see this as just another government scam to subsidize private profit.”

There is no question that the privately-dominated healthcare system in the country enables large-scale corruption. Massive theft has been going in for many years.

Php 154 Billion siphoned to fraud and overpayment

Since 2013, over Php 154 Billion was lost due to fraud and over-payment. What’s more outrageous is that the Duterte regime is hell-bent in recovering this huge amount of losses through a hike in the contribution rate of PhilHealth members.

Migrante International is one with OFWs and their families in opposing this atrocious hike. OFW pockets are being suctioned dry with various forms of state exactions, while corrupt vultures feast on our hard-earned money.

“Likewise, we find it troubling that the Duterte regime is exempting Philhealth board member Francisco Duque III from investigations. Duque was PhilHealth president in 2004 when his involvement in the Php 500 Million malversation scandal was bared. Duterte asked all the rest of the current Philhealth board members to resign. What makes Duque so special above the rest?,” said Joanna Concepcion, Chairperson, Migrante International.

Despite the Duterte regime’s excessive braggadocio, the Philippines is stricken with underfunded hospitals that are rapidly getting devoured by intensified commercialization and privatization. Our Filipino healthcare workers are forced to endure being overworked in long shifts under meager pay and poor facilities. This painful reality is driving thousands of Filipino healthcare professionals to search for better opportunities overseas.

Duterte healthcare policies fill up profit of private entities

Instead of building adequate infrastructures for public health services, the Duterte regime fastens itself to neoliberal economic policies that systematize the gobbling of public funds to fill the coffers of big private entities, said Migrante.

Such is the deteriorating state of the Philippine healthcare system. This most recent PhilHealth scandal is just a dot in the larger scheme of corruption in this field. The profit-oriented and privately-dominated healthcare system overindulged with subsidies from the Philippine government through public contributions in PhilHealth is in itself the biggest form of theft that deprives Filipinos of their right to genuine universal health service.

Through unified actions, Migrante International will continue to expose the neoliberal attacks being perpetrated by the Duterte regime against Filipinos here and abroad. OFWs and their families will not stand idly as legalized plunder occurs under Duterte’s watch. [BicolToday.com]

Rally for justice for murdered Sorsogon rights workers shaping up Monday, June 17, DND-Camp Aguinaldo EDSA

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Taas Kamao: Ryan raising his hand till death. Photo/text by BaretangBikolnon.com

SORSOGON CITY – Out pouring of grief and sympathy from youth organizations has continued for murdered human rights workers, Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala, who were gunned down Saturday morning at Sorsogon City.

In a related development, progressive groups shall hold a rally on Monday, June 17, at DND-Camp Aguinaldo, EDSA, in protest over the killing of two human rights workers in Sorsogon City.

Hubilla and Bagasala were killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen at Seabreeze Homes Subdivision, Barangay Cabid-an, Sorsogon City on Saturday, June 15, at 8:20 AM. The two died on the spot.

Aside from being a staffer for KARAPATAN-Sorsogon, Hubilla was co-founder of Anakbayan-Sorsogon. He was at Senior High in Sorsogon Provincial High School.

Bagasala was member of Sorsogon People’s Organization under KARAPATAN-Sorsogon.

ANAKBAYAN Sorsogon, in a statement, said Ryan was a Grade 12 HUMMS Student whose dream was to become a lawyer who will defend the people from oppression. Nanay Nelly was a dedicated human rights worker who had strong empathy with folks in the rural areas.

In a related development, artists group Panday Sining headed by Chairperson Nico Garduce vows to seek justice for slain human rights workers Ryan and Nelly.

The artist group said a rally shall be held on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 10AM at DND-Camp Aguinaldo, EDSA.

In Manila, Anakbayan condemned the brutal killings of human rights workers Hubilla and Bagasala, and place the murder squarely at the feet of Duterte and his butchers in the Armed Forces and police.

“This brutal slaying of human rights defenders is proof that Duterte’s relentless war on the Filipino people continues—especially against those who dare fight for human rights against his bloodthirsty regime,” said Anakbayan spokesperson Alex Danday. “This is MO 32– the militarization of the countryside, and this is EO 70, the Whole-Of-Nation Approach in gory action.”

Bicol—along with Eastern Visayas, and Negros—is part of the regions bombarded with intensified military deployment due to MO 32 starting in 2018, resulting in dozens of deaths of poor peasants and human rights workers, among others.

Ryan Hubilla, a Grade 12 Senior High School student, was one of the founding members of Anakbayan Sorsogon and instrumental in organizing youth in the province.

“Ryan was an outstanding member of Anakbayan Sorsogon. He has volunteered to serve the people of Bicol by joining KARAPATAN in defending Bicolanos’ rights against state abuses, and for this, he was gunned down in cold blood. His killing is meant to terrorize the youth into simply accepting Duterte’s fascist reign, to cow Ryan’s peers into silence,” continued Danday.

According to KARAPATAN, even before the murders, human rights workers in the area were subjected to periodic surveillance and harassment by military and police operatives.

Despite the murder, Anakbayan vowed to fight for justice for Ryan and Nanay Nelly and continue to defend human rights across the country.

“We recognize that the only way to stop the bloodshed is to end the regime that masterminds it all. We will not stop. The more they attack the youth, more and more will become fed-up, rise, and take their place! Each attack strengthens the Filipino people’s rage against Duterte’s regime, the rage that will ensure his downfall!” said Danday.

“We are calling everyone to mobilize on June 17 in front of the DND-Camp Aguinaldo EDSA at 10:00 am to condemn the killing of Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala!” [BicolToday.com]

Crackdown on village activists heating up in Sorsogon

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MAGALLANES, Sorsogon – Three days before the gunning down on Saturday of 2 human rights workers in Sorsogon City, military men on Wednesday night had picked up a young village activist in Magallanes, tied and beat him up before turning him over at the Magallanes police station for allegedly possessing a gun and slapped with “Rebellion” charges.

Young man Jimuel Non Saturay, 26. was illegally arrested by armed men night of June 12, tied up and physically beaten up by hand blows and rifle butts, then turned over to Magallanes police station hours after.

This is the story reported by Jimuel’s mother as she claimed the armed men are soldiers of 31st IBPA.

According to reports gathered within the neighborhood, Jimuel was along a section of the national highway while watching a village dance when military men pounced on him. He was beaten up, tied, and forcibly dragged into a van, then after several hours, jailed at the Magallanes Police Station where he was charged with rebellion for allegedly possessing a gun.

The victim’s mother, Cristy Saturay, claimed her son went to Barangay Incarizan to watch a village dance being held as part of the barangay fiesta.

In a related development, human rights group in Sorsogon investigating the incident said Jimuel’s abduction and trumped-up case is part of crackdown by the Duterte Administration on legal dissent, committing human rights abuses, just to silence dissenters. Jimuel is a village level activist who participates in local rallies.

The human rights group claimed that Bicol Region is under “de facto martial law” owing to Duterte’s brutal counter-insurgency program, and MO 32. [BicolToday.com]

2 Human Rights Workers gunned down after helping release of 3 Political Prisoners in Sorsogon

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Uncovering Truth: Family of Nelly waiting for autopsy. Photo/text by BaretangBikolnon.com
Surveillance: Riding-In-Tadem who keeps tracks of the human rights workers. Photo/text by BaretangBikolnon.com

By Reynard Magtoto
BaretangBikolnon.com

SORSOGON CITY – Two human rights workers were killed close range by two unidentified gunmen on Saturday, June 15, the next day after they assisted the release of ‘high profile’ political prisoners.

The victims Ryan Hubilla, a senior high school student, and Nelly Bagasala were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds at around 8:20 in the morning along the road of Phase 2, Seabreeze Homes Subdivision, barangay Cabid-an in this city.

Ryan was a staff of Karapatan Sorsogon and member of League of Filipino Students in the province while Nelly was a member of Sorsogon Peoples’ Organization (SPO) a network of Karapatan Sorsogon that is composed of peasants promoting human rights in the countryside. With them during the shooting incident was Maria Lagadia, also a member of SPO and was able to escaped and survived.

The incident was less than a kilometer away from the PNP Cabid-an where the 3 political prisoners who refused to be named previously detained.

Regional Trial Court Branch 52 dismissed the political prisoners’ criminal case on May 14 and were released on June 14. They were arrested without warrant in Pilar, Sorsogon early morning on April 10 for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

During the facilitation of the case, human rights workers of Karapatan Sorsogon were already alarmed over the periodic surveillance conducted by police and military forces.

In a video sent by Karapatan Sorsogon to Baretang Bikolnon Online, Ryan Hubilla able to record two unidentified men riding on motorcycle following them and peeking inside their van when they were on their way home after they sent off the released political prisoners.

Uncovering Truth: Family of Nelly waiting for autopsy. Photo/text by BaretangBikolnon.com

According to survivor Isabel, the two men following them on June 14 recognized them but she can’t because of their face cover. However Isabel believed the two men were connected to the June 15 killing.

The rights group in the province received report that the driver who assisted them during the release of the political prisoners were harassed at around 9:30 of the evening on June 14.

“May nagpaabot sa amin na tinutukan sya ng baril nang nakaparada na sya sa terminal. Kaya kinaumagahan hinanap namin sya para tulungan (“We received report that he [driver] was confronted with a gun when he was already in the terminal.So the next morning we searched for him to help),” said Isabel.

The driver who accompanied them was residing in Seabreeze Homes Subdivision. However when Ryan got off the tricycle to pay for the fare, he was shot by a man with .45 caliber according to Isabel.

“Hindi na bumaba si Nay Nelly dahil tinakpan na lang nya ang tenga nya. Tumakbo na ako sa sobrang takot pati ang driver ng tricycle (Nay Nelly did not get off because she just cover her ears. I run because of fear and also the driver of the tricycle) ,” Isabel added.

Progressive groups condemn the brutal killing of the two human rights workers. “Bakit ganun sila na ngang tumuluong sa masa sila pa ang pinatay (Why is that they are the one helping the masses but they are the one killed),” said Guillermo Abraham, Karapatan – Sorsogon spokesperson.

According to Rey Hababag of Bayan Sorsogon, this what Rodrigo Duterte really wanted after canceling the peace talks – silence the progressive groups and individuals to fully implement Martial Law.

Bicol region is already under de facto Martial Law because of the counter-insurgency Oplan Kapanatagan, MO 32 and Executive Order No. 70 which the Duterte Government called it the ‘whole-of-nation-approach’ being implemented through the so-called National Task Force To End Communist Armed Conflict. [Re-posted from BaretangBikolnon.com]

Taas Kamao: Ryan raising his hand till death. Photo/text by BaretangBikolnon.com

DSWD: “We do not issue certificates for inclusion to CHED’s college education subsidy”

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LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Bicol clarified on Friday that the agency is not issuing certification for inclusion as beneficiaries of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The agency clarified that being a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary will not automatically entitle them of TES.

“The Listahanan database has already been shared to CHED thru the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST) and its up to them to establish their own verification mechanism based on their eligibility criteria,” DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia said.

Listahanan is an information management system that aims to establish a database of poor households that serve as a basis in prioritizing the poor as beneficiaries of social protection programs.

“DSWDs mandate is to share Listahanan’s list of poor households who will be prioritized for the implementation of programs and services for the poor thus does not implement any program”, Garcia added.

“The basis of Pantawid Pamilya came from the Listahanan 1 conducted in 2009-2010 while for the TES was derived from the Listahanan 2 result from the 2015 household assessment,” Garcia explained.

He said that for TES concerns, the public may directly inquire to the CHED’s office located at CHEDRO Building, EM’s Barrio South,Brgy. 2, Legaspi City or to the school’s TES focal person.

Under the Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, the TES offers qualified students to pursue a college education without paying tuition fees and other school fees. [BicolToday.com]

ACT to DepEd: “Stop being deodorizer for Government”

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Araling Panlipunan teachers at the F.G Calderon High School in Hermosa Tondo Manila show the comfort room converted into a faculty room due to lack of available rooms for teachers( Ali vicoy)

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called the government’s brouhaha about increase salaries of teachers as propaganda.

ACT said the Department of Education (DepEd) has been serving as “deodorizer” for the government.

ACT, earlier, urged DepEd to stop trying to ‘deodorize the government’ and instead work with teachers in fulfilling the overdue pay hike promise.

“The propaganda has to stop. More time should be spent on actually resolving the crisis in the pay of teachers and other rank-and-file employees, instead of on manipulating facts. Teachers are fighting for decent living and working condition, heed us instead of delegitimizing our struggle,” pressed ACT National Chairperson Joselyn Martinez, a statement sent Saturday to BicolToday.com in Naga City.

ACT belied the claims made by DepEd that teachers’ welfare are ‘taken care of,’ saying that the data on salaries and benefits presented by DepEd bares the contrary.

The group also questioned the DepEd’s sincerity in its claim that it is supportive of raising teachers’ salaries when ‘all it argues is about how teachers are better off.’

Doubled salaries in 20 years
ACT Chairperson Martinez lambasted DepEd for ‘deliberately obscuring the entire picture’ when the agency claimed that teachers’ salaries have doubled since 2000. In a matrix released by DepEd, it showed that the entry-level pay of public school teachers rose by 119.2%, from Php9,466 in 2000 to Php20,749 in 2019.

“There is nothing special with the doubling of salaries in the span of two decades. Salaries of all workers have been chasing after the rising cost of living through the years but never managed to keep up,” said Martinez.

ACT cited that the 119% increase in teachers’ pay since 2000 are approximately the same, if not lower than those received by minimum wage earners in the public and private sector.

The minimum wage in NCR rose by 140%, from Php223.5 in 2000 to PhP537 at present. Salary Grade I government employees had 130% pay increase, from Php4,821 to Php11,068 this year.

Martinez however noted of the 5-fold to 6-fold increases in the salaries of top government officials in the same period. Cabinet members’ basic pay rose by 570% while the salary of the president increased by 606% from 2000 to 2019.

“The disparity between the increases in top officials’ salaries vis-à-vis those of rank-and-file employees begs the question: whose welfare are truly taken care of? More importantly though, these data expose the problem with the government’s salary scheme, which certainly do not follow their own claims at equitable and sustainable pay,” argued Martinez.

Martinez furthered that ‘social justice will remain elusive as the gap between the top and the lowest paid continue to widen.’

Better benefits of teachers
ACT also belied DepEd’s pronouncement that Secretary Briones’ ‘push for reforms and initiatives’ resulted in the improved benefits received by teachers.

The group argued that it was the ‘uncompromising pursuit for better pay and benefits’ that won teachers these rightful compensations.

“The government did not give these benefits out of their own will, these are hard won by teachers together with our partners in Congress, especially ACT Teachers Partylist,” said Martinez.

ACT detailed that the increase in chalk allowance from Php700 to its current amount of Php3,500 was campaigned by teachers inside and outside the parliament. The same goes for the additional Php2,000 in their uniform allowance and the newly included Php500 annual medical allowance for teachers. These amendments were made possible by legislations principally authored and pushed for by ACT Teachers Partylist. Even the official celebration of World Teachers’ Day (WTD) was a product of a law passed by ACT Teachers Partylist, which allowed for DepEd’s recent move to provide a Php 1,000 WTD bonus.

“The same resolve of teachers and partners who recognize the value of education will also win us our much-deserved salary increase,” Martinez said. [BicolToday.com]

Old Farmer in Masbate refusing to act as guide shot dead

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San Fernando, Masbate. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

MASBATE CITY – For refusing to guide armed men to their destination, an old farmer was shot death.

Old farmer Herardo Baldeo Alcovendas, 67 years old, married, was resting on a hammock when two armed men approached him, convincing him to guide the visitors that when he refused, he was shot several times.

The incident happened June 10 (this year) at about 7:30 PM at Barangay Buenavista, San Fernando, Masbate.

According to police, two (2) unidentified armed men, both armed with long firearms came into the victim Alcovendas’ house, and the armed men requested the old farmer to accompany them as guide however, he refused. Then, the suspects shot him several times hitting the different parts of his body that caused his instantaneous death.

The gunmen fled after the incident. [BicolToday.com]

Commission on Human Rights to help seek justice for OFW rape victim in Kuwait

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MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Human rights commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, who serves as the CHR’s focal person on Migrant Workers’ Rights, condemned the rape of a Filipino domestic worker in Kuwait at the hands of one of its airport security personnel last week.

The incident was reported in Kuwait news and became the subject of a newspaper column in the Business Mirror written by labor advocate Susan Ople, entitled, “Raped at the airport”.

“We condemn this act of sexual violence allegedly committed by no less than a member of the Kuwait airport personnel. We seek justice in her behalf, and urge the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment to ensure that our aggrieved OFW’s rights are protected and upheld,” the commissioner said.

She stressed that the identity of the OFW must be kept private as well as her personal circumstances. “She is the victim, and thus, deserves her privacy. The opposite is true of the rapist. He deserves to be unmasked, arrested, and undergo court proceedings in Kuwait.”

Commissioner Pimentel-Gana said that her office would be reaching out to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment as well as to the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration on the said case.

She lamented that the rape incident happened despite an existing bilateral labor agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait that should have led to the increased protection of Filipino domestic workers in the said country.

“Definitely, my office at the CHR will closely monitor the case. We will coordinate closely with the DFA and DoLE to ensure that the rights of the victim are protected,” she said. [BicolToday.com]