Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Soldiers, PNP, community to file Human Rights case vs NPA in Abra

BALER, Aurora-Soldiers together with local police and community residents are set to file Human Rights Violation case against the NPA remnants tagged in the brutal murder of an ex-NPA and his father and brother in a remote village in Abra whose bodies bearing torture marks and hands tied behind their bakcs were discovered last March 7 and recovered the following day.
            The case will be filed in the CHR regional office in Baguio City by the 41st Infantry Battalion, PNP and barangay officials of Dominglay in Licuan-Baay, Abra as soon as the paperworks are complete.
            It may be recalled that three dead bodies were found by soldiers, police and barangay officials in a grave which was reported by civilians victims of NPA remnants between barangay Mugao and Dominglay in Licuan-Baay, Abra at about 4:30pm last March 7.
            According to the SOCO report, the bodies belonging to Fredie Ligiw, 30 years old, Licuben Ligiw, 68 years old and Eddie Ligiw bore torture marks with their hands tied behind their backs and with their mouths tied with handkerchiefs. According to the report the cause of death is mauling and asphyxiation.
            Based on the report of the local police and according to local residents the trio went missing on March 1 when about 15 NPA remnants were sighted in Sitio Sucao where the victims also live. Fredie Ligiw was last seen by civilian populace on March 3 at Sitio Manapnap, Brgy Binasaran, Malibcong, Abra being accompanied by NPA remnants under Flores Baluga alias Bram, the First Deputy Secretary of Abra Party Committee. This prompted Brgy Captain Josephine Carino to report the matter on March 6 and a search party was organized.
            Fredie Ligiw is a former NPA who surrendered in 2011 who wants to live a peaceful life while his brother Eddie is a community worker who is one of the proponents of the Daycare Center in their village. Their father Licuben is described by the village folks as a protective father.
            The murder of the Abra trio by the NPA remnants is reminiscent of the murder of another trio in Davao City murdered in 2009, the Lumad Tulang brothers. The elder Tulang was shot on the head while his two siblings were blindfolded, hogtied and their necks were slit and were left to bleed to death. All three bore signs of torture. Their crime: stealing fighting cocks.
            Back in Abra, records of several NPA victims are being reviewed so that cases may be filed. February 17, 2008 Ulysis Dapit of Sallapadan, Abra was abducted and murdered by the NPA; March 1998, emelio Brillantes of Malibcong, Abra was also abducted then murdered by NPA.
            Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said “the atrocious acts of the NPA remnants do not help the country and do not serve the interest of the people”.
“We have a more pressing concern now that is climate change and the magnified disasters it brings. This is the new enemy on the horizon. What we need to do is unite and embrace each other as one nation so that we can best protect our people from calamities”, Lt. Gen. Catapang concluded.

Rebel Returnee and Siblings found dead in Abra

Licuan-Baay, Abra – a former rebel identified as Fredie Ligiw 30 years old, together with his father Licuben Ligiw, 68 years old and brother Eddie Ligiw, 35 years old, a stakeholder in the construction of Daycare Center in So Manapnap, Barangay Binasaran, Malibcong, all residents of So. Sucao, Brgy Dominglay, Licuan-Baay, Abra  were found dead on March 8, 2014, They were reported missing for almost five (5) days with hands tied at their backs and buried when they were unearthed.
            Fredie Ligiw was last seen by the civilian populace at So Manapnap, Brgy Binasaran, Malibcong Abra last March 3, 2014. According to them, they were accompanied by the group of NPA remnants under Flores Baluga @ Bram, the first deputy secretary of Abra Party Committee (APCOM) during the conduct of a meeting at said place.
Freddie Z. Ligiw and his son.
These summary executions by the NPA remnants are their proverbial acts to any person or even to their comrades suspected as Army supporters. Mr Ulysis B. Dapit alyas Asunta, an innocent civilian from Brgy Sallapadan Bario, Sallapadan, Abra was a victim of this act on February 17, 2008. He was abducted and murdered by the NPA remnants and up to this date, justice has not been served. Also, Mr. Emelio Brillantes, a resident of Brgy Bayabas, Malibcong, Abra was also abducted and executed by the NPA sometimes in March 1998.
Photo of victim Eddie Z. Ligiw.
The investigation is still on progress and truth and justice must prevail. It’s high time for us to reflect and think sensibly, seek for justice against the perpetrators and the NPA remnants must be punished for the murders they have committed.

            The 41st Infantry Battalion sympathized with the families of the victims and condemned the criminal acts of NPA remnants; armed struggle and killing of innocents civilians and suffering of the people in the province of Abra. Thus, we are calling for the support of all Abrenians, let us all unite and work together to end this violence once and for all for a peaceful and progressive Abra. 

CL farmers warn against flooding of rice imports, oppose liberalization of agri

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga-Farmers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers Alliance in Central Luzon), Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC) and Amgl – Nueva Ecija warned against flooding of imported rice in the region, citing it is a direct threat to rice-producing farmers who are already suffering low farm gate prices consequently putting them into indedtedness and landlessness.  The groups are reacting to the reported arrival of 525,000 bags of Vietnam rice in Subic freeport last January which they claim are now flooding the local market, thus traders use this as leverage to even depress farm gate prices of palay.  They blame this to the government's implementation of liberalizing the agricultural industry as commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Imported rice from Vietnam and other countries are not helping us but actually undermining our capacity to produce our own rice.  If farmers face indebtedness and become land less, lands devoted to cultivating rice are to decline, putting us more dependent on imported rice.  Our food security is systematically degraded,” Aquilino Lopez, vice-chairperson of AMGL for external affairs and chair of Amgl – Nueva Ecija.

The groups said that during pre-WTO period of the data from Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), imported rice only shared 2% of the total 41 million metric tons rice supply from 1990 to 1994, but jacked up to about 10% of 226.8 million metric tons supply from 1995 to 2012.  It is also noticeable that pre-WTO period rice buffer reached to 21% that  plunged to only 17% since WTO entry.  Thus, food security in rice was concretely degraded.  The groups said that the continuation of this trend would make the region and the country critically dependent on rice imports.

“Isn't in dense that our country's has the 8th largest rice production in 2009 but also imported the most in the world in 2010.  The country's policies and program are weakening our agriculture, thus, no different from putting the people into hunger and misery,” Lopez said.

The farmers are criticizing the statement of National Food Authority (NFA) regional director Amadeo De Guzman that the Vietnamese rice offloaded at Subic freeport was to augment the local supply in the region.  But the groups said that this totally contradicts the agency's mandate of supposedly promoting and protecting the locally-produced food supply.  The groups said that the Nueva Ecija province contributing the most among provinces at 9% of total produced palay in 2013 and Central Luzon contributing the biggest among regions more than 18% of the total produced palay are considered as country's rice granary but are being flooded by imported rice.

“The BS Aquino government, like its predecessors, the Dept. of Agriculture and NFA are drumming up rice self-sufficiency when it only means increasing rice imports and totally opposing rice food security.  This government abandoned protecting local production and diverting the country to becoming import-dependent on food, when an international crisis erupts disrupting importation, we are all going to die of starvation,” Lopez said.

The government obliged itself to import 350,000 metric tons of imported rice last year as commitment to the WTO according to the Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI).  The groups also claimed that the 50,000 metric tons of smuggled rice reported by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to the senate investigation last January is adding salt to the wound.

“Smuggling is just a symptom of liberalizing agriculture.  The neo-liberal policies of WTO are supposed to implement the free-flow of goods, cancelling out state intervention, especially tariffs, thus, smuggling is just the advanced phase of    trade liberalization.  Fundamentally, we demand the revocation of government's effort to liberalization of agriculture and commitment to the WTO,” Lopez said.

Instead, the farmers groups demanded the implementation of genuine land reform to emancipate poor farmers from local landlords and traders monopolizing the rice industry.  The government should fulfill its duty to support and subsidy to local rice production as what other countries have implemented.

“We should oppose liberalization of agriculture and WTO as they only means starvation and misery for the people of Central Luzon,” Lopez said. 


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