Toronto advocates call for probe on EJKs

Community News & Features Dec 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

IMAG2712Several people held a protest vigil in the intersection of Bathurst and Wilson in response to the recent spate of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in Negros island.

Groups with BAYAN-Canada, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) and International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) heeded the youth to fight President Rodrigo Duterte’s tyrannical rule and to commemorate  the birth anniversary of Filipino revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio on November 30.

The groups highlighted the two cases of human rights defenders killed under Duterte: public interest lawyer gunned Benjamin Ramos and hospital chief doctor Avelex Amor, both gunned down by yet to be identified men in Negros on separate dates in November. They also mentioned about illegal arrest of former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, ACT teachers party list Rep. France Castro and other members of Talaingod 18.

IMAG2715“The reality is that those named on said lists, those like Ramos, who dare to continue the struggle for fundamental change in the Philippines, are on the side of justice,” said BAYAN-Canada in a statement.

“Now more than ever, as Duterte’s dictatorship tramples on our basic rights and interests, the youth must continue to unite and fight. Labanan ang pasismo ng estado!” said youth group Anakbayan-Toronto in a statement.

A prayer of mourning was also shared from Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

IMAG2719Facing death threats, advocates have repeatedly called on the government to recognize their role in society by passing a bill, which will push the state to become the primary protector of human rights defenders. This means that protection orders can be easily granted to those at risk, requiring state forces to abide.

On December 4, the Philippine Congress approved substitute bill protecting human rights advocates. The bill mandates government agencies to act with “extraordinary diligence” – within three days – all reports about possible human rights violations.

But until such law is not signed by the President and enacted, as of this writing, many still await for truth and justice and write an outpour of statements by individuals, communities, and Canada-based organizations in condemning the killings.

(Ysh Cabana)