Fisherfolk to CHR: ‘Also probe PNP’s other human rights abuse’

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CHR Chair Chito Gascon | Photo by http://www.rappler.com

Maragondon, Cavite – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and its members in Cavite call the attention of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Chito Gascon on the ongoing economic blockade and human rights abuses in the disputed Brgy. Patungan in Maragondon, Cavite.

Brgy. Patungan is being claimed by the Maria Theresa Virata Realty Corp., a developer who allegedly sold the 602-hectare fishing community to business-tycoon Henry Sy. Brgy. Patungan is the target to be an extension of the Sy-owned Hamilo Coast beach resorts situated in Nasubu, Batangas. More than 300 fisherfolk and peasant families are under the threat of demolition in line with the land dispute.

The land dispute has already inflicted various human rights violations and harassments against the residents including the violent demolition that occurred on August 22-23 where demolition team combined of Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) had fired guns and tear gas towards the resisting residents.

The worst human rights violation against the residents accounted up to date is the economic blockade and restriction among the locals from entering and going out of their community committed by the Virata’s private security guards.

According to Susan Agner, a resident and President of Save Patungan Now Movement, restriction of goods and visitors occur since the land dispute happens followed by the positioning of private security guards and police around their community.

We have been experiencing this economic isolation that might lead to a martial-law style of hamletting perpetrated by commissioned state forces and private security guards since 2012. Security guards do not allow our goods and other materials from entering our community, even us as a resident are prohibited from going in and out of our own land, so we have no choice but to opt for a boat which is relatively costly than taking a walk,” Agner lamented.

This gross human rights abuse is condemned even by the international human rights body. CHR should take necessary steps in order to end this heinous human rights violation of the 20th century and hold the state and security forces and other officials involved accountable.

This is another human rights violation perpetrated by the PNP and military that the CHR should also look into. We urge CHR Chair Gascon to do the same probe into this incident as he does in PNP’s anti-drug campaign,” Agner ended.

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