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July 29, 2010

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CUPE National president calls for end to human rights violations in Philippines

OTTAWA—CUPE National president Paul Moist has written to the president of the Republic of the Philippines calling for an end to human rights abuses and an end to extra-judicial killings following the shocking news that three teachers, including Mark Francisco of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), were assassinated earlier this month.

Antonio Tinio, National Chairperson of ACT and newly elected ACT representative in the Philippine Congress, has reported to CUPE that the killings are linked to the failure of the previous administration to prosecute and punish human rights violators.

The following is Moist’s July 26 letter to H. E. Benigno S. Aquino III, president of the Republic of the Philippines, calling for action:

Dear President Aquino,

How unfortunate to have to write at the time of your inauguration regarding the recent killing of three teachers. The Canadian Union of Public Employees is shocked and saddened to hear this news from our colleagues at the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), that three teachers, including ACT member Mark Francisco were assassinated earlier in July.

Antonio Tinio, the National Chairperson of ACT and newly elected ACT-Party Representative in the Philippine Congress reported to us that the killings are linked to the failure of the previous administration to prosecute and punish human rights violators. We support the ACT’s demand for justice for their fellow teachers and their call for your new government to take decisive action to stop the killings and end impunity.

We are aware that over 1,000 activists and journalists were murdered in extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo government and that to date no one has been convicted. The killings had abated under international pressure for a two-year period, but have started again since the May 2010 national and local elections.

CUPE members hosted two Filipino public sector union representatives in a speaking tour across Canada in the spring of 2009, and earlier this year, members of our union were hosted by ACT and COURAGE in the Philippines. We are committed to building our relationship with these unions and to support their call for an end to human rights abuses and an end to extra-judicial killings in your country.

We call on the Philippine government to:

Ensure an impartial investigation on the extra-judicial killing of Mark Francisco and other activists since the election;

Demilitarize the area pending investigation and disarm military-backed vigilantes;

Extend protection and assistance to the families of the murdered activists; and

Review the government’s counter-insurgence program as per the recommendations of UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Philip Alston.

Yours truly,

Paul Moist
CUPE National President

cc: Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, OPAPP; Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin, Secretary, Department of National Defense; Atty. Leila M. De Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice; Acting Chairperson Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing, Commission on Human Rights; A. Tinio, National Chaiperson of ACT; and CUPE Local 4600.

What you can do

CUPE members are encouraged to take action by sending an email or letter to the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Demand an end to human rights abuses and an end to extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.

Send to:

Mr. H. E. Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miquel
Manila, Philippines
Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3936

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