An Open Letter
From Grassroots Organizations in Vancouver, BC
to Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III
21 September 2015
Dear President BS Aquino III,
We, the undersigned organizations are writing you to express our urgent concern over the recent extra-judicial killings in Mindanao, the militarization of peasant and Lumad communities including occupation of schools by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary groups, and the escalating displacement of Lumad people in violation of their human rights.
Our organizations encompass a variety of sectors and concerns, but we are united in our outrage at the murderous counter-insurgency being carried out under your regime and in our call for you to immediately stop the militarization of Lumad and peasant communities, to put an end to extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses, and to return to negotiations towards a just and lasting peace.
We recognize that the Lumad and peasant organizations have been active in defending their communities and ancestral territories against development aggression, including against Canadian mining companies. As organizations in Canada we support the rights of Indigenous people to struggle for social justice and self-determination within their ancestral territories and we call on you to end the violent and punitive repression of this struggle and to side with the people and not with foreign corporations who only want to plunder the resources of the Philippines.
Mr. Aquino, as you near the end of your term as President of the Republic of the Philippines your legacy is tainted by corruption and the blood of innocents. We urge you to turn away from this path and side with the interests of the Filipino masses by ending the counter-insurgency, seeking real justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses and returning to peace negotiations towards a just and lasting peace.
Alliance for Peoples Health
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy
Canada Palestine Association
Cafe Rebelde Collective
Kathara Cultural Collective
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network
East Indian Defense Committee
Vancouver Solidarity with Ayotzinapa
Red Sparks Union
The Open Letter to Pres. BS Aquino III was received by Mr. Anthony Mandap, Deputy Consul of the Philippine Consulate- Vancouver, BC. Each member-representative from grassroots organization had expressed their concern on the spate of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations particularly on the case of the Lumad people in Mindanao.