Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Justice for Farly Alcantara II! Justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings!

Statement of the Asian Students Association on the brutal killing of Farly Alcantara II,
member of ASA-affiliated League of Filipino Students

February 16, 2007

Another future of the nation had been denied his own. By mere five bullets.

The Asian Students Association condemns in the strongest possible terms the brutal murder of Farly Alcantara II, a student leader and member of ASA-affiliated League of Filipino Students.

Alcantara, 23 years old, was shot five times in the head in Mercedes, Camarines Norte in Bicol, Philippines on the evening of February 16, 2007. The shooting happened while he was aboard a motorcycle with a teacher. His teacher was unharmed.

He is the latest of the more than 800 victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and the sixth in the youth sector since 2001, when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency resulting from the people’s ouster of Joseph Estrada.

As we in the ASA grieve for Alcantara’s unjust death, we express more our anger and frustration with the Arroyo government apparently unmoved and doing so little to immediately resolve the grave human rights situation in the Philippines.

Despite receiving a growing international pressure from various governments, organizations and institutions like Asian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and the United Nations to act on the call to stop the killings, the government does not seem to care.

The League of Filipino Students (LFS) itself, for a very long time, has been arbitrarily and unjustly tagged by the government as a communist front. Most of the student victims came from highly militarized regions like Bicol and are members of the LFS.

With this, the Arroyo administration is held liable in all these killings. It is very arrogant and disgraceful of her and her death squad to flex muscle through the brutal death of Alcantara just when Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings, is present in the country.

Many people have died and many enforced disappearances remain unresolved. Take the case of university students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were allegedly abducted by the Philippine military. They have not been resurfaced.

Alcantara is and will not just be a part of the statistics. His death, together with others, paints a vivid and concrete portraiture of the government’s abandonment of its responsibility to protect and uphold the rights and welfare of the people.

We in the ASA see this situation clearly – a betrayal of what many people call a democracy. This is a betrayal of the people’s trust, an utter disregard for their lives.

We urgently call on the immediate investigation and resolution of Alcantara’s death.

We likewise bring this to the attention of fellow youth and student organizations and other international institutions across Asia Pacific and the world. We call on all our members, our friends and colleagues, all human rights advocates and freedom-loving people to storm the Philippine government with letters and actions of protest.

His death will not go unnoticed. We will stand up for the life that was taken from him and for all the others who cry justice.

Japanese students condemn killing of Filipino student activist

Dear friends,

On February 19, 2007, AASJA held a protest at the Philippine Consulate in Osaka, the second largest city in Japan on the killing of Farly Alcantara, a student activist in the Philippines who was shot five times in the head on February 16.

At the consulate, we proceeded a petition to an officer, condemning the killings and alleged involvement of the military. In spite of our demand for response from the president office to our letters, the officer we met just said that he will pass it to the government and the decision whether to respond to this letter depends onthe president office and not him. He refused to make any comment on the issue.

The students spoke out their experiences in the Philippines with sadness and anger. We demanded the consulate to make public condemnationto the military's involvement in the killings, and give us any response to our letters because this is the representative office of the Philippine government for Japanese citizens. The officer said nothing but just "I will pass it to the president office."

After that, AASJA took to the streets and spoke out about the killings, handing out flyers. We posted some photos of political refugees, which we took last August in Bulacan. In the coming annual assembly of AASJA in March, we will have a lecture from Filipino activist about the current situation of the political killings, and will discuss further campaign on the issue in Japan.

In solidarity