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Aquino told: Stop the killings in Philippines

October 30, 2012 ·  , SunStar

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PHILIPPINE solidarity groups in New Zealand expressed their concern over the reported increase in the number of activists and journalists killed under Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.

Gathered at the farm of milk-producing cows in New Zealand, members of the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) noted that 1,000 activists and journalists were killed during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and this number continues to rise under the present administration.

“We don’t like our milk going to a country where activists are tortured and killed,” was the group’s message to President Aquino, who is in New Zealand upon the invitation of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. He will be in New Zealand until Tuesday, October 23, as he will proceed to Australia on October 24 to 26.

“When the previous President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, came to New Zealand in 2007, Helen Clark raised the human rights issue with her. We challenge John Key to do the same with President Aquino. Considering that the Philippines is one of New Zealand’s trade and economic partners, we believe that the attainment of political stability and resolution of the human rights crisis in the Philippines should also concern the New Zealand government,” said Murray Horton, secretary of PSNA.

NEW ZEALAND. Members of the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) in New Zealand urged President Noynoy Aquino to stop the killings in the Philippines. (Contributed photo)

In a joint letter, Helen Kelly, president of NZ Council of Trade Unions together with leaders of church-based groups Pax Christi, Christian World Service, United Methodist Church and Asian Council Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, joined calls for President Aquino to address continuing human rights abuses in light of reported 113 victims of extra-judicial killings under Aquino’s watch.

Helen Te Hira of Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS) also noted: “We’re greatly disturbed that such killings continue under Aquino’s watch, especially as the victims are our indigenous brothers and sisters defending their Papatuanuku (the land) and resisting mining plunder in their communities.”

Te Hira, a Maori (indigenous of NZ) activist, added: “In the Maori world view, land gives birth to all things, including humankind, and provides the physical and spiritual basis for life.”

The latest human rights victims noted by the group were members of the B’laan tribe, Juvy Capion and her two sons, who were massacred allegedly by the Philippine Army.

Juvy was a member of Kalgad, an organization of the B’laan tribe that is opposed to the entry of Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), citing there are about 30,000 B’laan who will be displaced from their ancestral lands with the entry and operation of Australia’s mining firm. (PR/Sunnex)

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