Press Release
October 19, 2016


I am deeply concerned over the recent dispersals of rallying Indigenous Peoples (IPs) at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday and the US Embassy this morning. These two incidents may have gone beyond the allowable methods prescribed by law.

The lands of IPs have been taken away from them; they have become victims of militarization and development aggression. They marched here to let their concerns be heard by the government and the general public.

Considered as minorities in society, these IPs were merely exercising their right to peaceably assemble as guaranteed and protected by the 1987 Constitution. They have every right to air their grievances; and no one can take that right away from them. Our government should accord these IP with compassion and respect, instead of water cannons and patrol trucks as weapons of violent dispersal, as reported by news agencies[1].

It is clear in the PNP Manual of Operations that non-lethal methods shall be used to disperse such assemblies. It is quite obvious that the method used, particularly at this morning's assembly at the US Embassy, is obviously unnecessary and unreasonable, even if when a non-weapon was used. There is no excuse to use such dispersal, as the rallyists were clearly unarmed.

We must not lose sight of the fact that the assigned PNP units attempted to disperse the rally through unnecessary force. I call on PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa to look into this incident, identify the lapses, and enforce command responsibility in exacting accountability from the concerned officials involved in the dispersals.



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