Urgent Action: Two more human rights activists murdered anew in Mindoro Oriental, PhilippinesPublished by MAC on 2004-02-13
During the Philippine National Mining conference in May 2002, Dr. Jun Saturay, who was then the Chairman of Kalipunan ng Makabayan Mindoreno (Network of Patriotic Mindorenos), reported that there were five mass leaders and anti-mining activists killed since 2001 in Mindoro island.
Mindex Resources Development Inc. (Mindex) of Norway - which merged with Crew Development Corporation of Canada - launched the Mindoro Nickel Project which covers 9,720 hectares in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Vice Mayor Juvy Magsino actively participated in opposing the said project and militarization in the area. This is one of the reasons why the Vice Mayor Magsino became so prominent and loved by the people of Mindoro.
Below is an action letter denouncing the recent murder of human rights and anti-mining TNCs activists in Mindoro.
Click here for a photgraph showing the murdered activists, Juvy and Leima
Urgent Action: Two more human rights activists murdered anew in Mindoro Oriental, Philippines
13 February 2004
Vice Mayor Juvy M. Magsino
. 34 years old, single
. Vice Mayor of Naujan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines
. Chairperson of Mindoro for Justice and Peace
. Chairperson of the Vice Mayors' League Mindoro Oriental,
. Human Rights Lawyer
. Honorary Member of Gabriela
. Candidate for Mayor of Naujan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines
endorsed by Bayan Muna, Partylist Group for the May 2004, National
. A resident of Barangay Adrealuna, Naujan, Mindoro Oriental,
. 27 years old, single
. Acting Secretary-General of KARAPATAN-Mindoro Oriental
. Volunteer Staff of Mindoro for Justice and Peace
. Member of Bayan Muna Calapan City
. Public School Teacher at the Suqui Elementary School,
Calapan,Mindoro Oriental, Philippines
. A resident of Barangay Maidlang, Calapan City, Mindoro Oriental,
III. Date : 13 February 2004 at about 11:00 PM
IV. Place : Barangay Amuguis, Naujan, Mindoro Oriental,
V. Alleged perpetrators:
Elements of the 204th Infantry Brigade, whose Commanding Officer is Col. Ferdinand L. Mesa with General Headquarters at Pinagsabangan Uno, Naujan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines under the 2nd Infantry Division of which Col. Jovito Palparan, Jr. is Deputy Commander; A paramilitary group and incumbent Mayor Norberto Mendoza of Naujan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines
VI. Summary of Incident:
At around 11:00 PM of February 13, 2004, Vice Mayor Juvy Magsino, 34 years old and a resident of Barangay Adrealuna, Naujan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines, along with Leima Fortu, 27 years old and a resident of Barangay Maidlang, Calapan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines were on their way to Vice Mayor Magsino's friend to get a computer in Pinagsabangan, Naujan, Mindoro Oriental. After passing through a place called "Curba" in Pinagsabangan going to Amuguis, they were already being tailed by elements believed to belong to the 204th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army. In Barangay Amuguis, the two men on board a motorcycle with no plate number peppered the Vice Mayor's vehicle with bullets. Witnesses claimed that the two were armed with a 9mm gun and an armalite. The General Headquarters of the 204th Infantry Brigade was only a hundred meters away from the ambush site.
Vice Mayor Magsino suffered three gunshot wounds on her head without exit points; and one each on her chest, shoulder and neck. Leima also had gunshot wounds on her chest, near her right ear, knee and shoulder.
At the time of her death Vice Mayor Magsino was the Chairperson of Mindoro for Justice and Peace, Chairperson of the Vice Mayors' League in Mindoro Oriental, Philippines, honorary member of Gabriela and was running for Mayor of Naujan against the incumbent Mayor Norberto Mendoza. She was also a known human rights lawyer for KARAPATAN-Mindoro Oriental and the fisherfolks group PAMALAKAYA-Mindoro Oriental.
Leima Fortu was a public school teacher at the Suqui Elementary School in Calapan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines. She was Acting Secretary General of KARAPATAN-Mindoro Oriental, a volunteer staff of Mindoro for Justice and Peace and a member of the partylist group Bayan Muna Calapan City Chapter.
Prior to her death, Vice Mayor Magsino was known to be very vocal against the former 204th IBPA Commanding Officer Col. Jovito Palparan, Jr. and the increasing military deployment in the island province.
KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog spokesperson Irein Cuasay, told the KARAPATAN National Office that Vice Mayor Magsino had recently called her a few days before she was shot dead. Vice Mayor Magsino informed Irein that she had received two death threats claiming that she would no longer live beyond February 15, 2004.
Her body lies in state at the Varcenaga Funeral Homes in Naujan, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines. The place is teeming with military men and a soldier reportedly took a picture of the Vice Mayor's wake.
Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:
1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the summary execution of Vice Mayor Juvy Magsino and Leima Fortu of Mindoro Oriental, Philippines;
2. The investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime;
3. The immediate and proper indemnification of the family/relatives of the victims; and
4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of its provisions.
You may send your communications to:
H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Hon. Teresita Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
7F Agustin Building I
Pasig City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 636 0701 to 0766
Fax: (+632) 638 2216
Hon. Eduardo R. Ermita
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Camp Emilio Aguinaldo
E. de los Santos Avenue,
Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 912-9281
Fax: (+632) 911 6213
Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said government official to our address below:
URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights)-National
43 Masikap St. Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice: (+632) 435 4146 / Fax: (+632) 928 6078
Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org; / email@example.com
Background - from ABS-CBN News
'They accuse me of being an NPA'
Sunday 15th February 2004
By Ire Jo V.C. Laurente, Today Correspondent
Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro - "They accuse me of being an NPA [New People's Army] member."
These were the last words this reporter heard from murdered Vice Mayor Juvy Magsino of Naujan. The statement was elicited when this reporter kidded her about her wearing jewelry then. It was on the eve of President Arroyo and her slate's visit to the province.
Five hours after the President left the province on Friday afternoon, Magsino, 34, and her companion, Leima Fortu, were killed. Seven bullets pierced through her body, three in the head.
Juvy, as she was fondly called by friends and colleagues, was a lawyer. Born from a poor family in barangay Adrialuna, Naujan, she was a consistent honor student and leader during her school days.
When she entered college at University of the East-Recto in Manila, she joined militant student organizations that helped in the toppling of the Marcos dictatorship. She was also there when farmers from all over the country held a rally, where a dozen were massacred in Mendiola in the early years of the Aquino administration.
She set aside her militant activism when she entered law school at the Manuel L. Quezon University in Manila to fulfill her father's dream that she become a lawyer. She studied and worked at the same time. She graduated with honors and was a recipient of the Justice Arsenio P. Dizon Memorial Award. She passed the bar in 1994 and was among the top 10 in her school.
Back in Mindoro, she served as counsel in a realty group and taught law in two schools. She ran for councilor in her town and handily won, garnering the biggest number of votes in the political history of the town.
But the call to serve the less privileged was really deep in her mind. Thus, she was always available when the fisher folk, farmers, Mangyans and political activists sought her legal expertise.
She was the chairman of the environmental group Alyansa Laban sa Mina in Naujan that spearheaded the struggle of Mindoro folk against the planned nickel-mining in the province by Canada-based Crew Minerals.
In her vice-mayoral bid in the last elections, she was endorsed by party-list Bayan Muna and other militant groups like the human rights watchdog Alyansa para sa Pagsusulong ng Karapatan ng Mamamayan.
After winning in the last elections, she was elected president of the Oriental Mindoro chapter of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines. She was also at the forefront of issues on human rights violations allegedly committed by elements of the Army, the headquarters of which was established in her hometown.
Then 204th Brigade commander Col. Jovito Palparan Jr. was quoted as saying that the Army will be watching Magsino.
This coming elections, she would have fought it out with incumbent Mayor Norberto Mendoza, with whom she was at odds on many issues. The two had a friction when the mayor wanted to implement an ordinance covering a portion of the famous Naujan Lake which Magsino viewed would be detrimental to the small fishermen.
When she started receiving death threats since last year, Magsino kidded her friends, saying that when she dies they should prepare a tribute for her.
"'Pag wala na ako, gandahan n'yo naman ang parangal para sa akin, ha? Sabihin n'yo 'yung mga ginawa natin sa tao at sa bayan," her colleague in Kubayi Foundation quoted her as joking.
On Wednesday, February 11, she forwarded to a journalist-friend a text message sent to her that said she would not last until the end of February. On February 13, a few hours after President Arroyo left, she was killed, possibly still wearing the jewelry that she thought would shield her from being branded an NPA by her critics.
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