House Resolution 2541 on the Arrest of Fisherfolk Leader Francisco Laza in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, by Anakpawis Rep. Ka Ayik Casilao

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City, Metro Manila

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2541

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INTRODUCED BY
ANAKPAWIS PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE ARIEL B. CASILAO

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RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE APRIL 5, 2019 – ARREST OF FRANCISCO LAZA, CHAIRPERSON OF DANAO RIVER FISHERMEN ASSOCIATION (DARIFA) AND FISHERMAN BIENVENIDO JIPITULAN, AFTER A WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF THEIR HOUSES IN BRGY. LANGUB, ESCALANTE CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL BY ELEMENTS OF THE 79TH INFANTRY BATTALION OF THE PHILIPPINE ARMY

WHEREAS, on April 5, 2019, at around 9am, more than a hundred elements of the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) raided the houses of fisherfolk, Francisco Laza, 54 years old, and Bienvenido Jipitulan, 55 years old, in Hacienda Gaylan and five others in Sitio Lawis, Brgy. Langub, Escalante City in Negros Occidental. The operations were warrantless, according to the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW). Francisco Laza is the Chairperson of Danao River Fishermen Association;

WHEREAS, at around 2:30pm, Laza and Jipitulan were brought to the city police station and the military are charging them with illegal possession of .38 caliber handgun and grenades;

WHEREAS, people’s organizations, such as the Pamalakaya – Negros and NFSW promptly condemned the abuse against the fisherfolk and asserted that the evidences were planted, characterized of the modus operandi of government security forces;

WHEREAS, prior to the April 5 incident, on April 2, 2019, elements of the 79th IBPA, also raided five houses at around 2 to 4am in Sitio Dugma, Brgy. Winaswasan, Calatrava town. The house of Reneboy Dañoso was illegally and forcibly searched by 2 armed men wearing bonnets, who introduced themselves as rangers. Another house, of Bernie Melga, was raided by two armed men;

WHEREAS, the groups blamed President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of the Memorandum 32 that targets activists in Samar, Negros island and Bicol region and its implementation in the Negros island, is de facto martial law, as part and parcel with the mass killing of 14 peasants in March 30, 2019;

WHEREAS, the groups are demanding for the immediate and unconditional releases of Francisco Laza and Bienvenido Jipitulan and the stop to militarization of fisherfolk communities in the Negros island;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Human Rights conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the April 5, 2019 – arrest of Franciso Laza, Chairperson of DARIFA and fisherman Bienvenido Jipitulan, after a warrantless sarch of their houses in Brgy. Langub, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, by elements of the 79th IBPA.

Adopted,

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