Japan Aid Threat Prompts GMA to Act
on Peasant Leader’s Killing
Is there a connection between acting on a case of political killing and
the Japanese government’s release of funding for an irrigation project?
BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Posted by Bulatlat
after the incident, a human rights watchdog in the Cordillera said that
Task Force Usig of the Philippine National Police (PNP) finally conducted
an investigation into the killing of peasant leader Jose Doton at the PNP
headquarters in San Nicolas, Pangasinan on December 22.
Macapagal-Arroyo reportedly ordered the investigation as she was allegedly
being pressured by the Japanese government and various non-government
organizations (NGOs) to solve the killing. According to Imelda Tabiando,
deputy secretary-general of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA),
the release of billions of pesos for an irrigation project which is part
of the San Roque Dam Project is being withheld due to the unabated
In a press
conference last December 19, Tabiando said that Macapagal-Arroyo’s move is
meant to show concern for political killings, particularly the case of
Doton, secretary-general of Tignay dagiti Mannalon a Mangwaya-waya ti Agno
(Timmawa), a peasant alliance in Pangasinan and Benguet that opposes the
San Roque Dam project.
project is worth P8.2 billion ($166.4 million, based on an exchange rate
of P49.28 per US dollar), 75 percent of which will be funded by the
Japanese government through its official development assistance (ODA),
according to the Friends of the Earth in Japan (FoE Japan). The remaining
25 percent will be shouldered by the Philippine government.
“Friends of the
Earth – Japan learned that Doton was shot dead on May 16 because he had
been engaged in campaigns against the Japanese-funded project, namely the
San Roque Multi-purpose Project,” stated Naomi Kanzaki, Development
Finance and Environment Program Officer of FoE Japan, in a press release
dated December 19.
that the Japanese Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed
strong concern about the political killings when they visited the
Philippines last December 8 and 9. At that time, the Japanese officials
urged Macapagal-Arroyo to address the issue of political killings,
including that of Doton, before they release the funds.
The NGOs on
December 7 submitted a petition, signed by 1,325 Japanese, urging
Macapagal-Arroyo to solve the political killings. They also urged the
Philippine government “to disband any death squads, private armies,
vigilantes, criminal gangs and paramilitary forces operating outside the
chain of command but with official support; to ensure that all complaints
and reports of political killings are investigated promptly, impartially
and effectively; and to ensure that those responsible for political
killings are brought to justice in accordance with international
Aside from the
FoE Japan, the other Japanese NGOs included the Amnesty International
Japan, Campaign for Future of Filipino Children (CFFC), Citizens’ Group to
review the “50th Anniversary of the Philippines and Japan
Friendship,”National Christian Council in Japan and WAYAWAYA. Bulatlat
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© 2006 Bulatlat
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