Archive for the ‘Davao City’ Category

Davao mayor denies the existence of a death squad blamed for more than 800 murders

March 31, 2009

It’s appalling to learn that since 1998, there are about 800 deaths which the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) attributes to death squads in Davao City. Leila de Lima, chairman of CHR says the unsolved killings are the most audacious violations of human rights prompting an inquiry over the “Davao Death Squad” aka DDS.

There have been reports that killers aren’t afraid of being identified for no one responsible for the hundreds who were killed have been prosecuted. The CHR chief is met with a challenge from Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who denies that death squad exists in his jurisdiction. He blames the deaths to drug traders and gang wars. The mayor ostensibly challenges the CHR to come up with evidence that his government is involved in vigilante killings.

“The Coalition Against Extrajudicial Summary Executions (CASE), composed of rights groups, and religious and concerned individuals, has tallied 814 vigilante-style executions from 1998 to February this year. More killings happened in the city this month. Many of the victims were reported to have had criminal records.”—-Inquirer (03/31/09, Tupas, JM)

Judge Isaac Robillo, the executive judge of the Regional Trial Court of Davao believes DDS exists and is condoned by a “bigger person,” —otherwise, the killings wouldn’t go on for such a long time with unrestrained brazenness.

The Rape & Slay of Rebelyn Pitao

It is said 185 and 45 of the victims are young adults and children respectively—an ignominious record for a place that prides itself of peace and order. The most recent is the brutal slaying of 20-year old teacher Rebelyn Pitao, the daughter of a communist New People’s Army (NPA) commander Leoncio Pitao.

Unidentified men snatched Rebelyn earlier this month while she was on her way home. The following day, she was found dead. Her body disclosed signs of torture and rape. Her father and Duterte tagged the military as responsible for her death.

The huge number of unsolved deaths is mind-boggling. Since 1998, only one case of summary execution has been filed and the public seems comfortable with such an astounding record. By death squad or not, if truly murders happen in the city how nothing has been done for 20 years to stop the lawless killings? De Lima rightfully asks the public to speak out against the immoral practice of taking the life of human beings without judicial process. About 16% of those killed in Davao are between 13 to 17 years old.

The defensive Mayor Duterte is reputedly overbearing in dealing with petty criminals in Davao. If he has nothing to do with the murders, why doesn’t he take the lead to probe the deaths so that justice can be served? Instead of showing lack of cooperation, isn’t it good to work with the CHR to get into the bottom of the crimes? Vigilante killings destroy the public reliance to the rule of law. (Photo Credits: Keith Bacongco; Barryohaylan)=0=

=========================================================

Davao jailbirds in an April 2009 concert

December 6, 2008

Fr. Hermes Sabud, the Catholic chaplain of the Archdiocese Commission on Prison Welfare (ACPW) has a good idea. He has a plan of transforming jailbirds into songbirds. He’s readying to showcase the singing talents Davao Jail in a concert slated on April 4, 2009.

The remarkable show is to benefit the activities of the prison ministry. Just like the Cebu Provincial Jail dancers who entertained their audience with sometimes funny choreographed routines, the singers will do their job with music.

The unusual Davao concert is a timely invitation to all Filipinos to appreciate people’s talents. They can be found in seemingly unlikely places. In prison, a self-help fund-raising by those detained is commendable. Rather than staying idle in congested cells with little hope for social integration and improvement, the prisoners, in their incarceration, have a chance to harness their time and energy for a useful purpose. (Photo Credit: Andy Maluche: Melibinux)=0=

THE CEBU PRISON DANCERS

===========================================================

Southern Philippines’ Colorful Kadayawan

August 28, 2008




On the main day of the celebration the major Davao tribes and various invited non-Davao tribes like the Talaandig, Dibabawon, Sangil, Subanen and T’boli performed in the main plaza. Eye-popping shiny but authentic costumes were plenty in display alongside native musical instruments. The crowds rushed the stage when it was the turn of the T’boli maiden to perform and I was able to see with my own eyes that their reputation was not undeserved.” —Apolonio Baylon, UP Ibalon, Davao City, Philippines. Photo Credits: Eric Dee/byahilo.com =0=

The Kadayawan Festival

August 26, 2008

Last week Davao City held its traditional pagan festival, the Kadayawan Festival which was held 1 week late. Cited cause was the lack of funds though others believe the reason is probably security in nature. Lack of coordination was evident as most malls held their sale period on the original schedule.

Crowds were noticeable thinner this year though this trend started last year. The city’s mayor, Rodrigo Duterte does not seem too enthusiastic anymore about his job resulting in festival preparations that lack vigor. The dropping of invitations to “semi-professional” street dancing troupes might have also affected visitor turnout. And the rise in fuel prices and fares might have been contributory factors too. But security concerns might be foremost among the reasons for the fall in visitor numbers.

Since last year the city’s mayor has de-emphasized commercial shows while at the same time he tried to project the native cultures of the city. In this year’s celebration put to the fore was the showcasing of the 10 recognized native tribes residing in Davao, the Ata Manobo, Ovu Manobo, K’lata (or Guiangan), Tagabawa (or Bagobo), Matigsalog, Kalagan, Sama, Taosug, Maranao and Maguindanaon .

A contest called the “Hiyas ng Kadayawan” which is limited to the 10 tribes was held. This contest includes cultural skills and was won by the fair lady from the Kalagan tribe. The costumes they wore were entirely native.

An exposition of native food and products was also held in the main plaza. For days the natives were selling native viands, cookies and sweets and it was a feast to taste them especially  since most were sold on “friendship prices.” Various handicrafts were also on display and available for sale. All the sellers were in their native costumes all the time and their sight is already enough compensation for the visit.

In a nearby park downsized but livable versions of the the natives’ houses were on display which included authentic domestic wares. At various hours the natives which are always in native costumes perform their dances. Being authentic their movements and rhythms contrast well with the bastardized “Ati-atihan” one usually sees during fiestas. In enthusiasm though not in refinement the two Manobo tribes, the Ata (which roughly corresponds to the Agta or Aeta of Luzon) and the Ovu will probably win hands down.

On the main day of the celebration the major Davao tribes and various invited non-Davao tribes like the Talaandig, Dibabawon, Sangil, Subanen and T’boli performed in the main plaza. Eye-popping shiny but authentic costumes were plenty in display alongside native musical instruments. The crowds rushed the stage when it was the turn of the T’boli maidens to perform and I was able to see with my own eyes that their reputation was not undeserved.

It was only a bit sad when I realized that most of the performers were no longer young.

All the tribes’ display were side-by-side during the entire event and they intermingled and talked freely with all the due consideration and courtesy one could expect. When the exposition closed all that I was wishing was that if they can only hold it for a longer period….