Edit Blog Post
Published: September 24th 2008
Case Type: Enforced Disappearance
Victim: JAMES M. BALAO
Member, CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE
President, OCLUPAN CLAN ASSOCIATION
An indigenous person belonging to the Ibaloi and Kankanaey
tribes of Benguet
Place of the Incident: somewhere between his residence in Fairview, Baguio City and his family
residence in La Trinidad, Benguet
Date of the Incident: 17 September, 2008
Alleged Perpetrators: unidentified elements of the Intelligence Security Unit (ISU) of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines
Account of the Incident:
On the morning of September 17, 2008 at 7 AM James Balao left his residence in Fairvew, Baguio
City, intending to go to his family residence in La Trinidad, Benguet. He informed his family that he
was going home that day through a text message at about 6:45 am. He was not able to reach home
and has not been in contact with his family or friends since, nor have they been able to contact him.
In the first week of June, 2008 Balao began reporting regular surveillance to his family, which
increasingly heightened until his disappearance last week. He had often observed white and blue vans
tailing him from his residence on his daily chores.
According to a reliable source, Balao is even listed in the AFP dossier as the head of the Communist
Party of the Philippines (CPP) Education Bureau in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions.
The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance believes that the surveillance and enforced disappearance of
Balao was perpetrated by state security forces as a part of their operations under Oplan Bantay Laya,
a policy of categorizing legal people's organizations and their staff and volunteers as “front
organizations” and “supporters” of the of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) or National
Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) or the New People’s Army (NPA). This policy has led to
the surveillance, harassment and intimidation,abduction and killing of members an leaders of
progressive people’s organizations all over the country.
Your urgent response to this action alert is being sought.
Please send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:
1. The immediate surfacing and release of James Balao by his captors.
2. The authorities, particularly the Philippine National Police, to agressively assist the Balao
family, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and the Cordillera Human Rights Aliance in their search
for James Balao.
3. The immediate termination of Oplan Bantay Laya which has labelled legal progressive
organizations such as the Cordillera Peoples Alliance as “sectoral fronts” of the Communist
Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New Peoples
4. The Philippine Government to observe the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and other international human
rights laws and declarations such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
You may send your communications to the addresses below.
(You may use the Letter of Concern which is printed below this URGENT ALERT)
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
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 635 9579
SEC. GILBERTO C. TEODORO JR.
Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
SEC. RAUL M. GONZALEZ
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
HON. LEILA DE LIMA
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
ATTY. RUSSELL MA-AO
Commission on Human Rights - Cordillera Administrative Region
SSS Bldg., Harrison Road, Baguio City
Tel: 074 619 9089
ATTY. AMADOR P. BATAY-AN
NCIP-Cordillera Administrative Region
2/F Hillside Square, Km. 4, La Trinidad, Benguet Province, 2601
Tel. Fax no.: (074)422-41-73
ATTY. EUGENIO A. INSIGNE
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
2nd Floor N. dela Merced Building,
Cor. West and Quezon Avenues,
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Telephone (63 2) 373-97-87
Telefax (63 2) 373-97-65
MAJOR LLEWELLYN R. BINASOY
Chief Research & Special Concerns Division
Assistant Chief, AFP Indigenous Peoples Affairs Desk
Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City
ATTY. SEDFRY CANDELARIA
Chairperson, Government of the Republic of the Philippines Section
Joint Monitoring Committee - CARHRIHL
6/F Immaculate Conception MultiPurpose Center,
41 Lantana St., Cubao
Quezon City, Philippines
Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said government official to our address
URGENT ACTION Prepared by the:
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA)
No. 10 Rimando Road, Baguio City, 2600
Tel/Fax: 074 445-2586 cel:09189199007
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com
Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)
#2 P. Guevarra Street, Baguio City, 2600
Tel: 074 442 2115; fax: 074 443 7159
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
LETTER OF CONCERN
We are alarmed and disturbed with the enforced disappearance of Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) member James M. Balao since September 17, 2008. His family has no information of his whereabouts up to this moment. We urgently call for the immediate and unconditional surfacing of James, in the spirit of upholding our basic human rights, very basic of which is the right to life and security which must not be denied to anyone.
His enforced disappearance is being attributed to his work with the legal people’s movement advocating indigenous peoples rights, human rights and social justice. Balao has reported that he was being surveilled since June and this heightened until his disappearance last week. The CPA and the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) point to military intelligence agents as the perpetrators of this violation.
Since the Arroyo government implemented its Operation Plan Bantay Laya in 2001, members and leaders of legal and legitimate people’s organizations such as the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) have been targeted for neutralization by agents of the state and are unjustly labeled as communist fronts and terrorist organizations. Innocent lives have already been claimed as a result of this State policy of political and extrajudicial killings, and Balao is the second case of enforced disappearance to a CPA member or officer, since Ama Daniel Ngayaan was abducted in 1987.
We ask the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines to fully assist the family, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance in the search for James Balao.
The State policy Oplan Bantay Laya which has labelled legal progressive organizations such as the Cordillera Peoples Alliance as “sectoral fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army should be immediately terminated. We call on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to sincerely implement the recommendations of United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston - “As Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the President must take concrete steps to put an end to those aspects of counterinsurgency operations which have led to the targeting and execution of many individuals working with civil society organizations”.
We call on the Philippine Government to observe the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and other international human rights laws and declarations such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The search for James Balao gets more and more urgent by the minute. He must be immediately and unconditionally surfaced.
Tot: 1.24s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 9; qc: 49; dbt: 0.025s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb