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ICHRP-Canada Statement on the Killings of Dr. Mary Rose and Edwin Sancelan

Reference persons:
Patricia Lisson, Chair, ICHRP-Canada
Doug Booker, Secretary-General, ICHRP-Canada

16 December 2020

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – Canada (ICHRP-Canada), vehemently condemns as reports of red tagging, killings and mass arrests of human rights defenders and activists continue to pour in.

ICHRP-Canada joins freedom-loving Filipinos, people’s organizations, and international rights groups in strongly denouncing the killing of Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and her husband Edwin Sancelan shot to death by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on December 15. We send our deepest condolences to the Sancelan’s family and the communities and people they worked with.

Dr. Sancelan, the head of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Guihulngan City, was included in the so-called hit list of Kagubak, a local anti-communist vigilante group involved in red-tagging several organizations and individuals in the islands of Negros.

The merciless death of the Sancelan’s couple reveals how the Duterte regime continuously turns various provinces into places of bloodbath since it passed orders such as the Executive Order No. 70 and Memorandum Order No. 32 to legitimize the intensified presence of the police and military.

Mr. President, as Commander-in Chief, we hold you accountable for this crime of violence. Many activists, progressive organizations, and targeted communities are aware of the brutality and abuses that the State’s security forces are capable of and we see it more at an alarming rate.

ICHRP-Canada calls for the immediate lifting of Executive Order #70 and Memorandum #32, which have encouraged violence aimed at civilians in the area, as well as the demilitarization of the entire island of Negros.

We call for credible and impartial investigation and prosecution of these killings.

We call on your administration and all its institutions to uphold the basic human rights of the citizens whom you have sworn to serve.

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