Desaparecidos to Pope: Disappearances destroyed our families

Press Release: January 19, 2015

"Enforced disappearances have destroyed our families, the very foundation of a society and church. Children are left motherless or fatherless," Lorena Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice said upon hearing Pope Francis' speech at Malacañang and in his meeting with representatives of Filipino families.

Lorena Santos
Lorena P. Santos, secretary general - Desaparecidos
"The remaining members of the family had to seek refuge away from their way home to secure their lives. We live in fear and in constant threat," Santos said. "In this way, dear Pope, we feel only violence, cruelty and further inequality," Santos continued.

"Our pain and suffering in search for our disappeared loved ones have been too long. But the consequences of enforced disappearance in the communities and the society leave a deeper scar that frightens, and even silence anyone who thinks of voicing out for the poor," Santos said. "This is what our missing loved ones did, serve the poor and became their voice. This is why they were abducted and disappeared," Santos continued.

"With your call to our government leaders for “moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity' we, families of desaparecidos find in our hearts the need to enjoin you in our quest for justice," Santos asked the “People's Pope”.

"We have written you letters to ask for your help. We hope these letters will reach you," Santos said. "Our missing loved ones deserve justice. Their children and the younger generations need to be assured that crimes against humanity should not go with impunity," Santos said. "We don’t want our children and the youth to continue to live a life of injustice and inequality, " Santos added.

"We ask you dear Pope, to call on to stop enforced disappearances in the Philippines and in other countries. Again, be with us in our quest for justice to all victims of human rights violations," Santos said.

"Our missing loved ones believed and worked for a just society, free from the bondage of inequality. Like you, we believe that this is what 'heaven on earth' means. Like you, we want to build this society for our children," Santos concluded. ###

Reference: Lorena P. Santos, secretary general - Desaparecidos


Fasting in Solidarity with Political Prisoners in the Philippines

News Release:  Thursday, January 15, 2015 

The Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns calls on its members and supporters to join in a 24-hr fast starting at 6 pm Saturday, January 17 until 6 pm Sunday, January 18, 2015 in solidarity with political prisoners in the Philippines.

The almost 500 political prisoners in 43 jails across the Philippines started a hunger strike-fast January 15, 2015 as they also lit candles to welcome Pope Francis, who was beginning a 4-day visit to that country. The hunger strike aims to highlight the call to release all political prisoners and for Pope Francis to intercede on their behalf. 

People’s cry for justice and peace 

Christina Palabay, of the Philippine human rights organization Karapatan, explained that the political prisoners are among those people who, “question, challenge, or change the unjust order; those who are threatened, killed, disappeared or detained by the authorities who have guns and tanks to protect the rich, the hacienderos, and the powerful.”
The unjust order, she explained, is the unabated violations of the“people’s rights to land, decent jobs and living wages, shelter, accessible health and education services.”
“No amount of posh welcome rites or overkill security arrangements by the current administration can hide the glaring poverty and injustice in Philippine society, especially amid corruption scandals that rocked the nation these past years,” she added.
Karapatan reiterated its call for the BS Aquino government to address the roots of the armed conflict through peace negotiations, instead of going into military campaigns of suppression against the people. “The state of unpeace and the narratives of oppression continue,” she said.
With His Holiness’ visit to the Philippines, Karapatan enjoins Pope Francis to “hear the calls of political prisoners and their kin for their freedom, and the cry for justice of relatives of the desaparecidos and the victims of political killings. Theirs are voices that cannot be silenced, even by the most brutal forms of repression.”
“We ask him to stand with the poor and oppressed, and to struggle with us for just and lasting peace in our nation,” Palabay concluded. 
Community supper to break the fast, 6 pm, Sunday, January 18, 2015
CPC and other Philippine community groups in Montreal, invite you to join them in a community supper Sunday at 6:00 pm to end the fast, and to hear from family members of political prisoners in the Philippines and other updates.
Place: St Paul's Anglican Church basement
3970 chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montréal, QC, Canada H3T 1E3 QC (Metro Côte-Sainte-Catherine)
 Meanwhile, please adopt this logo on your Facebook pages, and please circulate this event information.


Appeal to the Canadian Government to increase the federal financial aid for typhoon Haiyan victims

November 25, 2013
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Harper,
Re: Appeal to the Canadian Government to increase the federal financial aid for typhoon Haiyan relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction
As the Canada Coordinating Committee of the International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) we would like to reiterate a request we made on November 12 that the Canadian government increase its relief assistance and commit to provide additional aid for long term rehabilitation and reconstruction to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. As of today, the death toll from what has been called possibly the strongest storm in history reached 5,235 with a further 1,613 missing and at least 11.3 million people are reportedly affected.
We welcome the aid offered by the Canadian government, including an initial announcement to provide up to $5-million to assist with immediate humanitarian aid in the communities in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan, and a decision to match the money donated by individual Canadians until December 9.
This was followed by up to $5 million to cover the deployment of relief supplies to the hardest-hit regions of the Philippines and a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) which was deployed to the city of Iloilo.
We were disappointed to learn that a further announcement of $15 million in aid was in fact not new assistance but a re-announcement of money already allotted for the matching funds, to which individual Canadians had already donated $19.8 million on the day of your announcement.
We believe the Canadian government has the financial capacity and the responsibility to the people of the Philippines and to the dynamic and growing Filipino community in Canada to considerably raise its level of assistance, particularly for medium and long term rehabilitation and reconstruction. The 600,000 Canadians of Filipino descent along with other generous Canadians and Canadian organizations have responded quickly to mobilize resources to aid the affected communities. However, private funding from individuals and charitable organizations can scarcely meet the enormous resources required for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction, particularly in the medium and long term.
A substantial increase in aid from the Canadian government would be in line with the international commitments and Canada’s response to past disasters. The UN has launched a flash appeal for $301 million for typhoon Haiyan emergency relief efforts to cover an initial period of six months. Australia, with a Filipino population one third the size of Canada’s, has announced almost CAD$30 million in direct aid.
In past emergencies of this magnitude, Canada has been among the major donors of assistance. It gave $425 million to countries hit by the 2004 tsunami. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Canada immediately allocated $150.15 million for humanitarian and initial reconstruction efforts and another $400 million for the Haiti Action Plan.
We thus appeal to the Canadian Government to increase Canada’s direct financial aid for Typhoon Haiyan relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction, in addition to what it has already promised.
We ask that information about the assistance provided by the Canadian Government to the Philippine Government and non-government organizations be made public to ensure transparency and public accountability for the use of the funds.

Bern Jagunos
On behalf of the Canada Coordinating Committee - International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines
Email address: ichrpcanada@yahoo.com
Mailing address:  c/o Bern Jagunos, 211 St. Patrick St., #702,Toronto, ON M5T 2Y9

Hon. Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development
Hon. John  Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Helene Laverdierre, NDP critic, Int’l. Development and deputy critic, Foreign Affairs
Mr. Paul Dewar, NDP critic, Foreign Affairs
Mr. Wayne Marston, NDP critic, Int’l. Human Rights
Hon. Irwin Cotler, Liberal Party critic, Rights and Freedoms, International Justice
Mr. Marc Garneau, Liberal Party critic, Foreign Affairs and Int’l. Trade
Ms. Kristy Duncan, Liberal Party critic, Consular Affairs and Int’l Development
Mr. Tobias Enverga, Conservative Party Member of the Senate
Rev. Barry Naylor, Chair, Global Council of the International Coalition for Human
       Rights in the Philippines

Download this letter in PDF format 


Comment aider les victimes du super typhon Haiyan aux Philippines

Nos pensées vont au peuple des Philippines à la suite du terrible typhon Haiyan (nom local Yolanda). Beaucoup d'entre vous aimeraient aider, ainsi nous avons dressé une liste des organisations populaires philippines qui sont actifs dans les zones les plus touchées. Le Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippines Concerns à Montréal travaille avec ces organisations depuis de nombreuses années, et nous savons qu'ils sont dignes de confiance, capables et que tous les fonds iront directement et rapidement aux plus nécessiteux.

Sagip-Migrante Fund

Migrante Canada canalise les secours de ses organisations membres vers le fond Sagip-Migrante. Ces fonds appuieront des missions de sauvetage, de la distribution de biens de première nécessité tels que le riz, des conserves et des bouteilles d'eau, la mise en place des soupes populaires et autres missions de secours dans les zones touchées de la région des Visayas.

Vous pouvez faire un don au Fonds Sagip-Migrante de Migrante Canada via PayPal avec le lien ci-dessous:
 Donate Button with Credit Cards
Les dons peuvent également être déposés directement dans le compte bancaire de Migrante Canada:
VanCity N ° de compte: 663682 Branch 3 (Succursale 3)
ou au compte bancaire de SAGIP Migrante aux Philippines:
Migrante International, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Kalayaan Branch Savings Account No. 1993-0859-16 Swift Code: BOPIPHMM **

Des biens de secours peuvent également être envoyées au bureau d'accueil de Migrante International: # 45 Cambridge St, Cubao, Quezon City.
Les reçus d'impôt pour dons de charité peuvent être fournis par Migrante Canada sur demande pour les dons de plus de 20,00 $. Veuillez communiquer avec migrantecanada@gmail.com pour plus d'informations.

BALSA (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan)

Vous pouvez également faire un don à BAYAN urgence initiative BALSA. Voir le site BAYAN Philippines pour plus de détails: http://www.bayan.ph
Dépôt direct - compte en dollars U.S. de Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan or BALSA:
Rita T. Baua, acct #180218002566-3; Metrobank, Tomas Morato, Quezon City; MBTCPHMM **

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) ou Nouvelle Alliance patriotique est un centre de campagne multisectorielle pour les organisations membres à travers les Philippines. BAYAN initie et / fait la promotion de projets de secours et de réhabilitation socio-économique en appuyant la défense des droits démocratiques des réfugiés de l’intérieur et les populations déplacées.

L’Église Unie du Canada

L'Église unie du Canada (UCC ) enverra les fonds reçus à la UCCP (Église unie aux Philippines) ou au Conseil national des Eglises des Philippines (NCCP) qui effectue le travail de secours. Des reçus d'impôt seront émis. Veuillez désigner des dons pour " Typhoon Haiyan Relief ".

Vous pouvez envoyer un don en ligne via la page de don sécurisé UCC:

Par téléphone: 416-231-5931 ou sans frais 1-800-268-3781 et utilisez votre carte Visa ou MasterCard.

En envoyant un chèque, mandat ou des renseignements Visa ou MasterCard avec le montant du don à: 

L'Église Unie du Canada - Groupe philanthropie - Intervention d'urgence:
3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 300
Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4

N'oubliez pas de noter "Emergency Response- Typhoon Haiyan Relief " sur le devant de votre chèque. 

Autres collectes de fonds locales en cours:

Montréal :
Vendredi 15 novembre. présentation du film " Busong " 18h00 à Cuisine de Manille (Victoria Ave coin Bourret) . (Organisé par le groupe des jeunes Anakbayan) https://www.facebook.com/events/545909998832328

Samedi le 16 novembre. Dîner de collecte de fonds à l'Église Unie de Beaconsfield, 18:00 https://www.facebook.com/events/228275437350292/

Dimanche le 17 novembre, Messe des migrants, Église Saint- Paul sur Côte Sainte- Catherine, 17h00 . La collecte sera versée aux victimes du typhon. Un diner communautaire suivra la messe.

** Noter que pour les envois bancaires, si vous mentionnez que l’argent est pour les secours aux Philippines, la banque ne chargera pas de frais normalement.


How to help the victims of super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines

Our hearts go out to the Philippine people in the wake of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda). Many of you would like to assist so we have put together a list of Philippine peoples' organizations who are active in the areas most affected. The Centre for Philippine Concerns - Centre d'appui aux Philippines has worked with these organizations for many years so we know they are trustworthy, capable and that all funds will go directly and quickly to the most needy.

Sagip-Migrante Fund

Migrante Canada is organizing among its member organizations through the Sagip-Migrante Fund Drive. Funds will be in support of rescue missions, distribution and delivery of essential goods such as rice, canned goods and bottled water, setting up of soup kitchens and other relief missions in affected areas in the Visayan region.

You can donate to Migrante Canada's Sagip-Migrante Fund through PayPal with the link below:
 Donate Button with Credit Cards
Donations can be also directly deposited to Migrante Canada's bank account:
VanCity Account #: 663682 Branch 3
or to
SAGIP Migrante’s bank account in the Philippines:
Migrante International Bank of the Philippines Islands, Kalayaan Branch Savings Account No. 1993-0859-16 Swift Code: BOPIPHMM **

Relief goods may also be sent to Migrante International’s Home Office: #45 Cambridge St, Cubao, Quezon City.
Charitable tax receipts may be provided by Migrante Canada upon request for donations over $20.00. Please email migrantecanada@gmail.com for more information.

BALSA (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan)

You can also donate to the BAYAN emergency initiative BALSA (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan). See the BAYAN Philippines website for details: http://www.bayan.ph

BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN) or New Patriotic Alliance is a multi-sectoral campaign center for its member organizations across the Philippines. BAYAN initiates and/or promotes socio-economic relief and rehabilitation projects in support and in defense of the democratic rights of internal refugees and other victims of militarization and natural and man-made calamities, especially among the peasants and national minorities in the countryside.

* Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan or BALSA, US dollar account:
Rita T. Baua, acct #180218002566-3; Metrobank, Tomas Morato, Quezon City; MBTCPHMM **

United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada (UCC) will send funds received to the UCCP (United Church of Christ in the Philippines) or NCCP (National Council of Churches of the Philippines) who are carrying out relief work. Tax Receipts will be issued so please include full name and address. Please designate donations for "Typhoon Haiyan Relief".

DONATE online via UCC secure donation page:

Phone 416-231-5931 or toll-free 1-800-268-3781 and use your Visa or MasterCard.

Send a cheque, money order, or Visa or MasterCard information with donation amount to: 

The United Church of Canada Philanthropy Unit - Emergency Response 3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 300 Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4

Please be sure to note "Emergency Response—Typhoon Haiyan Relief" on the face of your cheque. 

Other local fund-raising initiatives underway:

Nov 15, Friday, Anakbayan film showing "Busong" 6:00 pm at Cuisine de Manille (Victoria Ave cor Bourret). https://www.facebook.com/events/545909998832328 
Nov 16, Saturday, fundraising dinner at United Church in Beaconsfield, 6:00 pm.
Nov 17, Sunday, Migrants Mass, St. Paul's Church in Cote St. Catherine, 5:00pm. Collections will be donated to typhoon victims. Community dinner follows after the mass.

** NOTE: if you mention that you are sending money for the emergency in the Philippines, banks will normally not charge for the transfer or charge the bare minimum.


Victory: Detained Canadian student released, on flight back to Canada from Philippines

Kim Chatillon-Meunier
At 8:30 pm Manila time on Sunday, September 15 (8:30 am EST), Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Meunier was able to take her flight from Manila's NAIA Terminal 2 to Vancouver, Canada after being released from detention.

Kim was able to send a short text message from the plane: "Im on my flight, direct to vancouver with philippines airline :D I could never thank you enough for you help and I will always remeber it. People's lawyer and Karapatan were outstanding, you can count on my support." 

LATEST UPDATE: According to a text message from Émile Gauthier at 9:43 am EST, Monday, September 16, Kim had arrived safely at her home in Montréal, very tired but happy to be greeted by family and friends. Welcome back, Kim. Bienvenue chez toi, Kim!

On Sunday evening, September 15, 2013, Kim had stopped over at the Vancouver international airport on her way home to Montréal and was met by Jane Ordinario and other members of the group, Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights.

This is excellent news and is the result of strong pressure put on the Philippines authorities by the human rights organization, KARAPATAN, assisted by lawyers from the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) and other Philippine organizations in concert with organizations and individuals in Canada and around the world. Particular kudos to Tinay Palabay (Karapatan) and Edre Olalia (NUPL) and their respective organizations for a job very well done.

Canadian government officials were also apparently in contact with Kim.

Kim's detention received top level media attention in the Philippines and in Canada (TV and radio reports in both French and English on CBC, CTV, etc.) and was accompanied by a barrage of letters, e-mails, and other messages to the Philippine government and Canadian government officials. The rapidity of the strong response served to force the release of Kim during the weekend and in the face of some Philippine government officials’ attempts to delay any response until offices opened on Monday.

Kim was primarily in the Philippines for her internship requirement at the Université de Montreal, Canada where she is a regular student. She was selected by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) to go into an internship program in the Philippines called ‘Students for Development’ sponsored and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Kim was involved in the research and documentation of the reproductive health conditions of women in Tondo, Manila.

While in the Philippines, she was able to attend the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRPP) in July. She also joined the International Solidarity and Humanitarian Mission in Quezon Province, along with other foreign participants, shortly before the Conference.

We at the Centre d’appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns are very pleased for Kim, her family and loved ones here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions since learning that Kim had been detained on September 13. She was imprisoned after she attempted to board a plane to return home for apparently attending a rally in the Philippines last July. This action, which eye witnesses report Kim only arrived at late and simply observed, was attended by over 15,000 people on July 22, 2013. Such rallies have become a regular occurrence during the yearly State of the Union Address (SONA) by the Philippine President, with the Filipino people using SONA to address their concerns for better working and living conditions to the Philippine government.

While naturally very pleased at this outcome we are also very concerned for all those involved, like Kim, in people-to-people exchanges between Canada and the Philippines. Many such people are now apparently being placed on Philippine government “watch lists” and “black lists”.

Is this an attempt by the Philippine government to say that all those like Kim who decide to go to the Philippines and work with and participate in the activities of the people, especially the poor, are no longer welcome in the Philippines? Such activities could involve being with the people as they execute their basic democratic right to protest or rally and call attention to mistakes or misjudgments on the part of the Philippine government.

We certainly hope this is not the Philippine government's intention. However, this is the second such incident over the past three months. The other involved a young Dutch citizen, Thomas Van Beersum, who was also detained when he tried to catch a plane out of Manila, to be subsequently “deported” and told he was on a “black list” and could never return to the Philippines. Van Beersum was accused of attending the same SONA rally that Kim and about 100 other international delegates from the ICHRPP were invited to observe.

We join with groups in the Philippines and organizations here in Canada such as KAIROS in requesting an immediate end to the use of such “watch lists” and “black lists”. We also trust that the Canadian government will register a strong protest to the Philippine government on its serious mistreatment of a Canadian citizen and its use of these lists.

We look forward to welcoming Kim back in Montreal along with her family and friends. We will certainly be marking this victory during the 30th anniversary celebrations of our Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns at the Maison de l'amitié, 120 Duluth East, in Montreal, Quebec, next Saturday, September, 21, 2013. The celebration, getting underway at 7 pm with program at 8 pm, is open to all.


Joyce Valbuena

Malcolm Guy
Communications officer 

Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (Montréal)


CAP-CPC calls for immediate release of Canadian student in Philippines

September 13, 2013

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines

Re: Immediate release of Kim Chatillon-Meunier

Dear President Aquino:

On behalf of the Centre for Philippine Concerns (Centre d’appui aux Philippines) in Montreal, Canada, we call on the Philippine Government to immediately release Kim Chatillon-Meunier, a 24-year old student from Montreal who is currently being detained by Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials at the BI detention center in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig, Philippines.

According to immigration officials, Kim had been placed on a "watchlist" and is being held for allegedly participating in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) rally in July 2013. She was arrested at the airport as she was about to leave the country for Hong Kong on September 13, 2013 and was detained upon the order of BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison.

Kim Chatillon-Meunier, 24
Kim was in the Philippines as an intern from the international studies program of the University of Montreal, a project funded by the Canadian government. Her focus area of research and documentation has been the reproductive health conditions of women in poor communities in Tondo, Manila. Last July, Kim was a delegate to the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines and joined the international solidarity and humanitarian mission in Quezon Province prior to the conference.

Like many other Quebec students in the past, Kim has chosen to do her internship in the Philippines to learn from and share in the lives of the Filipino people, especially the poor and powerless. Is Kim’s arrest meant to instill fear and deter other internationalists from giving their support to the Filipino people’s struggle for basic rights and democratic freedoms? It certainly appears to be outright political harassment and a violation of the basic right to free expression. This detention is also reminiscent of the treatment of Dutch citizen Thomas van Beersum on his recent departure from the Philippines.

We are deeply concerned by these actions of the BI and the Philippine government and reiterate our call for Kim’s immediate release and her safe return home to Canada. We likewise request that such blacklists/watchlists be withdrawn or scrapped by the BI, as these are clearly tools for harassment and suppression of fundamental rights of those working to defend the human rights and basic dignity of the Filipino people.

We call on the Canadian government and its officials to apply the necessary diplomatic pressure on your government to ensure the immediate release of Kim Chatillon-Meunier and to deliver in the name of the Canadian people a strong statement of condemnation for this abuse and mistreatment of a Canadian citizen by Philippine officials.