July 16, 2010
The Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of the STOP THE KILLINGS COALITION OF CANADA, we are writing to express our grave concern regarding the latest wave of political killings in the Philippines. Barely five days after the new President was sworn into office, the first extrajudicial killing of a political activist occurred. On July 5, 2010, Fernando Baldomero was shot to death in front of his 12-year-old son just metres from his home. Mr. Baldomera was the provincial coordinator for Bayan Muna and a reelected councillor of Lezo town. Since then, the killings have continued.
On July 11, peasant activist and Anak Pawis member Pascual Guevarra, 78, from Nueva Ecija was gunned down in his home while his 18 year old grandson survived. Just two days earlier, on July 9, 2010 in Masbate, Mark Francisco, 27, a member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) partylist organization, and Edgar Fernandez, 44, a public school teacher, were shot dead. Two journalists have also been killed.
Canada has a great deal of leverage to press the Philippine Government to take action and remedy the situation. CIDA's current annual disbursement to the Philippines is approximately CAD $25 million, and there is roughly CAD $1.5 billion in annual bilateral trade between Canada and the Philippines. In this context, it is imperative that that the Canadian government condemn these killings and take action to ensure that Canadian tax dollars are not complicit in funding the political assassinations and human rights violations perpetrated by the Philippine government.
The member organizations of the Canada-wide coalition to Stop the Killings in the Philippines (STKP) call on the Canadian Government to publicly press the newly-elected Government of President Aquino to take immediate and tangible steps to end the extrajudicial killings and to take effective action to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice and to ensure that human rights are upheld in their country. We also call on the Government of Canada to continue diplomatic pressure on the Government of the Philippines in this regard.
The impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these attacks and the extrajudicial killings in the last few years have only aggravated the violence. We sincerely hope that the new administration in the Philippines will act immediately to stop these senseless human rights violations that frequently result in death.
We sincerely hope that the Canadian government will take action to promote the protection of the human rights of Filipino peoples. Your actions and statements will also reassure and gain the confidence of members of Canada’s large Filipino community, which numbers over 400,000.
Members of the coalition to STOP THE KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES – CANADA
c.c.: Honourable Lawrence Cannon (PC), Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Jose S. Brillantes, Ambassador of the Philippines to Canada
John Cannis (L), Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre
Don Davies (NDP), Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway
Francine Lalonde, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Bernard Patry, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
The coalition to Stop the Killings in the Philippines (STKP) is made up of the following Canadian Churches, non-governmental organizations and solidarity groups: AgroPaix, PINAY - Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec ,Anglican Church of Canada, KAIROS, Beaconsfield United Church, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Canadian Advocacy Group on the Philippines, MiningWatch Canada, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Philippine Solidarity Group-Toronto,
Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns, Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, Chaire d'études asiatiques - Université de Montréal, Victoria Philippines Solidarity Group, Development and Peace, The United Church of Canada