Today, May 15, marks the 17th day of the disappearance of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights advocate Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” De Jesus and Igorot from the Bontoc-Ibaloi-Kankanaey tribe Dexter Capuyan. We reiterate our calls: UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS! SURFACE BAZOO AND DEXTER NOW!
Information gathered by the search team shows that individuals who identified themselves as agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) abducted the two on the night of April 28. More than two weeks have passed, and we express our deep concern over possible situations this incident may imply, such as illegal detention, torture, and other grave violations of their human rights.
“We are racing against time. Bazoo and Dexter must be surfaced alive and safe now. Any reason used against the two is invalid because they are human rights defenders who are only doing their responsibility to protect the rights of the Filipino people, especially the Philippine Indigenous Peoples,” KR Abalos, Communication Officer of Panaghiusa Philippine Network to Uphold Indigenous Peoples’ Rights said.
International and local laws, such as the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and Republic Act 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, ensure members of indigenous communities and human rights defenders can practice their rights without intimidation or interference.
The abductors of Bazoo and Dexter dismissed the capacity of the two to exercise the provisions of the aforementioned laws. The perpetrators also prevented them from contacting their family, colleagues, other human rights defenders, and legal counsel.
“The state must uphold all laws and policies that safeguard Bazoo and Dexter’s rights as an Indigenous Peoples’ rights advocate and a member of an indigenous community, respectively. We protest because there are blatant violations of human rights in the case of Bazoo and Dexter,” Abalos said.
Prior to the incident, state security groups claimed Dexter to be a high-ranking officer of the Chadli Molintas Command of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New Peoples Army. He is also listed with a bounty of P1.85 million.
On the other hand, we continue to condemn systematic attacks against Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Peoples’ rights advocates. While we are calling for the safe and immediate surfacing of Bazoo and Dexter, the Armed Forces of the Philippines continue to illegally detain Mary Joyce Lizada and Arnulfo Aumentado, Indigenous Peoples’ rights advocates and members of BALATIK (Bond and Strength of Indigenous Peoples in Southern Tagalog), in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.
In 2008, state agents also abducted indigenous leader James Balao in La Trinidad, Benguet. Until today, his family, friends, and colleagues don’t have any information on his whereabouts. On the other hand, Cordillera Peoples Alliance Regional Council member Steve Tauli was mauled and abducted last August 2022 in Kalinga. Days later, Steve returned home after Indigenous Peoples, human rights defenders, and legal groups demanded his immediate surfacing.
The Panaghiusa Philippine Network to Uphold Indigenous Peoples’ Rights urges the public to support our calls for the surfacing of Bazoo and Dexter. We enjoin everyone to condemn human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples and human rights defenders.
“We call on state security to halt from intimidating human rights defenders and legal and paralegal groups and interfering with the efforts for the surfacing of Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” De Jesus and Dexter Capuyan,” Abalos added.
SURFACE BAZOO DE JESUS AND DEXTER CAPUYAN!
STOP THE ATTACKS!
UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS!
Panaghiusa Philippine Network to Uphold Indigenous Peoples’ Rights