Human Rights: Mindanao Final Agreement

III. The New Regional Autonomous Government, Article 76:

The powers and functions of the PNP Regional Command for the Autonomous Region/SRSF, which shall be exercised within the territories covered by the Regional Autonomous Government (RAG), shall be the following:

e. Detain and arrest a person for a period not beyond what is prescribed by law, informing the person so detained of all his rights under the Constitution and observing the inherent human rights of the citizens.

Implementation History

1996

No Implementation

The 1996 peace agreement calls for efforts to increase respect for human rights by reforming the police and security practices used in the ARMM region. Under the agreement, the ARMM would gain control over the policing of its territory through the creation of a PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, and the creation of a Special Regional Security Force (SRSF). Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

Amnesty International’s 1996 Report on the Philippines mentions at least 200 political prisoners being held by the GRP. Several dozen extra-judicial executions while in custody of the AFP or PNP are reported for the year. Criminal prosecution of security force personnel for human rights violations is virtually non-existent. Public confidence in the judiciary remains extremely low1 

1997

No Implementation

Amnesty International reports the continued use of torture of detainees and imprisonment for involvement in political activity. Detainees are arrested without warrants, denied legal counsel, and subjected to beatings and torture to extract confessions.2 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

1998

No Implementation

Amnesty International reports the continued use of torture of detainees and imprisonment for involvement in political activity in 1998. Detainees are arrested without warrants, denied legal counsel, and subjected to beatings and torture to extract confessions. Extrajudicial killings blamed on AFP and PNP security forces are a regularity3  Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year.

1999

No Implementation

Amnesty International reports that at least 145 political prisoners remain in detention and torture is frequently used during interrogations. At least four disappearances and nine extrajudicial executions were reported for 1999.4 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

2000

No Implementation

As peace talks with MILF break down, violence increases across the southern Philippines. Reports of human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions and the torture of detainees by security personnel are widespread. Amnesty International issues a special report for the year 2000 due to the frequency of pre-trial torture in the Philippines5 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

2001

Minimum Implementation

Amnesty International reports the continued use of torture against detainees and imprisonment for involvement in political activity. Detainees are arrested without warrants, denied legal counsel, and subjected to beatings and torture to extract confessions. Extrajudicial killings blamed on AFP and PNP security forces are a regularity.6 

On March 31, 2001 the congress of the Philippines passed the Republic Act 9054 which created a Regional Human Rights Commission (section 16) for the ARMM. The chair and two commissioners of the RHRC are to be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Regional Governor. The composition of the commission should reflect the ethnic distribution of the population of the autonomous region. The chair shall be a lawyer and resident of the autonomous region.7 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

2002

Minimum Implementation

Extrajudicial executions continue throughout Mindanao, many attributed to the so-called "Davao Death Squads." Arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial executions and disappearances were reported in the context of counterinsurgency operations.8 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

2003

Minimum Implementation

A series of bombings by Islamist in Mindanao in March and April, is followed by repressive counterinsurgency campaigns. Amnesty International characterizes the state of human rights in the Philippines in 2003 as a de facto climate of impunity which shields any AFP or PNP perpetrators from being convicted. Indigenous inhabitants involved in land disputes with local landlords are being executed.9 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

2004

Minimum Implementation

In 2004, there were 100 executions in Davao City, alone, according to Amnesty International. No perpetrators have been arrested or convicted for the crimes. The city's mayor made statements suggesting that extrajudicial executions were an effective means to combat criminality.10 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year. 

2005

Minimum Implementation

In an 88 page report on extra-judicial killings in Mindanao, Human Rights Watch investigated and interviewed family members from 19 of the hundreds of cases of extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances that occurred between October 2005 and November 2006. Many of the cases show an AFP or PNP connection. For example, on October 25, 2005, the Department of Labor along with 20 armed soldiers went to the house of Ricardo Ramos, the president of the Central Azucarrera Labor Union, regarding a recent strike by the union, but Ramos was not home. Later in the day, 2 soldiers went back to the house again, and family members informed them that Ramos was sleeping. Around 9pm the same day, Ramos was assassinated outside his home by a round from an M14 rifle, the type used by the AFP.

In another case, it can be confirmed that the individuals engaged in the execution were AFP members. After kidnapping Pastor Santa Rosa from his home in front of his wife, one of the soldiers in the group was accidently shot by another agent and the body was found alongside the pastor’s body. The pastor was politically involved in various “agrarian reform” movements.11 Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established this year.