Philippines: Killing of land rights activist Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid
PHL 002 / 1113 / OBS 090
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of
the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation
for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following
situation in Philippines.
Description of the information:
Observatory has been informed by Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
about the killing of Ms. Elisa Lascoña
Tulid, a human rights defender in the agrarian reform sector and a leader
of the peasant group Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, in
Sitio Kumbenyo, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon Province.
to the information received, on October 19, 2013 at 2 pm, Ms. Lascoña Tulid was
walking along with her husband and her four-year-old daughter when she was shot
point-blank by a man who was identified as Mr. Rannie Bugnot, trustee of an
alleged land grabber in the area, Mr. Edwin Ausa. Ms. Tulid, who suffered gunshot wounds in the
nape, mouth, left eye and left thigh, was
pronounced dead on the spot. Her husband and daughter both managed to run away.
Her husband ran to the military camp in Barangay Tala to seek help and report
the incident. The military called the police, who arrested Mr. Bugnot on the
same day at his private house and charged him later.
Observatory firmly condemns and expresses its deepest concern about the killing
of Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid, and considers it as an attempt to criminalise her
efforts to defend human rights in the country and discourage other defenders
working for the same cause.
Elisa Lascoña Tulid had had several confrontations with Mr. Edwin Ausa and his
group when trying to prove her community’s rights to the land. She also filed a
complaint in 2012 before
the Barangay Council against
them when the group took crops cultivated by Ms. Lascoña Tulid’s family without
their consent. Ever since then Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid and her family have been
threatened and harassed by Mr. Ausa and his group. One of the most serious
threats they received was posed by Mr. Ausa when he said that he would kill all
the Tulids if they kept fighting for the land concerned.
Observatory urges the Philippine authorities to conduct an immediate, thorough,
effective and impartial investigation into the facts reported above in order to
identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent and impartial
tribunal and apply the sanctions provided by the law.
There is a persistent agrarian conflict in the Philippines.
Traditionally, there has been a feudal exploitation system in Bondoc Peninsula,
Southern Tagalog, where 80 per cent of the households depend on subsistence
farming (mainly banana and coconut monocropping) as well as fishing. Mr. Domingo Reyes,
one of the main landholders in the region, holds an estimated surface of 12,000
to 16,000 hectares and keeps a 60 per cent of these lands total harvest, while
the remaining 40 per cent goes to the tenants, who also have to cover the
In 1988 the Government launched the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program (CARP) through which it bought all lands exceeding seven hectares and
sold them to the landless farmers although frequently peasants did not want to
apply for agrarian reform coverage due to fears to landowners.
In 2004, settlers requested to be covered by the CARP. Farmer tenants
working on Reyes’ lands boycotted and stopped giving the 60 per cent share of
the harvest when Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid and other settlers learned that the
lands claimed by Mr. Reyes had been declared as public land and timberland by
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Ms. Lascoña Tulid
was at the forefront of the fight to claim the lands declared as public.
It has been alleged by some sectors that Mr. Edwin Ausa and Mr. Rannie
Bugnot are supporters of Mr. Reyes’ clan and have been trying to instill fear
in the communities to prevent them from claiming their land rights.
Please write to the authorities in Philippines, urging them to:
in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid’s family and of all human
rights defenders in the Philippines;
an immediate, thorough, transparent, effective and impartial investigation into
the murder of Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid in order to identify all those
responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them the
sanctions provided by the law;
adequate reparation and compensation to Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid’s relatives;
an end to any kind of harassment against all defenders who work for the
protection of land rights and human rights in general in Philippines;
with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by
the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially
regarding the following Articles:
1: everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to
promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels;
12.2: the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by
the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with
others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse
discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his
or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights [...];
in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in
accordance with international human rights standards and international
instruments ratified by Philippines.
· Hon. Benigno Simeon Aquino
III, President, Republic of the Philippines, Malacanang Palace, JP Laurel
Street, San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines; Fax: (+63) 2 736 1010;
E-mail: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
· Secretary Virgilio R. Delos
Reyes, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Elliptical Road,
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines; Fax: (+63) 2 920 0380; E-mail: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
· Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje,
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Visayas Avenue,
Diliman, Quezon City 1100, Philippines, Fax: (+63) 2 920 4301; Trunkline:
(+63) 2 929 6626 Local 2258, 2272, 2146; E-mail: email@example.com
· Chairperson Loretta Ann P.
Rosales, Commission on Human Rights (CHR), SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth
Avenue, U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines; Fax: (+63) 2929 0102;
· Police Director General
Alan LA Madrid Purisima, Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp General Rafael
Crame, Quezon City, Philippines; Fax: (+63) 2 724 8763/ (+63) 2 723 0401;
· H.E. Mr. Mr. Denis Y. Lepatan,
Mission of Philippines to the United Nations. 47, Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva 19.
Switzerland. Fax: (+41) (0) 22 716 19 32. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Philippines in your
Geneva-Paris, November 15, 2013
inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your
Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human
Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax OMCT (+41)
(0) 22 809 49 39 / (+41) 22 809 49 29
Tel and fax FIDH
(+33) (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / (+33) 1 43 55 18 80