Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing & Justice (PATH) was formally organized in 2002, pioneering in its focus on human rights violations by a non-state armed group. Composed of torture survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims missing or executed during the anti-infiltration campaigns within the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in the 1980s, PATH seeks truth and justice from the CPP-NPA and other Left blocs involved in the anti-infiltration campaigns.
PATH believes that all non-state armed groups, including those not from the Left movement, should observe human rights in the conduct of their resistance against the State. Ultimately, PATH holds the State accountable as well for the purges, and for military atrocities during martial law and throughout successive administrations.
Goals & Objectives
PATH's goals and objectives are as follows:
1. Complete the documents of the cases of all victims during the purges and all those involved.
2. Organize a national community of human rights defenders and advocates composed of survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims during the purges.
3. Facilitate the healing of survivors as well as the families, relatives and friends of purge victims.
4. Conduct exhumations so that victims are given due respect and proper burial.
5. Conduct a comprehensive advocacy work. Its main components will be public information and campaign, solidarity-building and lobbying at the local, national and international levels.
6. Deepen and popularize the culture of human rights through artistic and popular education, productions and other cultural endeavors.
7. Come up with case studies of country experiences on the setting up of Truth and Justice Commissions and strive for the creation of a Truth and Justice Commission in the country together with other human rights organizations and individual human rights advocates.
Research & Documentation. Documents stories and produces a database of victims in aid of locating burial sites; conducts research to surface facts and circumstances of the purges; publishes materials as tools for justice campaigns; ensures confidentiality and security of records and files.
Recovery of Victims' Remains. In cooperation with the victims' kin, locates gravesites, retrieves the remains and arranges their proper burial; mobilizes the services of forensic experts and other professionals; initiates dialogues with the victims' families as well as with perpetrators.
Counseling & Therapy. Facilitates healing sessions that address the long-term trauma of surivivors and victims families; mobilizes professionals in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; builds support groups for victims and their families towards eventual closure.
Communications & Popular Education. Develops education programs, including theoretical materials and tools for reflection, that revolve around human rights and respect for human dignity; holds commemoration activities and builds memorials for the victims; develops external communications through publications and mass media.
Legal & Security. Leads in the initiation and pursuance of legal actions for victims; assist in the handling and protection of material evidence in coordination with the RVR Committee; conducts research on the possibilities of a Truth Commission; studies the implications of PATH's work on the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP-NPA-NDF; and ensures lines with established institutions that will help strengthen PATH;
Arts & Culture. Produces musical compositions, literary works, plays, video documentaries, films, and other cultural works from the stories of survivors and victims.
Organizing & Advocacy. Reaches out to survivors and victims' families in different regions and encourages solidarity in their journey towards justice and healing.
At UNDP, No Answer to Staff Complaints from Philippines, As Dervis Schmoozes Ban
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, July 31 -- It was 193 days ago that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a comprehensive audit of the North Korea operations of the UN Development Program and certain other UN agencies, to be completed in 90 days.
It was 42 days ago that Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro wrote to the UN Board of Auditors, telling them that the Secretariat wants them to go to North Korea to actually audit UNDP's programs conducted there.
On Monday, Ban Ki-moon met with Kemal Dervis, the Administrator of UNDP. Inner City Press asked for a read-out of the meeting, and on Tuesday one arrived from the Deputy Spokesperson:
"the Secretary-General and UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis met to discuss issues of mutual concern, including the appointment of UN Resident Coordinators. On UNDP operations in the DPRK, they both agreed that additional measures should be taken in an accountable manner, in consultation with member states and the UNDP Executive Board, to look into new allegations regarding UNDP."
Since it was already decided back in January that at least the UN Board of Auditors, if not outside party, would audit UNDP, and a second phase of the audit was already called for 42 days ago, the read-out appears to move backward. Tuesday Inner City Press sought clarification at the noon briefing:
Inner City Press: yesterday the Secretary-General met with Kemal Dervis, of UNDP and you gave me this readout that says they agreed on additional measures for looking into DPRK that should be taken with MemberStates and executive boards. I couldn't tell from this, what is the status of this second phase of audit that Deputy Secretary-General Migiro wrote a letter about a month ago? What are the next steps on that or does this replace that?
Deputy Spokesperson: This is the latest on this subject.
Question: So has the second part been done or not been done?
Deputy Spokesperson: This is the latest that we have based on the conversation the Secretary-General had with the UNDP Administrator, which, for the others in this room, did not focus just on UNDP and DPRK, but on a number of other issues of concern.
Inner City Press: You also said they conferred on the appointment of resident coordinators. Who makes the decision choosing who will be the resident coordinator in a country? Is that only UNDP’s decision? Did he confer with the Secretary-General?
Deputy Spokesperson: Yes, with the Secretary-General. That’s why they had the meeting together.
Well, among the resident coordinators which Ban Ki-moon and Kemal Dervis should have discussed, or should still discuss and act on, is Nileema Noble, regarding whom 13 named Filipino staff complained to Dervis.
Kemal Dervis talks global warming on July 31 (while UND Filipino staff burn)
On Monday Inner City Press asked UNDP's spokesman to respond to the Nileema Noble issues, but his response last on Monday was "this is to acknowledge receipt of your questions. We will try to answer them as we are able." Despite Inner City Press having provided a detailed article about the complaints against Ms. Noble and a request for at least some comment, no comment or response was received on Tuesday. Manila-based Inquirer.net has reported:
In a letter to Kemal Dervis, administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York, staffers Mary Gemme Montebon, Jennifer Navarro, Amelia D. Supetran, Emmanuel E. Buendia, Morito G. Francisco, Imee F. Manal, Clarissa Arida, Roberto V. Carandang, Anna L. Senga, Jay-Ann Arandia, and Elcid C. Pangilinan, and former staff workers Frances M. Solinap and Francis Gertrud R. Mercado, also asked that Nileema be punished for "verbal and physical harassment," "abuse of authority," and "violation of the rights" of the staffers, particularly to effective remedy and due process.
Despite his agency's failure to answer on the complaint filed with him, Dervis could be seen Tuesday chairing a climate change meeting. (Click here for a related Inner City Press story.) Among the staff's complaints is retaliation and the fear of retaliation. On that, the UN's Ethics Office has still not ruled on a UNDP complainant's filing of June 5, despite the 45 day deadline having expired on July 20. The Ethics Office's Robert Benson extended his time to rule. On July 27, Inner City Press sent Mr. Benson an email asking, among other things, if he
"could explain why the 45 day time period for ruling on the request for whistleblower protection filed with your Office on June 5 (or thereabouts -- the filer has give consent for you to speak) -- why was the time extended? And, separately, is OIOS' activity at UNDP related to seeing if the filer complied with the requirements of whistleblower status?"
As of yet, there was been no answer at all. Nor to Inner City Press' questions to UNDP on Monday, nor (yet) to the follow-up to Tuesday's briefing:
"question about the second phase of DPRK audit / Board of Auditors visit to DPRK (which were reportedly re-requested by DSG Migiro in a June 19 letter) -- the question is, since the Secretariat's request was made 42 days about, what's up? Will the Board of Auditors be visiting the DPRK? Have they made a request? And, what is up with the Ethics Office waiving the 45 day timeline in ruling on the whistleblower? These are Secretariat questions -- DSG's June 19 request, Secretariat's Ethics Office's 45 day deadline expired on July 20 -- time for an update?"
If the recent past is any guide, these should be answered on Wednesday. Watch this space.
Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH) 45 Matimtiman St., cor. Magiting St., Teachers' Village East Quezon City 1101, Philippines Tel. No: (632) 921-8049 Telefax: (632) 926-2893
You can also donate to PATH by clicking on the ads below
The book about the CPP-NPA Purges
"Bobby Garcia provides a riveting account of the Communist Party of the Philippines' "killing fields" and situates it within the context of a revolutionary movement that was nobly motivated but also tragically flawed. To Suffer Thy Comrades goes beyond Garcia's narrative of his and other survivors' harrowing experiences and explains why the purges took place, how both torturers and victims coped and made sense of their plight, and how they survived in the aftermath of the purge. The book sheds light on the darkest and deepest secrets of the revolutionary movement and provides insights that are useful now that the communists are negotiating peace with the government" - SHEILA CORONEL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
"...Bobby Garcia had the courage to write about the 'killing fields' despite some people's efforts to dissuade him. Bobby was one of its victims -- he was 21 when his entire future was nearly taken away from him -- who was lucky enough to survive. And who is even luckier to retain a huge sense of humor and equanimity, even when talking about his ordeal, at least with friends. His book is called "To Suffer Thy Comrades"...It is certainly not something that will set your mind at rest. But read it anyway. Its virtue is to be found in that biblical observation, 'The truth shall set you free.' - CONRADO DE QUIROS, Philippine Daily Inquirer