Peace Advocates For Truth, Healing & Justice

What is PATH?
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.
  • 7 Committees
  • 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.
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    Saturday, August 25, 2007
    UNDP Staff Rises in Indignation

    Mr. Kemal Dervis


    United Nations Development Programme

    UN Plaza, New York

    cc: Mr. Ad Melkert, UNDP Associate Administrator

    Mr. Hafiz Pasha, UNDP RBAP Director

    Office of Human Resources

    Office of the Ombudsperson

    UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Staff Council

    23 July 2007

    Dear Mr. Dervis,

    Subject: Mrs. Nileema Noble

    It took this long for us to bring certain untenable things to your attention because we gave Mrs. Nileema Noble what she asked for a year ago when she assumed the post of the Resident Representative of UNDP: the benefit of the doubt. Although we already saw the forebodings of trouble, we shrugged off some of her troubling behaviour as mere eccentricities which we can live with and even overcome in time. But the longer we worked with her, the faster we came to the conclusion that her autocratic and oppressive behaviour will not change; that the longer she stays here, the faster the erosion of UNDP’s and even the UN’s credibility in the Philippines .

    Furthermore, many of us can no longer function optimally because of the almost daily harassment and abusive treatment we receive from her. Such abusive behavior, which has resulted to a hostile working environment and demoralization of staff, should not be tolerated in any form by the United Nations and United Nations Development Programme, as stated in the Charter of the United Nations, the Staff Rules and the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service. As you know, Staff Rule 101.2 (d) indicates that “any form of discrimination or harassment, as well as physical or verbal abuse at the workplace or in connection with work, is prohibited. Harassment in any shape or form is an affront to human dignity and international civil servants must avoid it. They should not engage in any form of harassment and must be above any suspicion of it. Further, Article 15 of Standards of Conduct

    for the International Civil Service states that, “Managers and supervisors are in positions of leadership and it is their responsibility to ensure a harmonious workplace based on mutual respect. They must act impartially, without intimidation and favouritism.”

    Mrs. Noble has been, and continue to be culpable of verbal and physical harassment and abuse of authority and has violated the rights of staff members, especially the right to effective remedy and due process. Specifically, she has exhibited improper and abusive behavior, unthinkable from a high-standing UN official, as manifested in the following incidents:

    Verbal and Physical Harassment. According to the UNDP Guidelines on Harassment and Abuse of Authority, harassment is understood to be any improper and unwelcome conduct that has or might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another. Harassment may be present in the form of words, gestures, or actions which tend to annoy, alarm, abuse, demean, intimidate, belittle, or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment to another or that causes an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Harassment normally implies a series of incidents.

    Ø Most recently, she insulted and embarrassed staff in front of high ranking government officials, publicly berating them with rude language for supposedly not undertaking a task which she committed to the government without even consulting and formally informing the staff concerned.

    Ø Poked a staff member’s chest and forcefully slapped another’s back to emphasize a point because she is angry or frustrated.

    Ø Rebuffed a staff who was so happy because Mrs. Noble already signed a contract (after several weeks of the document being with the latter). When the said staff slightly touched Mrs. Noble on the shoulder and quipped that it was finally over, Mrs. Noble physically shoved her hand away and responded in a loud voice, “What are you suggesting- that I’m pending documents in this office… “.

    Ø Meetings where she often raises her voice and nit-picks on managers and staff members, embarrassing and denigrating them unnecessarily. Several incidents of one-on-one meetings with staff where she raised her voice caused further intimidation and fear among them.

    Ø High-handed behavior with staff members, treating them with not a bit of respect. In one incident, a staff witnessed Mrs. Noble’s ordering another staff to fetch a pen under her table, which she can very well do on her own.

    Ø Several incidents with staff where she would nakedly point out their supposed rudeness in front of colleagues for not immediately greeting her good morning or good afternoon while she does not even observe it herself. In fact, she would rudely interrupt meetings of staff with the Deputy Resident Representative and not even apologize for the rude intrusion. There was one incident where she was not satisfied with the workshop flow and accused the UN staff in-charge of the activity of sabotaging the Office, in front of everyone.

    Ø Mrs. Noble questioned one staff for not immediately informing of her plans to go n a special leave without pay (SLWOP), and accused her of not being ransparent. When the staff attempted to explain that it was premature to advise he office of her plans at that time, she was told by Mrs. Noble that if this happened in another organization, she would have been kicked out immediately and would seriously damage her career. As a result of this incident with the staff, Mrs. Noble called her supervisor and berated her regarding the kind of relationship with her staff, saying that as the supervisor, she should know in advance all of their individual plans, including personal.

    Ø Several incidents where staff were too afraid to speak or question her decisions even if such will clearly compromise the organization for fear of retaliation. Whenever staff muster enough courage to speak their minds on certain issues which clearly contravene her own, she would intimidate these staff until they give up. By her actuations, Mrs.Noble always presumes herself to be correct and no one should, therefore, question her actions. In one of the staff meeting, Mrs. Noble announced staff movements and claimed that she has informed the particular staff of his re-assignment to another unit, where he allegedly agreed on. The concerned staff responded that it was the first time that he has heard of the re-assignment.

    Ø Often exhibiting unnecessary frustration, rage and intimidation if an outcome is not to her liking, accusing staff of perceived hidden motivation, imaginary errors and incomplete staff work. She often accuses staff of hiding things from her and not providing her enough information, no matter how many briefings, briefing papers and other information materials are provided her. She does not listen to staff explanation and makes oft-repeated accusations which are baseless and untrue.

    Ø One incident where she almost tore a letter apart when she erased her signature in front of a staff, implying that the staff was trying to trick her into signing that document.

    Ø She also has the habit of throwing papers back to the persons submitting them, if she is not satisfied with such papers.

    Abuse of Authority. According to the UNDP Guidelines on Harassment and Abuse of Authority, abuse of authority implies the improper use of a position of influence, power, or authority by a staff member or non-staff personnel against another staff member or non-staff personnel or a group thereof. This is particularly serious when a staff member or non-staff personnel uses his or her influence, power or authority to negatively influence the career or employment conditions (including, but not limited to, appointment, assignment, contract renewal, performance evaluation or promotion) of another staff member or non-staff personnel. It can include a one-time incident or a series of incidents. Abuse of authority may also consist of conduct that creates a hostile or offensive work environment, which includes, but is limited to, the use of intimidation,

    threats, blackmails or coercion.

    Ø Recent arbitrary (and forcible) termination of two staff without due process. Further, the manner in which she handed out the decision and her ensuing instructions for its implementation, such as the terminated staff’s leaving the UN premises immediately, packing their belongings and turn-over of keys and IDs within the hour) showed how little her respect is for common decency and dignity of a human person, treating them like common criminals. Staff members who witnessed these incidents were left in shock and fear. If these could happen to high-ranking national staff in the UNDP/UN, then it can very well happen to them, or even much worse. These incidents of arbitrary termination happened in a span of only two weeks.

    Ø Adding insult to injury, one of them was told not to contest the decision of his termination. If he did, then Mrs. Noble said that she will have to state a reason for the termination that will tarnish his record which, in effect, would deprive him of possible UN employment opportunities in the future..

    Ø Several verbal threats to staff that their contracts will not be renewed if targets are not achieved or performance is not acceptable to her. She even made a threat to withhold a staff member’s salary if performance is not up to her standards.

    Ø In staff meetings, she often emphasized and justified her micro-management approach to her lack of trust in the unit mangers’ capacity and ability to perform their assigned tasks. This led to several incidents where she arbitrarily decided on operational and programmatic issues, disregarding programme recommendations such as: which consultant contract gets signed, who gets to go on leave, etc.

    Ø Her arbitrary decisions on programme management modalities and strategies led to delay in the implementation of projects, delivery of resources and much confusion on how programmes are to be managed and implemented by partners. One classic example is her arbitrary removal of Project Management Offices and the change of an Implementing Partner, without due process, rational basis and against the objections of her managers and staff.

    Ø Numerous delayed appointments, abrupt termination of contracts and refusal to sign contracts and documents, which affected much of the staff’s workload (which are already burdensome) and performance and delivery of programs and projects. At present, the RCA process (personnel evaluation) of some staff are being delayed for months when contract expiration is fast approaching. In a previous instance, this resulted in arbitrary termination of staff while his RCA rebuttal process was still in progress.

    Ø Unreasonable delay or non-approval of official travel and staff leaves (well within the delegated authority of managers) which caused non-participation in important meetings and conferences locally/abroad, loss of opportunities for learning and staff development, and unfulfilled monitoring obligations of UNDP to its donors. There was an incident where one staff resigned due to the delayed approval of her one-month leave, which she filed two months earlier. She has worked for UNDP for eight years and never took any long-term leave except for that one instance and was let go just like that.

    Ø Mrs. Noble’s impossible, whimsical requests and demands to be included in certain high-level meetings and conferences have led to incidents where staff had to push themselves to the limit to satisfy her. There was an incident where a staff had to stay late at night for two days just to enable her to get into an event she, for some reason, craved to be in. When everything has been arranged, she decided last minute not to go anymore, without any explanation or apologies.

    Ø Abolition of a very important Unit: the Programme Monitoring Unit and its staff (whom she unreasonably judged to be incompetent and ineffective) which led to the distribution of that Unit’s workload to already overloaded staff in the office. More than 17 staff left during her term due to non-renewal of contracts, forced resignation and staff demoralization. Only a handful of staff are left and continue to leave due to the hostile working environment. Increased incidence of stress-related illnesses is prevalent among staff nowadays.

    Ø Former staff and SSAs who left or resigned have been banned from visiting the CO or being hired again. In one incident, under instructions from Mrs. Noble, DRR Naka informed the former supervisor of one staff that resigned not to visit or show herself in the CO since this would upset Mrs. Noble. Further, one SSA’s contract has been terminated within 10 days without reason or explanation.

    Ø A very grave infraction committed by Mrs. Noble was her incursion into staff privacy in communications. She had one of the staff member’s office cellphone seized, its contents downloaded, on mere unfounded accusation of a PMO staff that the staff member was spreading malicious messages about her. Mrs. Noble made no amends nor even offered an apology even when the exercise did not yield information incriminating the staff whose cellphone was seized.

    We are also aware of Mrs. Noble’s retort that these allegations are mere complaints from “incompetent and non-performing staff”, as she would call those who would go against her whims and caprices. This is totally untrue as shown in our previous performance appraisals for the last 5 years. Most of us have worked here for several years and this is the only time that we experienced such oppressiveness, callousness and total disregard of our rights and dignity especially coming from a high-ranking UN official.

    These are but some of the incidents, showing without a doubt, the abusive character of Mrs. Noble. We have been forced to seek your help because, unfortunately, we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel and are afraid that this oppressive situation will continue.

    In order to prevent further verbal and physical harassment and abuse of authority, resulting in violations of UN rules and our rights as international civil servants, and in order to prevent further prejudice to the work of UNDP and the UN in relation to its partners, we ask that Mrs. Nileema Noble be immediately relieved as Resident Representative of UNDP and UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines . We also ask that disciplinary action be immediately commenced against Mrs. Noble for violation of UN regulations and our human rights as UN staff.

    We would like to serve notice that we reserve our right to seek recourse through other avenues for legitimate grievances.

    We hope that this plea will not be in vain.


    Concerned UNDP Staff and other UN Staff

    Mary Gemme Montebon

    Jennifer Navarro

    Amelia D. Supetran

    Emmanuel E. Buendia

    Francisco G. Morito

    Imee F. Manal

    Clarissa Arida

    Roberto V. Carandang

    Anna L. Senga

    Frances M. Solinap (former UNDP Staff)

    Francis Gertrud R. Mercado (former UNDP Staff)

    Jay-Ann Arandia

    Elcid C. Pangilinan

    posted by PATH @ 8/25/2007 09:48:00 AM  
    Post a Comment
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    About Me

    Name: PATH
    Home: Quezon City, Philippines
    About Me:
    See my complete profile
    Where to send your donations and order the book

  • 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
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  • "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
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