MANILA - At least 9,000 victims of human rights violations were monitored by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) from 1969 to 1986.
The number of victims of human rights violations increased gradually during the 17-year period. Only 16 victims were recorded in 1972, the year when Martial Law was declared.
The number of victims ballooned in the two years preceding EDSA People Power: in 1984, when 1,808 victims were recorded; and in 1985, when 3,124 victims were recorded. It was also the highest annual number of victims reported in the 17-year period.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY AREA
Note: The place of incidence for one of the 9,079 victims was not indicated.
• Nearly half of the human rights violations took place in Mindanao (46.6% or 4,227 victims).
• One-third (31.6% or 2,868 victims) happened in Luzon. The remaining 21.8% or 1,983 victims were reported to have taken place in the Visayas.
• The five regions that had the highest incidences of human rights violations cases were Northern Mindanao (1,473), Western Visayas (932), Caraga (894), Zamboanga Peninsula (840), and Bicol Region (692).
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY AGE GROUP, SEX, AND CIVIL STATUS
• Seven in 10 victims were males who were at the prime of their lives. Of the 5,558 victims whose age were recorded, 3,671 were males ages 16-40 years old. This comprised 66% of the victims whose age were known.
• The female victims, on the other hand, commonly belonged to the younger age group: 16 to 30 years old.
• Eight in 10 victims were male (85% or 7,544 victims out of the 8,871 victims whose sex was indicated) while 15% or 1,327 of the victims were female. The sex of 208 victims were not indicated.
• Meanwhile, majority of the 6,741 victims whose civil status was indicated were married (60% or 4,038 victims) while 39% or 2,654 victims were single. The remaining one percent or 49 victims were widowed.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY TYPE
Note: The type of violation experienced by one of the 9,079 victims was not indicated.
The human rights violations were categorized as follows (the definitions are at the end of the document):
o Death in evacuations
o Destruction of property
o Divestment of property
o Fake/forced surrender
o Frustrated massacre
o Frustrated salvaging
o Other woundings/frustrated killings
o Physical assault
o Violent Dispersal
• Nearly six in 10 victims suffered arrest/detention (56% or 5,044 victims), after which, salvaging (13% or 1,217 victims) and massacre (10% or 892 victims) were the most common types of human rights violations inflicted upon the victims.
• The remaining 21% or 1,925 victims experienced divestment of property (424), harassment (402), disappearance (352), physical assault (165), frustrated massacre (159), destruction of property (130), violent dispersal (93), evacuation (90), frustrated salvaging (73), hamletting (17), fake/forced surrender (13), death in evacuations (3), demolition (3), and other woundings/frustrated killings (1).
• Of the 9,078 cases where the type of violation was indicated, majority experienced one type of human rights violation (73% or 6,608 victims) while the rest experienced two to six counts of human rights violations (27% or 2,470 victims).
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AS DEFINED IN TFDP’S GLOSSARY OF HUMAN RIGHTS TERMS IN COMMON USE IN THE PHILIPPINES (1991)
Human rights violation: Transgression of any of the freedoms, or denial of any of the legitimate demands of an individual or group. A narrower but prevalent definition, which emerged from practice in the international system of protection of human rights, asserts that a human rights violation is a transgression by the state of any of the fundamental freedoms of any of its citizens, in contravention of its obligation to respect and defend these freedoms.
Assault: An attempt, with unlawful force, to inflict bodily injury upon another, accompanied by the apparent ability to give effect to the attempt if not prevented.
Arrest: Act by which a person is taken into custody by state authorities to answer for the commission of a crime.
Bombing: Attacking with a devise designed to explode under specified conditions (such as being dropped from airplanes or fused to detonate at a certain time) with objective of killing or destroying weaponry or properties.
Detention: The act or fact of holding or confining a person under custody, either arrest or surrender.
Demolition: Tearing down of residential houses, often those erected by individuals on property deemed as not belonging to them and usually following a court order.
Destruction of property: Tearing down or destroying the property owned by another such as arson, strafing, bombing, etc.
Disappearance: The taking away of a person, with reasonable grounds to believe that said person had been taken by authorities or with their connivance, with the latter denying having taken the person in custody.
Divestment of property: The taking away of the property of another such as by looting or extortion.
Evacuation: the transfer of persons from their residence to another place because of fear or to escape harm.
Hacking: A method of killing or wounding a person by making cutting blows or rough cuts with a bladed weapon.
Hamletting: Forcible transfer of a community which the military considers as dissidents’ sanctuaries to a place usually near military detachments or urban centers.
Harassment: Words, gestures, and actions which tend to frighten a person or persons such as through verbal abuse, threats, coercion, surveillance, etc.
Homicide: A crime consisting of the killing of another human being without the attendance of any of the circumstances which qualify the crime of murder.
Massacre: Killing of many individuals within the same time span and on the same spot, with those killed helpless or unable to defend themselves. In Philippine usage, three or more persons killed in the above circumstances would generally be considered a massacre.
Murder: A crime consisting of the killing of another with the treachery, evident premeditation, cruelty or any other grave circumstances.
Salvaging: execution committed by government agent(s) in contravention or violation of due process of law. Salvaging is equivalent to the international terms extra-judicial and summary executions. Salvaging is a colloquial term derived from the Tagalog word “salbahe” which means “nasty”. Thus, to “salvage” somebody is to “do something nasty to him”; in this sense, to kill him.
Shelling: Attacking with explosives fired from cannons and other artillery pieces.
Stabbing: A method of killing or wounding a person by thrusting a pointed weapon.
Strafing: A method of killing or wounding persons or destroying properties by spraying with rifle bullets as with ground troops at a close range or with a machine gun fire from low-flying aircraft or elevated positions.
Surrender: The giving up of oneself into the power of another as a prisoner.
Martial law, human rights, human rights abuses, Ferdinand Marcos, Marcos dictatorship, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, ABS-CBN Investigative & Research Group