Jesuit priest Alejo, Human Rights Watch’s Kine to speak at a forum Jan. 22

by Kobakila News

NEW YORK – The Fil-Am Press Club of New York (FAPCNY), will hold a forum featuring a Jesuit activist priest-scholar, Fr. Alberto Alejo, and Human Rights Watch Asia Division Deputy Director Phelim Kine on Jan. 22, 6 p.m, at the National Writers Union, 256 West 38th St., 12 Flr. The subject of the presentations will be “How to Protect Human Rights In The Philippines.”

This Kapihan forum is the FAPCNY’s first for 2018 under its new president, Marivir Montebon of OSM! Magazine.

Fr. Albert Alejo has long been involved in humanitarian issues from his base in the southern island of Mindanao – and because humanitarian issues are often political issues, the priest has had his share of controversy. He was a member of the government team negotiation for peace with the National Democratic Front/Communist Party of the Philippines, a project team leader of Dialogue Mindanao which focused on peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and an advocate for the indigenous Lumad, as chief consultant for the project Strengthening Lumad Advocacy In Government.

Because he writes poetry, Fr. Alejo was also a member of the National Literary Arts Council of the National Commission on Arts and Letters. During the congressional hearing on the Davao Death Squad (DDS), Fr. Alejo provided support to two former DDS members-turned-witness during the investigations into some 1000 killed in Davao City.

He is the author of several works on anti-corruption, tribal minority activism, and Filipino values including Generating Energies in Mount Apo: Cultural Politics in a Contested Environment (2000), Ehemplo: Spirituality of Shared Integrity in Philippine Church and Society (2016), Tao Po! Tuloy! (1990). He is also the founder of AGILA, a training academy for indigenous leaders in Mindanao.

Fr. Alejo holds a Masters in Philosophy, a Masters in Theology, and a Masters and Doctorate in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, the leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He is currently a visiting professor of ethnography at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Before coming to New York, he will speak at a forum on Thursday, January 18, at ICC 700 (Executive Conference Room), at Georgetown University, in Washington D.C.  The event is sponsored by US Filipinos for Good Governance and Georgetown University’s Asian Studies Program, the Asia Pacific Forum, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, and the MS in Foreign Service (MSFS) Program.

The second speaker, Phelim Kine, is deputy director of the Asia Division of the Human Rights Watch, which issued the report on the killing of more than a thousand, including street children, in Davao City, during the tenure of Duterte as mayor. Kine was a journalist for a decade, covering China, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Cambodia. His reports have appeared in major publications all over the world. Because of his office’s monitoring of human rights violations in the Philippines, Kine has threats to his person even from the Philippine president.

Lawyer Olivia Canlas, who is the National Education Director of AF3IRM, will be a panel responder.

The Philippine government under President Duterte’s “War on Drugs” has been accused of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations. By police official statistics, some 20,000 have been killed – roughly 3,000 from police operations; the rest by unidentified assassins.

Human Rights Watch and AF3IRM are participating in this event.

Those interested to attend are encouraged to reserve their seat as soon as possible. Space is limited. Reservation made through the Facebook event page link: https://www.facebook.com/events/727319670799585/ will have to be confirmed by the event organizers.

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