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Home Press Statement Alyce Omengan Claver: We Have Not Forgotten

Alyce Omengan Claver: We Have Not Forgotten

Alyce Omengan Claver: We Have Not Forgotten

Statement of Bayan Canada and Migrante Canada

Alyce Omenga Claver (pictured with her husband, Dr. Chandu Claver) was an active member of the
Cordillera People’s Alliance and supported the work for Indigenous peoples’ rights and human rights,
as well as Bayan Muna Partylist campaigns.

We remember ALYCE OMENGAN CLAVER, daughter of the Cordillera, who was killed in July 31, 2006, in Tabuk, Kalinga.

Seventeen years ago today, killers in two unmarked vans, believed to be military operatives, ambushed, and fired repeatedly at the Clavers’ Land Cruiser with their high-powered rifles. Alyce was seated on the front passenger seat beside her husband Dr. Constancio Claver who was driving, and their second daughter, 10-year-old Cassandra was in the back seat.

Dr. Claver and Cassandra survived the shooting. Alyce did not. She died later at the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds on her head, neck, and shoulders. Dr. Claver suffered two gunshot wounds in the left arm and chest. Cassandra was deeply traumatized by the shooting. The ambush shooting, which took place in front of the St. Tonis College, also hit a female student bystander who suffered two gunshot wounds in the hips.

The Claver family is from the Cordillera. At the time of the ambush, Dr. Claver was a practising physician and surgeon, a doctor of the people. He was a political activist, serving as the Chair of Bayan Muna – Kalinga and the Vice Chair of the Cordillera People’s Alliance – Kalinga. He was also the chair of the Board of the Philippine National Red Cross-Kalinga, a member of the Kalinga Medical Society, the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, and President of the Parents-Teachers Association of the Tabuk National Highschool. For 10 years, he was the Executive Director of the Community Health Education Center-Kalinga Apayao.

Alyce was an active member of the Cordillera People’s Alliance and gave her support and commitment to the work for Indigenous people’s rights and human rights, including campaigning for the Bayan Muna Partylist. She was also a loving mother to their young family of three daughters who were 12, 10, and 7 years old at the time of the ambush.

The attack on the Clavers followed the killing of Bayan Muna-Kalinga Vice Chair Rafael Markus Bangit on June 8. Like Marcus Bangit, Dr. Claver was also the target of death threats and red tagging. Very clearly, the target of the killers, believed to be military agents, was Dr Claver; the killers did not care about collateral damage. The culture of impunity under then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was reflected in the thousands of extrajudicial killings, abductions and disappearances, arrests and detentions, surveillance and harassment, massacres, and other human rights violations against the people. Under her term, she even promoted the butcher soldier, Jovito Palparan, and congratulated him on his many bloody crimes.

To date, no one has been punished for the killing of Alyce, the assassination attempt on Dr. Claver, the injuries and trauma suffered by the Claver family. On the day of the ambush, Kalinga’s PNP Provincial Director Pedro Ramos could not wait to declare on the radio that Alyce was dead, even when the young mother was still fighting for her life at the hospital! PNP Regional Director in the Cordillera Raul Gonzales callously justified the ambush with the accusation that Dr. Claver was a personality of the National Democratic Front. This perverted reasoning only confirmed that the killers were military operatives who believed that such an accusation somehow stripped Dr. Claver of his basic human rights and that they could not care less that the Claver family were all civilians, not combatants. To attack civilians in broad daylight in front of a school, before witnesses, and to crow proudly about this crime is evidence of state terrorism against the people.

It would do well to remember that the military and its then Commander-in-Chief Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have blood debts. Justice may be slow, but people do not forget.

Attacks against Indigenous activists, human rights defenders, and land defenders have continued under succeeding regimes. The regime of Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte is no different with the government’s use of the Anti-Terror Law and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict against the citizens the government swore to protect. The blood debts against the people continue to pile up.

In time, debts will be collected.

Justice for Alyce Omengan Claver! ###

31 July 2023

At St. Mary the Virgin Church, Rev Farinas led the short prayer and lit the candles for the dead, to remember Alyce Claver, killed July 31,2006 in Tabuk Kalinga. L-R: Maestro Erie (Migrante Canada), Grefa Agdeppa Pinera (Rector’s Warden),Claire (CPSHR), Perry Sorio (People’s Warden), and Rev. Expedito Atiagan Farinas. Alyce, Rest in Peace.