SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Ronalyn V. Olea, in Bulatlat, writes about the affects of the Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency program in Luzon:
In a far-flung village in San Francisco, Quezon province, nine soldiers in uniform barged into the house of Linda (not her real name) at around five o’clock in the morning. The men, brandishing their high-powered rifles, asked the 51-year-old farmer where her husband was. When she said her husband was not home, the soldiers did not believe her and they threw invectives at her.
Her husband, Arthur, went out early to buy rice, coffee and other basic commodities. When he arrived home, five of the soldiers led him to the coconut trees a few meters away from their house. “The soldiers told me to surrender my 45 caliber gun to them. I told them I have no firearms,” Arthur told Bulatlat.com in an interview. “They said I was lying and then they beat me up.”
Linda’s family has joined five other peasant families who forcibly evacuated from their homes due to a man-made disaster called militarization. They are now under the custody of the Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement, a network of organizations and individuals demanding the pullout of military forces in South Quezon. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has put up 50 camps and detachments, the largest military concentration since martial law years, according to human rights groups.
Orly Marcellana, spokesman of the Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement, said the military considers South Quezon as among the priority areas in the Aquino administration’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.
“Instead of going after the New People’s Army [NPA] however, the soldiers are harassing civilians, mostly farmers,” Marcellana said in a press conference in Quezon City, August 24.
Edwin said they are very certain about the identity of the perpetrators. He said that elements of the 85th Infantry Battalion have been roaming in their communities since March this year. “Our community was peaceful before they came,” he said.