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.
In a recent press release the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) denounced the targeting and harassing of its organizers by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP):
The Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) and its network members denounce the harassment and persecution by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and certain government agencies. Non-government Organizations (NGOs) and development workers that sincerely work for self-determined sustainable development in
Cordillera communities are again victims of the government’s anti-insurgency program now presently packaged as Oplan Bayanihan.
The CDPC and its member NGOs condemn the following recent vilification, harassment, and persecution of NGOs and development workers as well as community organizations, committed by elements of the AFP and certain government line agencies. These are:
a) Malicious announcement in some communities branding the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) as “member of the New People’s Army (NPA)” and its staff as allegedly being “in the Order of Battle of the AFP;”
b) Pronouncement in communities by AFP and by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as part of their joint Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) orientation-training activity, that NGOs together with the NPA are regarded as
“human disasters,” i.e. Ifugao PSWD Officer Joyce Niwane presentation in one of their trainings in Asipulo;
c) Reports that criminalize and illegalize the CDPC vehicle (pick up) used by staff for field work by associating it with the NPA, and reporting that it transported fullyarmed men and materials for the NPA in Ifugao; as per text circulated last August 12, 2012;
d) AFP and CAFGU elements in civilian attire who pose as NGO development workers go to communities asking for whereabouts of, or asking help on how to link with NPA;
e) Intimidation and taking pictures of NGO staff and PO leaders without consent, and despite their expressed opposition, i.e. William Bugatti of Ifugao Research and Development Center (IRDC) was harassed by 2nd Lt Rapi of the 86th
IB ‘C’ Coy;
f) Continuing harassment of Ms. Mila Ao-wat of CHESTCORE with threatening text messages;
g) Sabotage and destruction of community livelihood projects jointly implemented by NGOs and people’s organizations such as confiscation of farm tools and uprooting/destroying plants of livelihood projects, with the distorted AFP justification that these are allegedly NPA project, i.e. in Brgy. Namal, Asipulo and Brgy. Binablayan, Tinoc in Ifugao; and
h)Intimidating presence of AFP and PNP in community activities held in partnership with NGOs; and harassment of participants who attend such activities.
These incidents are not isolated cases, but a systematic persecution of development workers under the Oplan Bayanihan. These cases definitely belie the AFP’s claim that they have a “zero human rights violations” record. In truth, this anti-insurgency program of PNoy’s government is a continuation of Oplan Bantay Laya I & II of Gloria Arroyo regime. The CDPC network warns that, like its predecessors, Oplan Bayanihan is merely setting them up for possible attack or even extra-judicial killing.
The CDPC and its member NGOs are established legal institutions that have served our communities for decades. Our development initiatives have made a difference in the lives and well-being of the people, especially interior communities, given the historic conditions of government neglect and marginalization. The CDPC network has a development work
record on sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, community-based health, disaster response, indigenous peoples rights and human rights, women and gender awareness, various priority socio-economic projects and overall empowerment for genuine peoples development.
STOP VILIFICATION, HARASSMENT AND PERSECUTION OF NGOs AND DEVELOPMENT WORKERS! EXPOSE AND OPPOSE OPLAN BAYANIHAN!
OPPOSE DEVELOPMENT AGGRESSION AND MILITARIZATION THAT PROMOTE POPULARLY-REJECTED DESTRUCTIVE PROJECTS!
UPHOLD THE ROLE OF NGOs AND DEVELOPMENT WORKERS FOR GENUINE PEOPLE’S WELFARE AND WELL-BEING!
ADVANCE PEOPLES’ RIGHTS AND PURSUIT OF SELF-DETERMINED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT!