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.
Despite Aquino’s insistence that his government is doing “all it can” to improve its human rights record Karapatan recently blasted the president for his promotion of known human rights violators within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP):
“Darker days ahead,” is how Karapatan describes the human rights situation under the Aquino government “that will even surpass the expected damage of typhoon Pablo.”
Karapatan, in its public presentation of the 2012 year-end report on the human rights situation said that “the appointment of known human rights violators such as the likes of Brig. Gen. Eduardo M. Año as the new chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP and, of Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad as deputy chief of staff for operations is part of Oplan Bayanihan’s design to finish, if not neutralize, its identified armed threats and their so-called supporters or mass base by 2013, its phase 1.”
“Putting the likes of Baladad and Año is part of the government’s preparation for its end game, for the nth time, with its perceived State enemies. Also, Aquino puts across the message that a reward awaits those who kill, bomb, strafe, force people to leave their homes, harass and threaten them, arrest, torture then keep them in jail. The people should brace themselves for more serious human rights violations, with this deadline and these kind of military officers who are at the helm of the military institution,” said Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said that “2012, the second year of saw the intensification of military operations and heavy deployment of troops in areas believed to be strongholds of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA)”. This, she said, has resulted in the forced evacuation and displacement of thousands of indigenous peoples and farmers from their lands, and scores of cases of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, torture and arbitrary detention and military occupation of schools, chapels, barangay halls and clinics in various communities.
Karapatan documented 129 victims of extrajudicial killings and 150 cases of frustrated EJK; with more than 30,000 victims of forced evacuation due to bombings and military operations, mostly peasants and indigenous peoples in Mindanao and Southern Luzon.
More than 70 Peasants and Indigenous peoples from Mindanao are currently in Manila for what is dubbed as “Manilakbayan” to call attention to the spate of killings and forced evacuation that is happening in the various communities in Mindanao because of the Oplan Bayanihan, and especially in areas with mining exploration.
The Oplan Bayanihan deadline means “going after anyone and everyone that cross Aquino’s counterinsurgency operations, and with impunity,” added Palabay who presented Karapatan’s human rights report. She said, “we have noted that killings are becoming gruesome as in martial law years” citing the case of Genesis Ambason, a tribal leader in Agusan del Sur, who was shot and tortured to death, his head had shrunk due to heavy beatings; and Ely Oguis, a village council member in Albay who was shot and beheaded.
She added that “attacks against the people are marked with contemptuous boldness as in the case of the massacre of the Capion family where witnesses heard the AFP ground commander order his men to finish off the two children who survived the shooting, so there will be no witnesses left.” The relatives of the Capions are among the Manilakbayan delegates.
Hilao-Enriquez, in conclusion, said that “The Aquino regime had shown that it will not bring changes or even relief to the lives of the citizens now or in the future. Aquino had kept the AFP, with its bloodstained, unbrokenhuman rights violations record, unpunished and untouchable.It deserves nothing but to be denounced by the Filipino people.”