Mindanao takes the center stage of BS Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.
The massacre of the Lumad leaders Dionel Campos, Juvello Sinzo and Emerito Samarca on September 1 in Lianga, Surigao del Sur brought to the fore the state of human rights in Mindanao and in the whole country under the BS Aquino regime—the unabated political killings, attacks on communities and on self-initiated schools, forced evacuation, among many other military atrocities. The brazenness by which the crime was committed speaks of the climate of impunity that continues to pervade the country.
The Filipino people seethe with anger and discontent.
The protest actions that followed the exposé on the PhP10-billion pork barrel scam sent the Aquino government scampering for ways to dissipate the people’s anger, but only in ways that Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the bureaucrats in his government can continue to feast on the pork and drown themselves in pork fat.
Months into the end of Oplan Bayanihan's Pahase 1, human rights violations continue to belie the conjured picture of "peace and development" of the three-year US-Noynoy Aquino regime. Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay) is Aquino's version of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).
There has been no substantial change from martial law to Noynoy Aquino, especially in the human rights situation in the country. This is the logical conclusion one could draw after the horrors of repression during martial law were recalled and highlighted during the commemoration of its 40th year of imposition. Brought to the fore were stories of gross human rights violations during one of the darkest periods in Philippine history.
Noynoy Aquino led the government’s commemoration of the 40th year of martial law and, for the nth time, recalled the sufferings of his family under the dictatorship. A week later, Noynoy Aquino would be seen in the company of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, the architect of martial law, and Imelda Marcos, the dictator’s widow. Meanwhile, victims of martial law still have to see the Aquino government’s will to push for the indemnification of the victims of Marcos’s campaign of suppression. The indemnification of martial law victims remains sidetracked, 26 years after the dictatorship was ousted. So much for justice and indemnification.
More than 20 country members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called attention to the continuing extrajudicial killings (EJK), enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights violations (HRVs) and the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines.
On May 29, 2012, the Philippine government went through the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland. Expectedly, the Aquino government played its cards close to its vest as State parties and the international community examined the human rights situation in the Philippines. The GPH delegation tried to gloss over the hard facts on the unabated human rights violations and the reign of impunity in the country as it hyped the enactment of one or two national laws and the approval of some international instruments related to human rights.
Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay), the counter-insurgency program of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, heightens the use of civic-military activities in communities as a cloak over intensifi ed combat operations and attacks against the people’s leaders and organizations. It is even more deceptive than, but equally vicious as the previous government’s Oplan Bantay Laya because of adornments of “peace” and “development.”