Año’s promotion will bring more rights violations, peace sabotage

“With a notorious implementer of US-directed counter-insurgency programs Oplan Bantay Laya and Oplan Bayanihan now at the helm of the fascist Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), there is greater danger of human rights violations and militarist efforts to sabotage peace initiatives,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said, in reaction to yesterday’s appointment of Gen. Eduardo Año as the new Chief of Staff of the AFP, replacing Gen. Ricardo Visaya. 
“Aside from the abduction and disappearance of peasant organizer Jonas Burgos in 2007, this GMA-Aquino general is responsible for the 2014 Paquibato massacre, the hamletting of civilian communities and the proliferation of various paramilitary groups in Mindanao which cost the lives of many Lumad,” Palabay said, in reference to Gen. Año’s stint as 10th Infantry Division-Philippine Army (IDPA) commander. 

On June 14, 2014, Lumad leaders Datu Ruben Enlog, Randy Carnasa and Oligario Quimbo were killed in Paquibato District, Davao City during the 69th Infantry Battalion’s shooting spree.
“It was also during Año’s stint in Mindanao that human rights workers and leaders of mass organizations were charged with trumped up cases for helping Lumad evacuees from Talaingod, Davao del Norte,” Palabay said. 

“Gen. Año also made trophies out of the illegal arrest of peace consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Ruben Saluta, which is a direct violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The killing of NPA Commander Leoncio Pitao and medic Vanessa Limpag, both violations of international humanitarian law, is also part of his bloody ‘credentials,’” Palabay said. 

Peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is ongoing and the Tiamzons, Silva, Saluta and other peace consultants are released on bail and at the negotiating panel as negotiators and consultants. “With Gen. Año as the AFP chief, we fear that there will be forms of sabotage to the peace talks as rights violations continue today,” Palabay warned. 

Gen. Año swore to crush the communist insurgency through a ‘decisive win.’ “It is under his command as Philippine Army chief that soldiers are now occupying communities threatening, harassing and surveilling residents against the New People’s Army, putting the schooling of children and livelihood of people on hold,” Palabay said. 

“Año’s promotion speaks of the deeply-entrenched fascist ideology throughout regimes. All regimes have accorded accolades and provided political capital for blood-thirsty military generals, from Marcos’s Gen. Fabian Ver and Lt. Rodolfo Aguinaldo, to Arroyo’s Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, to Noynoy Aquino’s generals Ricardo Visaya and Año up to Duterte’s promotion of the same military officials. The mercenary AFP has always been used to suppress the Filipino people’s dissent and actions in effecting genuine social change and a just and lasting peace,” Palabay concluded. ###