AFP shows paranoia against struggling national minorities

“Once again, the Armed Forces of the Philippines proved its sheer paranoia as its men violently dispersed the national minorities peacefully protesting against military operations in their communities,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said, after water cannons were used by the AFP in the said dispersal in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, where the picket protest took place this morning. “There was nothing threatening about people making their demands heard," Palabay said. 
The 1000-strong protest action was about the continuing human rights violations in Moro and indigenous peoples’ communities perpetrated by the AFP. “While the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) declared a unilateral ceasefire, the AFP continue its military operations in communities, which favours the entry and operations of large-scale mining corporations and big foreign business. Political killings in the name of the US-driven counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan continue,” Palabay said. 

The latest victim of political killing, as documented by Karapatan on October 13, was Anoy Pasaporte, 28, a member of Panalipdan youth in Compostela Valley. Panalipdan is a campaign and education center for the protection of the environment in Southern Mindanao. “This is the second killing in Compostela in three days,” Palabay said. Last October 10, Jimmy Saypan, chairperson of Compostela Farmers’ Association was shot and died the next day at a hospital. Both were active residents against the entry of mining companies in Compostela Valley. 
“Through the AFP’s so-called peace and development program in communities, national minorities continue to be subject of threats and intimidation in their communities, while the military encamps in their schools and communities,” Palabay said. 

More than 3,000 Moro and indigenous peoples are currently in Metro Manila to address these concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“President Duterte, as Commander-in-Chief, should not waste time and immediately withdraw Oplan Bayanihan or any counter-insurgency program. The soldiers should to pull out from the communities and go back to their base camps immediately. The policy and practice of illegally arresting activists and development workers through trumped up criminal charges also continue. Just and lasting peace remains elusive for the national minorities,” Palabay said. ###