Karapatan highlights police impunity as Negros cops awarded amid widespread violations

"A militarist government rewards human rights violators," said Karapatan Vice Chairperson Reylan Vergara, following the news of Negros cops being accorded awards.

Human rights group Karapatan strongly denounces the Duterte regime for breeding and coddling criminals within its forces. Amid widespread violations in Negros, including the trumped-up charges against 9 cultural workers in Negros, police operatives were instead awarded. The group referred to the ceremony recently held in Bacold City, Negros Occidental where 15 policemen where accorded medals for their operations that led to the arrest of activists and various other violations in Escalante City.
 
"We reiterate that the government is the foremost organized syndicate in the country. Its foot soldiers from the AFP and the PNP who do the dirty work are bribed with higher wages, a skewed definition of "heroism," and protection from accountability. Rewarding police officers who jailed and filed trumped-up charges against activists and cultural workers after falsely branding them as alleged members of the New People's Army (NPA) is a dangerous precedent that will further shrink democratic space in the country. This is an open invitation to go after anyone critical of the regime, justified by red-tagging the victims," said Vergara.

"This reward for butchers-in-training incites the whole gamut of State forces to commit extrajudicial killings and perpetrate a wide range of violations against individuals and communities. It's a badge that can be received so long as one willingly follows the fascist orders of the President,” he further said.

According to Karapatan, the rewards show how this government neglects its primodial responsibility to prosecute human rights violators. "The militarist core of this government is very salient during these ceremonies when violators of the people's basic and fundamental rights are given recognition. The impunity of this regime should be denounced in the strongest terms as it now obviously scrambles to protect the corrupt killers it has nurtured in the past three years," he added.

Vergara also mentioned how Negros has become a counter-insurgency laboratory for the conduct of operations using methods and tactics inspired from the government's drug-war campaign: "The existence of Memorandum Order No. 32, which has placed a de facto martial law in Negros, Eastern Visayas and Bicol, has allowed for widespread violations committed with impunity. The "nanlaban" line, use of search warrants, use of simultaneous operations, among others, are now being used to target progressive individuals and organizations. The likes of Debold Sinas who have led this bloodbath are now promoted. Particularly, Sinas has been named police chief in the National Capital Region where he is expected to effect the same brutality in the capital," he further stated.

“It is truly outrageous that this regime retains the audacity to acknowledge fake ‘heroism’ while letting thousands of innocent individuals die mercilessly. We would like to remind Duterte and his troops that beneath the glimmering medals adorning their uniforms are the endless flow of blood from the victims they slaughtered. Until now, shouts of justice are echoing peasant communities in Negros,” he ended.

 

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