Lt. Gen. Bautista’s Oplan Bayanihan resulted to 137 EJK

Peddled as Oplan Bayanihan’s brains, Lt. Gen. Bautista’s appointment as the new AFP Chief of Staff “signals the escalation of human rights violations” under the Aquino government , Karapatan said today. 

“Oplan Bayanihan, despite its ‘people-centered’ and ‘respect for human rights’ catch-phrases already resulted in 137 incidents of extrajudicial killings and 154 cases of frustrated extrajudicial killings (as of Dec.30,2012). Contrary to claims by the Aquino government and the AFP, Oplan Bayanihan is no different from Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. 

Palabay added that it was Bautista’s Oplan Bayanihan that claimed the lives of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio, Dutch aid worker Willem Geertman, and indigenous peoples’ leaders Jimmy Liguyon and Juvy Capion, among others. 

Karapatan maintains that a counterinsurgency program such as Oplan Bayanihan and genuine respect for human rights are contradictory.  Oplan Bayanihan, in its two years had caused numerous cases of human rights violations, victimizing members and leaders of progressive organizations, including innocent civilians suspected of being members or supporters of the New People’s Army. 

“There are still incidents of bombings and indiscriminate firing, the use of schools, chapels, medical facility and other public places for military purpose. People are still forced to leave their homes because of military atrocities in their communities,” Palabay said. 

Karapatan also noted an increasing number of illegal arrests and detention on the basis of trumped-up charges. In December alone, Karapatan documented 27 people arrested, 16 of them are still detained. 

“Let us not forget the case of Rolly Panesa, a security guard who is currently detained because the AFP insists that he is a high CPP official.  That’s how arbitrary the AFP is under Oplan Bayanihan,” said Palabay. 

Palabay added that “it is no coincidence that Gen. Bautista was appointed at that time when Oplan Bayanihan is on the last year of its Phase 1.”

“Oplan Bayanihan which is authored by Gen. Bautista is simply the Filipino version of the US Counterinsurgency Guide released in 2009.” she added.   Karapatan reiterates its call to junk Oplan Bayanihan.