Paramilitary groups are AFP’s surrogates in counter-insurgency operations

From  martial law to BS Aquino 

“There may be no formal declaration of martial law under the Aquino regime, but the repression and terror it perpetrates are the same as they were during martial law, especially in the countryside. The proliferation and use of paramilitary groups as surrogates of the military are the same today as they were during martial law,” said Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.  

killed by paramilitary killed by paramilitary

Hilao-Enriquez said, “The Magahat-Bagani group involved in the killings of two Lumad leaders and a school executive in Lianga, Surigao del Sur are only one among the many in the AFP’s record of arming and using paramilitary groups as pawns in its counterinsurgency operations.” 

“What we now know as the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), Special Civilian Armed Auxilliary (SCAA), Investment Defense Force (IDF), Magahat-Bagani Force, Alamara, Sanmatrida, Dela Mance group were called the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF), Ilaga, Rock Christ, Pulahan, Greenan during martial law. The names may have changed but they are all the same— effectively controlled by the AFP and are responsible for gross human rights violations, including brutal killings,” she added.  

Of the total 282 extrajudicial killings documented by Karapatan as of August 31, 2015, 77 cases involve paramilitary groups.  The figure does not include the three victims of the recent massacre in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, which happened on September 1, 2015. 

Hilao-Enriquez cited the cases of the two Italian missionary priests Fr. Fausto” Pops” Tentorio and Fr. Tullo Favali who were both killed by paramilitary groups 26 years apart. Fr. Pops Tentorio was harassed and later killed on October 17, 2011 by the Bagani forces while Fr. Favali was killed by the Ilaga paramilitary group led by Norberto Manero aka Kumander Bukay on April 11, 1985. The former was killed under the  BS Aquino regime while the latter was during martial law. Both priests were considered as ‘enemies of the state’ for their work among the Lumad. 

The paramilitary groups and the armed fanatic groups such as Magahat-Bagani, Alamara are armed and trained by the military—capitalizing on the people’s  impoverished condition, illiteracy, playing on superstitious beliefs, and bastardization of indigenous culture and processes. “Whichever, the State used these groups, now and then, to attack communities believed to be members and/or supporters of the New People’s Army,” she added. 

Hilao-Enriquez called on the people not to fall prey on the regime’s use of a worn-out tactic of divide-and-rule, which takes advantage of the other people’s miserable condition and use them to quell dissent among equally impoverished kababayans.  

“Instead of resolving the root causes of poverty, the repressive and exploitative regimes, from martial law to the US- Aquino regime,  have pitted the Filipinos against each other to serve the interests of its landlord and foreign master.

 

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