September, 2014

BS Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan bound to fail despite billions for its implementation

“The people will not be cowed even as Aquino regime pours hundreds of billions for its killing machine,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general in today’s hearing on the 2015 budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) at the House of Representatives.

OpBay pumapatay

The DND proposed budget for 2015 budget, Karapatan noted, is Php 17 billion higher than last year’s actual budget of more than P82 billion. This year, the Defense Department has proposed a whopping Php 99,469,167,000. Items in the budget include the same old items such as modernization budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Php 20 billion; and,  Php 2 billion compensation and separation benefits for the paramilitary group CAFGU. The latter has been implicated in numerous human rights violations since its inception in 1987 during the Cory Aquino regime including the infamous 2009 Ampatuan massacre but all post-Marcos dictatorship regimes refused to dismantle the CAFGU despite widespread calls for its abolition. 

Palabay noted that the budget for the implementation of the US-backed Aquino regime’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay) is not dependent on the DND’s budget alone. The 2015 total budget for Oplan Bayanihan amounts to more than Php 200 billion, Php 40 billion more than last year’s budget. The funds are spread out in different government agencies, namely, the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Work and Development, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

The DSWD and OPAPP funds for PAMANA and Kalahi-CIDSS are part of Oplan Bayanihan’s implementation, particularly for its psy-war component. These projects are dubbed “pro-development and pro-people” in OpBay parlance. “PAMANA and Kalahi-CIDSS projects are mere palliatives meant to douse dissent over government's anti-people policies and programs,” explained Palabay. 

“AFP chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang bases his empty boast that the ‘New People's Army would be history by 2015' on his bloated defense budget,” said Palabay. “But the government’s unchanged militarist approach to armed conflicts has been a failure since the time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship,” she added. 


Karapatan condemns arrest of leaders and farmers

"The BS Aquino government is illegally arresting individuals based on trumped up charges, in a desperate attempt to gag critics and sow terror in communities," Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said as the human rights group condemned the series of arrests committed against anti-pork activists and those opposed to land grabbing of multinational corporations.

Stop harassment of human rights defenders!

"Leave our fellow human rights defender Sherwin de Vera alone!" Karapatan demanded from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for threatening and harassing De Vera, former secretary general of Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA), a regional chapter of Karapatan. De Vera is the regional coordinator of Bayan Muna Partylist and a researcher-activist against large-scale and destructive mining in Ilocos, particularly of black sand mining corporations.

Overkill security marks Palparan’s attendance in Court--Desaparecidos

"The BS Aquino is treating The Butcher Gen. Palparan like a diva," Aya Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice said on the overkill security measure provided to Palparan during today’s pre-trial hearing.


Immediately release ailing political prisoner Benny Barid—SELDA

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) calls on the Department of Justice to immediately release political prisoner Benny Barid, 54, on humanitarian grounds.