HRVs rise in regions with most dev’t fund from DILG, NTF-ELCAC

Human rights group Karapatan hit the government’s use of public funds in its desperate bid to attack activists across the country, noting that in regions where most funds from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) Barangay Development Program (BDP) were allocated, reported violations of people’s rights also increased.

A day after Eduardo Año, secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, claimed that 99% or P16.24 billion of the NTF-ELCAC’s program “to bring development to former conflict-ridden areas” were already released to various local governments, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that “the program will solve nothing if the government will remain relentless in its abuses.”

“The government’s so-called efforts to bring development to areas they claim as former conflict ridden will not reach its aim as it brings more injustice than progress. If it really wants to end the decades-old conflict in the country, it should realize that it needs to cease from committing abuses and directing attacks against the Filipino people,” Palabay averred.

No less than the Año claimed that the regions which received the biggest chunk of the fund for the BDP are Regions 7, 10, 11, 12, and 13 — the same areas where most killings and political arrests occurred since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term from 2016 to present.

“Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office until June 2021, 206 of the 409 cases of extrajudicial killings transpired in the five regions while 221 of the 487 political prisoners arrested under the Duterte administration were arrested in the same regions,” the Karapatan official stated.

“If this government will not abandon its blood thirst and fascist ideals, it will fail only over and over again. If it thinks that the Filipino people will cower in fear because of the resources the government has to commit abuses, then the government is wrong. What it does now will only awaken the people to dissent and fight for their rights and freedoms,” she ended.