DAP money used to sow terror

“The BS Aquino is financing paramilitaries through the Disbursement Accelerated Program (DAP) and it has cost the lives of many people.  Definitely, this is not ‘good faith’,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said. 

“The BS Aquino is financing paramilitaries through the Disbursement Accelerated Program (DAP) and it has cost the lives of many people.  Definitely, this is not ‘good faith’,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said. 

Despite repeated recommendations and calls both in the country and in the international community, the BS Aquino government continues to prop up the existence and operation of paramilitary groups. BS Aquino’s pork, the DAP, funded paramilitaries and private armed groups through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP). OPAPP received Ph1.819 billion for the members of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, under the budget item for the GPH-CPLA Closure Agreement. 

“These members of the CPLA-turned-paramilitaries were integrated into the 86th Infantry Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division, a notorious unit in Northern Luzon known for a string of human rights violations,” Palabay said. 

According to the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, Karapatan’s chapter in the region, the documented rights violations involving this unit are the following:

  • In its almost 3-year operations, the 86th IB has been implicated in the extrajudicial killings of Elmer Valdez of Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur and couple Vic and Rosario Valenzuela of Echague, Isabela. 
  • CPLA integree and officer of the 86th IB Capt. Danilo Lalin remains a suspect in the rape of ‘Isabel’, a 16 year-old high school student from Mankayan, Benguet. Isabel suffered from dissociative amnesia and is now under temporary custody and rehabilitation. An administrative case was filed against Capt. Lalin with the military Ombudsman.
  • Trumped-up charges of murder and frustrated murder were also filed against student-leader Mildred Salang-ey by the 86th IB but the complaint did not prosper due to the absence of probable cause. While not incarcerated, Mildred suffered from the psychological impact of an impending arrest and detention. Her studies were also affected. 
  • In July 2012, a case of torture and various incidents of divestment and destruction of property by the 86th IB was documented in Tinoc and Asipulo, Ifugao.
  • In November 2012, Jude Baggo, secretary general of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), was among the 28 human rights defenders and development workers listed in the 86th IB’s document “Municipality of Tinoc Target Persons.” The two-page document, with the logo of 86th IB and 5th ID, tagged those in the list as supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA). Mr. Baggo and Mr. William Bugatti, the Ifugao provincial human rights focal person of the CHRA, were both marked as “Utak ng NPA” (Brains of the NPA). Also listed as NPA supporters are three personnel of the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera, Montanosa Research and Development Center, and the Ifugao Resources and Development Center. A government employee of the Community Environment and Natural Resource Office (CENRO) was also on the list. 
  • On March 25, 2014, at around 7pm, William Bugatti was killed in Ifugao after he attended a hearing of the case of political prisoners Rene Boy Abiva and Virgilio Corpuz in Lagawe, Ifugao.

According to the AFP website, “the 86th Infantry Battalion of the 5th ID, named Highlander, was organized on February 2010 to fill in the lack of troops in the different infantry divisions of the AFP.” It is composed of integrees from the CPLA and officers and men of the Philippine contingent in the UN Peace Keeping Force in Israel and Syria. Its permanent unit is the 5th ID in Gamu, Isabela. The said unit operated in Northern Luzon. The 86th IB was first deployed in the entire province of Ifugao and parts of Nueva Vizcaya. 

In the list of DAP-funded projects, the projects for the CPLA were coursed through the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) Program that supposedly aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability to conflict-ridden areas. The BS Aquino administration boasts of some completed PAMANA projects such as irrigation canals and road constructions in parts of Northern Luzon. “Behind these structures, the funding did not reduce poverty but actually intensified the conflict and sow more terror to the people,” Palabay concluded.