Oplan Bayanihan’s brutality hides under the slogan of “human rights, peace and development”—Karapatan

Extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations continue despite the government’s claim that its new counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan adheres to human rights and that the AFP is in the communities for peace and development. 
 
The killing of Rabenio Sungit, 44 years old, is the latest incident of extrajudicial killing under the P-Noy government.  Sungit was shot dead on September 5, 2011 in a public market in the Municipality of Quezon, Palawan.  He was with his wife Trinidad and son Rocky when the incident happened. Trinidad saw the long-haired triggerman who left the scene through a motorcycle driven by another person.
 
Prior to the incident, Trinidad said that elements of the Philippine Marines visited them frequently. A known military informer in the community was also constantly asking for Sungit’s whereabouts. Shortly before the killing, Sungit attended a human rights seminar in Puerto Princesa.  Rabenio Sungit was a lay leader of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), leader of the indigenous group PAGSAMBATAN (Pagkakaisa ng mga Katutubo or Unity of Indigenous Peoples) and a member of ANAKPAWIS Partylist.
 
Rabenio’s brother Abe Sungit, who was listed in the military’s “order of battle”, was killed in 2005 under GMA’s Oplan Bantay Laya. Both were killed by motorcycle-riding men. Both were leaders of the indigenous peoples who fought for their ancestral lands against the encroachment of large-scale mining companies in their communities.
 
Previous to this, on the night of September 2, 2011, seven-year old Sunshine Jabinez, a second grade pupil, was killed while sleeping in their home in Purok 3, Biasong, Bgy. Napnapan, Pantukan, CompostelaValley. A drunken PFC Baltazar Ramos went wild, fired his gun into the air and the bullet found its way into the sleeping child. The girl was wounded on her right buttocks and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. According to the doctor, the bullet made its way to the spinal cord and to her stomach. Earlier in the evening, PFC Ramos of the Bravo Company of the 71st IBPA, 10th ID had a fight with a fellow soldier then with a civilian after a drinking spree with other members of the military stationed in the community of Bgy. Napnapan.
 
The military has become more visible in the community since 2010 when the Napnapan Mineral Resources, Inc. (NMRI) was granted a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. The MPSA gives the NMRI the right to mine, for 25 years, the nearly 5,000 hectares of land in Sitios Napnapan and Sitio Ayan in Brgy. Kingking. The military justifies their presence in the community as part of their peace and development efforts.
 
Sunshine Jabinez’s death is one of the 14 documented cases of violation of children’s right to protection of safety by the state in Bgy. Napnapan, Pantukan, CompostelaValley since 2009.
 
Both the deaths of Sunshine Jabinez and Rabenio Sungit are related to military presence and operations in mining areas. The military deployed in the areas hide behind the catchphrase of peace and development to justify their presence in the communities or as an excuse for combat operations. But no matter what they say, their mere presence in the communities poses risk on the lives of the people as evidenced by the concrete actions they take against the people such as harassment, intimidation, arrests and detention, enforced evacuation, enforced disappearances and killings, among others.  
 
Now, the military says that their counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, is for winning the peace.  We hope they don’t mean the peace of the grave or the people’s meekness and silence over human rights violations.
 
As of end June, there are already 50 incidents of extrajudicial killings under the P-Noy administration, 19 of these are under the banner of Oplan Bayanihan. ### 

 

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