Military atrocities akin to GMA’s continue under P-Noy

Reacting to the statement of GPH chief peace negotiator Alexander A. Padilla that “every act of violence will affect peace talks” and so the NDFP must “lay down arms,“ Karapatan today called the government’s attention saying that it is its acts of violence through Oplan Bayanihan that terrorize and violate the human dignity of the population.

“The government should stop turning the tables around. It is their counter-insurgency blueprint Oplan Bayanihan that targets civilians and justifies this through vilification and red-baiting of legitimate people’s organizations and communities and their leaders as in the case in Batangas,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan.

Karapatan cited the case of fisherfolk leaders in Batangas, Isabelo “Beloy” Alicaya, 59 and Rufina “Pining” Nolasco, 72. Alicaya was a victim of attempted abduction last Novermber 18, 2011. Both Alicaya and Nolasco were implicated in so-called bombing incidents in Batangas.

“They are at it again, spreading lies through leaflets and the mass media, branding leaders of people’s organizations as “terrorists.” Hundreds of people were killed under former Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, when this same tactic was employed. The public must know that the bullets that kill civilians come from the AFP,” stressed Hilao-Enriquez.

A fact-finding mission in Bgy. Hukay, Batangas held last December 2011 documented 67 incidents of human rights violations that affected 863 individuals, 22 women, 643 children and 5,061 affected families.  Incidents of extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearances were also documented. Respondents in the said mission related cases of HRVs as far back as 2010.

“This is a case where people were initially silenced because of fear of military presence in their communities but who regained courage and unity because they can no longer tolerate the atrocities committed against them,” said Hilao-Enriquez.

Residents of Brgy. Hukay are among the most active in the people’s struggle for land and democratic rights. Hilao-Enriquez said that this is the reason why “military and paramilitary units that were deployed in February 2010 under Gloria Arroyo were never pulled out even when P-Noy assumed presidency.”

The fact-finding mission cited some 10-12 members of 16th Infantry Battalion and the 730th Combat Group Philippine Air Force were manning the detachments in the barangay, occupying barangay halls, and areas near schools.

“If the government must talk of violence, it must not ignore the violence that comes from its own fence and against civilians whom they profess to protect. Human rights violations continue, without let-up even under this administration, however way it attempts to hide these with PR spins. This is the real hindrance to peace,” concluded Hilao-Enriquez. ###   

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