US support to Aquino govt will worsen rights violations in the Philippines

Karapatan today slammed the US and Aquino administrations’ design to intensify US intervention and increase support for Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan that will aggravate human rights violations in the Philippines. 

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said the recent appointment of Philip Goldberg as US ambassador to the Philippines alongside reports of Washington’s increase of US military financing for the Philippines fromUS$30 to US$50 million signals the US’ renewed support for Oplan Bayanihan. 

According to Karapatan, Aquino’s implementation of Oplan Bayanihan resulted to 142 documented cases of extrajudicial killing and 164 frustrated killing; 16 incidents of enforced disappearance; 76 cases of torture; 540 cases of illegal arrest; and more than 30,000 victims of forced evacuation. 

In 2008, Goldberg, then US envoy to Bolivia, was sent back to US by the Bolivian government and was declared persona non grata for “conspiring against democracy and seeking the division of Bolivia." Prior to his appointment as the US ambassador to the Philippines, Goldberg is the of US Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research.

Since 2008, the US has reduced military aid to the Philippines due to international pressure from various Philippine solidarity groups that campaigned on the issue of extrajudicial killings and other rights violations. In October last year, Karapatan chided the Philippine government for “peddling lies on the human rights situation in PH to get increased military aid from the US,” following reports on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s meetings with officials of the US State Department, the Department of Defense and with the American legislators led by Rep. Rogers who chairs the US House Committee on Appropriations. 

“The US and PH governments foment war and aggressive territorial issues between China and the Philippines to justify the US continuous use of Philippine territory as a launching pad for state terrorism and economic domination in Asia and the Pacific. They also camouflage their real intent to boost the PH security forces’ efforts to attack the Filipino peoples’ rights via Oplan Bayanihan,” said Palabay.

Karapatan noted that these moves are “unmistakably timed with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ thrust to intensify its counter-insurgency program on Aquino’s second semester.” ###