Rights violations will continue if Oplan Kapayapaan is Oplan Bayanihan 2.0

“If Oplan Kapayapaan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is a continuum of Oplan Bayanihan, we expect that human rights and international humanitarian law violations will continue, especially in struggling communities and among the poor majority of peasants and workers,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said on the AFP’s new counter-insurgency program under the Rodrigo Duterte administration.

“From the initial statements by AFP officials describing Oplan Kapayapaan, the ‘whole of nation approach’ was deemed as an effective framework in addressing the so-called insurgency. What the AFP conveniently left out is that this framework caused the killings of Lumad and other national minorities and peasants, the forcible evacuation of civilian communities, particularly those tagged as ‘NPA supporters’, and the illegal arrests and detention of activists. The human rights record of the BS Aquino administration is proof of this,” Palabay stated.

Table 1:

Violation of Civil & Political Rights

Under the Noynoy Aquino Government

(July 2010 to June 2016)

 

Violations No. of Victims
Extrajudicial killing 332
Enforced Disappearance 30
Torture 244
Rape 12
Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing 624
Illegal Arrest without Detention 1,131
Illegal Arrest and Detention 635
Illegal Search and Seizure 289
Physical Assault and Injury 574
Demolition 12,331
Violation of Domicile 1,129
Destruction of Properties 4,245
Divestment of Property 952
Forced Evacuation 108,612
Threat/Harassment/Intimidation 200,743
Indiscriminate Firing 92,247
Forced/Fake Surrender 319
Forced Labor/Involuntary Servitude 125
Use of Civilians in Police and/or Military Operations as Guides and/or Shield 1,839
Use of Schools, Medical, Religious and Other Public Places for Military Purpose 79,961
Restriction or Violent Dispersal of Mass Actions, Public Assemblies and Gatherings 24,699

The AFP’s whole of nation approach, adopted from the United State Counter-insurgency Guide of 2009, sought to “win the peace” through a combination of primarily military combat operations and intelligence and use of civilian agencies and entities for its military objective in the guise of “peace and development programs,” Karapatan said.

“Civilians are victimized and the root causes of the armed conflict remains unresolved. If the AFP and State security forces under the Rodrigo Duterte administration will have the same framework and approach of the past regimes and with their fascist and mercenary character, the Filipino people will continue to experience unpeace in communities,” she said urther.

“The whole of nation approach, in the guise of ‘peace and development programs’ or civil military operations of the AFP, legitimizes military occupation of communities. Even during the period of the GRP unilateral ceasefire in line with its peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, human rights violations by the military and police continued in suspected areas of the New People’s Army,” Palabay said.

“During the first six months of Duterte presidency, there were 19 victims of political killings, two enforced disappearance victims, and illegal arrests continued. Human rights violations persisted in communities, due to the military’s indiscriminate firing and bombing and use of schools and public places,” Palabay said.

 

Table 2:

Violation of Civil & Political Rights

Under the Rodrigo Duterte Government

(July 2016 to December 2016)

 

Violations No. of Victims
Extrajudicial killing 19
Enforced Disappearance 2
Torture 6
Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing 28
Illegal Arrest without Detention 414
Illegal Arrest and Detention 30
Illegal Search and Seizure 33
Physical Assault and Injury 69
Demolition 60
Violation of Domicile 86
Divestment of Property 41
Forced Evacuation 13,734
Threat/Harassment/Intimidation 18,675
Endangerment of, Threat against Civilians due to Indiscriminate Firing, Bombing, Artillery Fire, Landmines, etc  

17,107

Forced/Fake Surrender 5
Forced Labor/Involuntary Servitude 9
Use of Civilians in Police and/or Military Operations as Guides and/or Shield 5
Use of Schools, Medical, Religious and Other Public Places for Military Purpose 14,097
Restriction or Violent Dispersal of Mass Actions, Public Assemblies and Gatherings 1500

“If the AFP’s priority in Oplan Kapayapaan is indeed the ‘destruction of Abu Sayyaf, Maute Group, BIFF and other foreign and local terrorists,’ there is no need for the army to stay in communities looking for members of the New People’s Army, harassing the residents they suspect as supporters and members,” Palabay said. “The soldiers should pull out now from peasant and tribal communities,” Palabay said.

Karapatan also warned against using the pretext of anti-crime/anti-drugs campaign against activists and organized communities struggling for land and their rights. “Soldiers have been reportedly occupying communities, claiming to be looking for illegal drugs but were actually harassing residents on the presence of NPAs and their affiliation with progressive groups,” Palabay said.

“No amount of concealment can cover the true purpose of counter-insurgency programs. It is only through addressing the root causes of the armed conflict that just and lasting peace can be achieved. Comprehensive social, economic and political reforms through the peacetalks, through rejection of anti-people and neoliberal economic policies and by upholding people’s rights and welfare and the country’s sovereignty can bring genuine peace to the Filipino people,” Palabay concluded. ###

Source: karapatan

Isak Levi

Editor at Marxism-Leninism-Maoism