Friday, December 13, 2013

Condemn AFP’s chronic disrespect for human rights in the Cordilleras! Defeat Oplan Bayanihan! Fight for just and lasting peace!

From the Website of PRWC CPP-NPA-NDF

Condemn AFP’s chronic disrespect for human rights in the Cordilleras! Defeat Oplan Bayanihan! Fight for just and lasting peace!

Magno Udyaw
Leonardo Pacsi Command, NPA – Mountain Province
December 10, 2013

On the occasion of the commemoration today of the international human rights day, the Leonardo Pacsi Command of the New People’s Army strongly condemns the 5th Infantry Division and PNP-Cordillera for their recent spate of human rights violations.

In just a span of one week, 13 civilians, including four minors and a foreigner, fell victim to military abuses in the ongoing combat operations of the 41st IB, 50th IB, 503rd Infantry Brigade PA, all under the 5th ID, and the PNP in Mountain Province and its boundary with Abra.  Two of the minors were supposed to gather firewood when they were chanced upon by the operating military and police troops last November 13 in Lesnadan, Bangaan in Sagada. 
  The other two minors were also held by the military and police just for having two cellphones each and an extra battery.  They were held at gunpoint, together with seven other individuals including the foreigner, who were earlier illegally arrested by the said troops.  “We are not safe in our communities,” a mother of one of the minors aptly described the situation in Mountain Province.

At a later incident on November 16 in Mount Amtinangad, Besao, two residents of Bangaan who were on their way home were also held against their will by a different unit of the 50th IB. The military refused to let the two go despite their protestations and forced them to act as guides and used them as human shields in a battle that later ensued between the military and the NPA. One of the civilians was injured in the said battle.

Other recent atrocities of the 5th ID and PNP include the positioning of armed troops, two howitzers and other armaments in known tourist and production areas like Lake Danum and Langsayan-Pilaw Ridge, and a forced entry on a gardener’s cabin in Lake Danum.  Residents of Sagada already expressed outrage in August this year when the AFP indiscriminately bombed a watershed area of Sagada, just a few kilometers near barangay Aguid.  And it can be recalled that February this year, military operating troops also positioned themselves in Lake Danum and the Langsayan-Pilaw Ridge earning the ire of the Sagada community who petitioned the military to vacate the said area and the entire town of Sagada.  And again, in the ongoing military operation, the Sagada people are vehemently protesting the presence of the military troops and are demanding them to pullout from Sagada.

The ongoing combat operation in the boundaries of Mountain Province and Abra is part of a massive military operation of the 5th ID and PNP that encompasses a number of provinces in the Cordillera and Cagayan Valley regions, while the whole world remains appalled by the failure of the Aquino government and AFP/PNP to efficiently respond to the catastrophic situation in the typhoon-ravaged provinces of Visayas. (di lang sa Eastern part)

The human rights situation in the country continues to worsen under the Aquino regime’s new counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan which has already been exposed as just a rehash of the much dreaded Oplan Bantay Laya I and II of the Arroyo regime.  Militarization in both the countryside and urban poor communities continues.  There is no letup in extra-judicial and media killings.  And  proven perpetrators in the AFP and PNP, the likes of Gen. Palparan, remain at large, or worse, were even promoted to higher ranks and offices.

No amount of blatant lies by the AFP and PNP about respect for human rights and international humanitarian law can cover-up the continuing list of military abuses of government troops.  No massive propaganda machinery of the AFP-PNP under the failed Oplan Bayanihan can conceal the truth about the worsening human rights situation in the country.  On the other hand, Oplan Bayanihan has failed to attain its target to reduce the NPA to an inconsequential force by the end of 2013.  The armed revolutionary movement led by the CPP-NPA continues to grow stronger and the people’s war is on its way to attaining a higher level.

In line with its commitment to attaining just and lasting peace, the revolutionary movement reiterates its call for the resumption of peace negotiations between the NDFP and GPH to tackle the remaining substantive agenda on economic and political reforms, and for the GPH to act on its part in implementing previously signed agreements especially the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The CPP-NPA remains firm in protecting and upholding the political and economic rights and interests of the people.  Only through its program of genuine land reform and national industrialization can the foundations of peace be truly established.  The NPA, consciously guided by the principles of human rights, shall continue to render justice for the Filipino masses whose human rights have long been ignored and trampled upon by the current exploitative system.

In this light, we call on the masses to continue in actively reporting and demanding justice for every single human rights violation perpetrated by the AFP, PNP, their para-military groups and the entire reactionary state.  We also call upon soldiers and policemen within the AFP-PNP who are disgusted by the countless human rights violations, and who were themselves victims of inhumane treatment by their superiors, to come forward, expose and fight these abuses and join the masses in supporting the armed revolution.###


People’s Democratic Government indicts 71st IB, GPH Fiscal, PNP, AFP officials, Aquino for murder of 8-year old Roque Antivo

Rubi del MundoNDFP-Southern MindanaoDecember 12, 2013
A Special Investigative Body formed by the Compostela Valley People’s Democratic Government found “sufficient basis to constitute a people’s court to try” the officers and members of the 71st Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Jerry T. Borja, Col. Angelito de Leon of the 1001st Brigade, Major Jake Obligado and GPH Prosecutor Graciano Arafol, Jr. for “ planning, aiding, abetting and conspiring in the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and serious violations of Human rights and international humanitarian law in the murder of Roque Antivo and frustrated murders of Jefrey Hernan and Earl Jhun Antivo” last April 3, 2013 in Brgy. Anitapan, Mabini, Compostela Valley.
An indictment was released last December 10, 2013 to 23 Respondents that also included GPH Pres. Benigno Aquino III, GPH Department of National Defense Chief Voltaire Gazmin, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista, and Eastern Mindanao Command Commander Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz.  Aquino,as commander-in-chief, and Bautista were indicted for designing and carrying out, respectively, the Oplan Bayanihan which targets civilians like Roque.

The Special Investigating Body composed of Osang Quijano, Mario Renante and Julius Senajon “recommended an order for the immediate arrest and commencement of the trial of the Respondents by a competent tribunal duly constituted under the revolutionary laws, legal and judicial system and processes of the People’s Democratic Government.” Appropriate penalties will be implemented following the trial.
The Special Investigating Body which documented the circumstances surrounding the April 3 incident said the troops under a platoon of the 71st IB led by 2nd Lt. Felipe Llorca were responsible for the killing of 8-year old Roque Antivo, the wounding of his uncle Jefrey Hernan and the severe psychological trauma of Roque’s elder brother Earl Jhun. It also found the Mabini police and members of the crime laboratory for having committed the cover-up in the crimes by “presenting, giving credence and by upholding the clearly tampered evidence at the crime scene and for deliberately showing two sets of bullets to insinuate that two armed groups were involved in an armed encounter.”
The Special Investigating Body also indicted GPH Provincial Prosecutor Graciano Arafol, Nabunturan town who issued a Resolution dated September 17 dismissing the charges filed by the family last May 28, 2013. His acts constituted of “abetting in the further denial of justice to the victims and their families by partially dismissing the case without regard to the direct and clear testimonies of eyewitnesses by instead relying heavily on the respondents’ unsubstantiated and self-serving alibis of a phantom encounter between the responsible AFP unit and the NPA.”
The Special Investigating Body also affirmed that Roque Antivo was not killed due to a legitimate encounter between the AFP and the NPA, saying that “(G)eographically and physically it would be impossible for the nearest NPA unit F2 platoon or even a detached team to arrive at about two hours later at Kidaraan,” the site of the incident. The indictment also said that because of the small number of empty shells found at the scene of the crime, it would be impossible to say that an encounter occurred on the night of April 3, given that “AFP units have no fire discipline and that they expend bullets in the numbers in an attempt to show superior strength whenever they are in armed encounter with their enemies.”
The Indictment, likewise, singled out Maj. Jake Obligado, 10th ID Civil Military Operations Battalion Chief “for acts of bribery and for influencing the victims’ family to deny justice and erase culpability of the Responsible Army unit.”  Obligado was said to have offered scholarship and small amount to the Antivos to prevent them from filing charges against the Army.
Antivo’s murder and the frustrated murders of the other two children show grave violations of children’s rights. As the AFP units desperately seek to control countryside villages, children who are at least 10 years old, or who looks 10 years old, are at risk of being falsely accused as NPA combatants and are thus considered enemies of the state.
Already exploited on account of poverty and oppression, children are deliberate targets of AFP operations in hapless communities that are suspected to be under the control or are supportive of the revolutionary movement.