Bayan News Release

9 May 2009

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today supported the findings of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Philip Alston that the Arroyo government has failed to make “substantial progress” in addressing killings and other human rights abuses. The group called for a stop to foreign aid for the Arroyo government, especially military aid, in the light of the human rights situation in the Philippines.

“The single most glaring proof that the Arroyo government has failed to make perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable is the case of Gen. Jovito Palparan. The Arroyo government has offered him several government posts in the past. The government failed to prosecute him despite credible findings by the Melo Commission, the Court of Appeals and Alston himself,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“Palparan is the best reminder that justice for human rights victims has never been a priority under the Arroyo regime. He has set the trend as no ranking officer of the AFP has ever been prosecuted under the Arroyo regime. The P25 million reward fund is just another publicity gimmick and will not lead to successful prosecutions,” Reyes added.

Bayan said that the Arroyo government “practically ignored” most of the recommendations of Alston submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“Activists are still being killed every month. Scores of activists are facing trumped-up charges of murder and rebellion. Cause-oriented groups are still being labeled as communist fronts of the NPA. The counter-insurgency policy Bantay Laya remains. The Inter-Agency Legal Action Group remains,” Reyes said.

Bayan renewed its call to developed countries to stop military aid to the Philippines in the light of the Alston follow up report.

“The US government under Barack Obama should cut any form of military aid to the Arroyo regime in the light of the Alston findings. The European Union should also reconsider its aid for the Arroyo regime. Foreign aid at this point only helps the Arroyo regime carry out its policies of repression. Blood will be on the hands of the foreign donors themselves,” Reyes said.

The Philippine government receives some $30 million annually in Foreign Military Financing from the US government. The amount is believed to be used for the government’s counter-insurgency program which has been blamed for the rise of human rights abuses. In the past, the US congress made additional military aid contingent on the Philippine government’s compliance with Alston’s recommendations.

“We hope that the member countries of the UN Human Rights Council will not think that it is should be business as usual in the Philippines, given the dire human rights situation. The international community must also act to condemn the Arroyo government,” Reyes said.