•From martial law to BS Aquino: Paramilitary groups are AFP’s surrogates in counter-insurgency operations
• Hustisya NEWS: “We say never again, because it’s not yet over,” rights victims say on 43rd year of martial law

From martial law to BS Aquino: Paramilitary groups are AFP’s surrogates in counter-insurgency operations

publicinfo: Sep 21 09:32AM +0800

Press Statement | September 21, 2015

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

From martial law to BS Aquino:  Paramilitary groups are AFP’s surrogates in counter-insurgency operations

“There may be no formal declaration of martial law under the Aquino regime, but the repression and terror it perpetrates are the same as they were during martial law, especially in the countryside. The proliferation and use of paramilitary groups as surrogates of the military are the same today as they were during martial law,” said Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

Hilao-Enriquez said, “The Magahat-Bagani group involved in the killings of two Lumad leaders and a school executive in Lianga, Surigao del Sur are only one among the many in the AFP’s record of arming and using paramilitary groups as pawns in its counterinsurgency operations.”

“What we now know as the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), Special Civilian Armed Auxilliary (SCAA), Investment Defense Force (IDF), Magahat-Bagani Force, Alamara, Sanmatrida, Dela Mance group were called the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF), Ilaga, Rock Christ, Pulahan, Greenan
during martial law. The names may have changed but they are all the same — effectively controlled by the AFP and are responsible for gross human rights violations, including brutal killings,” she added.

Of the total 282 extrajudicial killings documented by Karapatan as of August 31, 2015, 77 cases involve paramilitary groups. The figure does not include the three victims of the recent massacre in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, which happened on September 1, 2015.

Hilao-Enriquez cited the cases of the two Italian missionary priests Fr. Fausto” Pops” Tentorio and Fr. Tullo Favali who were both killed by paramilitary groups 26 years apart. Fr. Pops Tentorio was harassed and
later killed on October 17, 2011 by the Bagani forces while Fr. Favali was killed by the Ilaga paramilitary group led by Norberto Manero aka Kumander Bukay on April 11, 1985. The former was killed under the BS Aquino regime while the latter was during martial law. Both priests were considered as ‘enemies of the state’ for their work among the Lumad.

The paramilitary groups and the armed fanatic groups such as Magahat-Bagani, Alamara are armed and trained by the military—capitalizing on the people’s impoverished condition, illiteracy, playing on superstitious beliefs, and bastardization of indigenous culture and processes. “Whichever, the State used these groups, now and then, to attack communities believed to be members and/or supporters of the New People’s Army,” she added.

Hilao-Enriquez called on the people not to fall prey on the regime’s use of a worn-out tactic of divide-and-rule, which takes advantage of the other people’s miserable condition and use them to quell dissent among equally impoverished *kababayans*.

“Instead of resolving the root causes of poverty, the repressive and exploitative regimes, from martial law to the US- Aquino regime, have pitted the Filipinos against each other to serve the interests of its landlord and foreign master. ###
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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
<publicinfo@karapatan.org> ———————————————————————
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts.,
Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES
1101Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

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Hustisya NEWS: “We say never again, because it’s not yet over,” rights victims say on 43rd year of martial law

Hustisya: Sep 21 08:14AM +0800

News Release
21 September 2015

“We say never again, because it’s not yet over,” rights victims say on 43rd year of martial law

“We say never again, because it’s not yet over. As long as there is a government that implements a policy of repression and terrorism on the people, the people have every right to struggle,” said Ernan Baldomero,
vice-chairperson of Hustisya and son of the first victim of extrajudicial killing under Pres. Noynoy Aquino, Fernando Baldomero.

Victims and families of victims of human rights violations, since the time of the Marcos dictatorship up to the Aquino government, will march to the streets in several cities nationwide today on the 43rd commemoration of martial law.

Coming together are ex-political detainees during the Marcos dictatorship, families of those killed and disappeared under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and families of those killed and detained political prisoners under Aquino.

In Manila, at the frontlines will be representatives of the Lumad calling for justice for the killing of their community leaders and members.

“Soliders killing the Lumad people, government arming paramilitary groups, heavy militarization in communities, red-tagging of activists, arrest and detention of hundreds of political prisoners, the list goes on. We don’t need to go back to 1972. This is the martial law we need to resist now,” Baldomero said.

Hustisya joined other groups in calling for justice for victims of extrajudicial killings, and called for the junking of Aquino government’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.

“Oplan Bayanihan is Pres. Aquino’s Proclamation 1081. It dangerously hides behind so-called peace and development, yet continues to justify attacks against people and communities that exercise and defend their rights. The Aquino government uses Oplan Bayanihan to quell dissent and disgust,” said Baldomero.

The group also condemned the killing of Roger Vargas, 65 and Lucila Vargas, 60, both leaders of the Nagkakaisang Magsasaka sa San Isidro (NAGKAISA) and Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Bulacan – San Jose del Monte, who were gunned down in Bulacan on September 19.

Karapatan has documented 282 victims of extrajudicial killings as of August 2015.

“Amid numerous human rights violations, Aquino denied there is a policy of killings under his watch. His government also denied the existence of political prisoners. Marcos did the same. We are the living testimony of present state terror,” Baldomero said.

Reacting to Malacañang’s statements that the public should remember martial law, Baldomero said, “Perhaps it is the people who should teach this government a lesson. The Aquino government will definitely say we are lucky we can say all these things because there is no martial law now, but we encourage the people to not just remember. We call on the people to continue resisting Aquino-sponsored state terror. We should teach this regime that no amount of state terror succeeds against a strong people’s resistance,” ended Baldomero. ###

Reference:
Ernan Baldomero, Hustisya vice chairperson, +63939-2315464
Cristina Guevarra, Hustisya secretary general, +63908-4383826


Hustisya National Office
2/F #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts.
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City 1100 Philippines

Telephone: (02) 434-7486 | (02) 435-4146
Mobile: 0908-4383826
E-mail: hustisya.national@gmail.com