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    Defense department’s budget is “budget to kill” — Karapatan

    By Karapatan

    Amid the people’s call to abolish the presidential and congressional pork, the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan) and several people’s organizations today held a picket at the House of Representatives, in time for the hearing of the proposed budget for the Department of National Defense (DND) for 2014. The protest underscored the “DND’s more than 82.1 billion-peso proposed budget meant to oil the Aquino government’s killing machine, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the primary implementer of Oplan Bayanihan.”

    Karapatan called for “ZERO budget for the DND.” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay echoed the people’s clamor to redirect huge amounts of government money “to social services like hospitalization and medical care for the poor and marginalized, education and subsidies to public colleges and universities and, housing facilities where people could access the funds directly and benefit from, instead of ending up either in the generals’ pockets or used to bomb communities as what is happening now in Sagada, Mountain Province.”Palabay cited the use of MG520 attack helicopters by the Philippine Air Force 1st Division’s Strike Wing on 31 August on a suspected lair of the New People’s Army, destroying communal hunting grounds, uma (farms), and water sources near rice fields and communities.Earlier, on 23 August, Blaan tribal chieftain Anting Freay, 60, and his son, 16-year old Victor, were killed by elements of the AFP’s 39th Infantry Battalion and Task Force Kitaco (Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio). Task Force Kitaco was created under the command of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army to secure the areas covered by the SMI-Xstrata’s mining project.

    The Freays were killed when their house was strafed by the soldiers who were positioned three meters from their house. The older Freay was immediately killed while his son sustained 18 gunshot wounds when he was fired at by another group of soldiers.

    “Public funds are being used to kill the people and perpetrate thousands of rights violations. Under Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, Karapatan has documented and recorded 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,” Palabay said.

    Included in the DND budget is the allocation of P2B for compensation of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs), despite wide and persistent clamor for the disbandment of paramilitary groups, civilian volunteer organisations and private. The European Parliament and several States also called on the Philippine government, in the Universal Periodic Review in 2012, to immediately disband all paramilitary groups.

    Palabay said Karapatan also documented several extrajudicial killings and human rights violations since 2010 involving paramilitary groups, such as the incidents involving Datu Jimmy Liguyon, Fr. Fausto Tentorio, and the massacre of Juvy Capion and her two children. “Similarly, the operations of the Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) units, which are co-funded and organized by the AFP and mining/transnational corporations, have continued, with Pres. Aquino categorically giving the go-signal for it on October 20, 2011. The question then is why are we still funding CAFGUs and SCAAs?” she asked.

    Karapatan’s research showed the Oplan Bayanihan budget, with at least a total of PhP162 billion, is allocated in various government agencies.

    Palabay explained the inclusion of the proposed budgets of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), National Security Council (NSC) and of some specific projects as in the case of PAMANA in the overall budget of Oplan Bayanihan “because these agencies and programs are conduits in the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan’s components, specifically the psy-ops and intelligence aspects.”

    Oplan Bayanihan Fund

    Agencies

    2014 (proposed budget)

    Department of National Defense (DND)

    82,195,121,000

    Philippine National Police (DILG)

    71,945,660,000

    Support for Peace and Order Councils (DILG)

           33,830,000

    Comprehensive Local Integration Program (DILG)

           74,036,000

    National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)

          590,956,000

    Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

          351,547,000

    National Security Council (NSC)

            88,584,000

    PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan allocated in various government line agencies)

       7,217,664,000

    Intelligence Funds (allocated in various line agencies)

          250,026,000

    (except PNP-DILG,DND and NICA allocations)

    TOTAL

    P162,747,424,000

    “The Filipino people deserve better than a government that is repressive and corrupt. It is the people’s right to have access to health services, to medical attention, to attend school and to better education and, to decent housing at the very least. We can no longer tolerate a government that has nothing to offer the people but PR spins and catchphrases of goodwill while violating the people’s rights at the same time,” Palabay concluded.

    Reference:
    Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
    Secretary General
    +63917-3162831

    Angge Santos
    Media Liaison
    +63918-9790580

    ———————————————————————
    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 1101
    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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