Karapatan said the US State Department report on the human rights abuses in the Philippines is “hypocritical”, saying the US is also responsible for the said abuses through military aid, deployment of troops and a counterinsurgency program that is the blueprint of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.
“The US government foments human rights abuses in the Philippines by filling up the military war chest of the Aquino government. The US military aid is used for the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan which already victimized thousands of Filipinos especially in the rural areas,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. She cited the $40 million military aid to the Philippines promised by State secretary John Kerry in December when he visited the Philippines.
Palabay said, “Impunity persists precisely because of US backing. For its own political and economic interests, the US propped up regimes which are human rights violators—from the time of the Marcos dictatorship up to the present.”
The report, which came out two months after Kerry’s $40 million pledge, is “deceitful” according to Palabay. “It is image building. The US government is trying to soften its image among Filipinos and also in the international community as it prepares for an increased and permanent presence in the Philippines for its vaunted Asian pivot.”
In an article written by Azadeh Shahshahani and Vanessa Lucas of the National Lawyers Guild in the US, they said that US military aid to the Philippines rose to $30 million in 2012, from $11.9 million in 2011, signaling “U.S. government’s renewed support for Oplan Bayanihan, the Aquino administration’s counter-insurgency program and the latest attempt to end a 45-year-old insurgency led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).” [seehttp://www.thenation.com/blog/178453/how-us-aid-fosters-human-rights-violations-philippines#]
“Oplan Bayanihan has adopted a similar framework and similar techniques to Oplan Bantay Laya (counter-insurgency program under Macapagal-Arroyo administration), and has led to human rights violations,” they wrote.
Not a ‘communist propaganda’
Palabay took note of the “prompt response” of the Aquino government and its agencies to the report by the US government while practically ignoring the killings that have been going on since the Aquino’s presidency. Palabay recalled how BS Aquino “immediately dismissed documented human rights violations perpetrated by State forces as ‘communist propaganda’.
From July 2010 to December 2013, Karapatan documented 169 victims of extrajudicial killing. In the first six weeks of 2014, Karapatan already documented six victims of extrajudicial killing.
“Impunity exists because there is not one perpetrator arrested, prosecuted and jailed—they are promoted. The Commission on Human Rights cannot simply agree to the report. It is equally accountable because it issued clearances to military officials promoted by BS Aquino, despite pending court cases against them,” Palabay said.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101