By ILOCOS HUMAN RIGHTS ALLIANCE (IHRA)
Human Rights group Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA-Karapatan) strongly condemns the statements made by the 50th Infantry Battalion (IBPA) Civil Military Operations branding Karapatan as “legal front” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
We view these statements of the 50th IBPA as part of the dirty tactics of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to discredit and harass legal progressive organizations who are steadfast in asserting the rights of the people.
In their radio program Timek ti Soldado (The Soldier’s voice) aired in July and August 2008, certain Lt. Kigis and Sgt. Garcia consistently slandered Karapatan and its regional chapter, IHRA and tagged it as “communist front that “protect and defend the rights of their fellow NPA’s.” Kigis and Garcia also stated in their program that Karapatan destroys the moral values of the youth because it influences the youth “to do harm to their families and to the community.”
The said “soldier-broadcasters” also accused party list group Bayan Muna and Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) of using projects as “legal fronts” to deceive the people and recruit them to join the CPP-NPA.
These malicious and slanderous statements of the two “soldier-broadcasters” only proved the desperation of the AFP to crush the people’s movement. It is undeniable that the military disrespects civil and political rights of the people. The AFP specifically the 50th IBPA irresponsibly used the media to directly malign the CPP-NPA without even analyzing and acknowledging the root-causes of nearly 40-year old armed conflict. As such, these irresponsible accusations served as a license to attack legal progressive organizations as it directly these organizations such as Karapatan to the CPP-NPA-NDFP, the target of the counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya 2.
The vilification campaign made by the AFP is a component of OBL 2, the continuation of the failed counterinsurgency program of the US-Arroyo regime that resulted in the killings of more than 900 unarmed civilians and members of the legal democratic organizations, disappearance of more than 198 and other gross human rights violations. These statements clearly show that the military is behind the spate of gross and systematic human rights violations.
For more than 13 years, Karapatan has been in the forefront of human rights advocacy in the Philippines. It has exposed and opposed state terrorism and fought hard to attain justice for the victims of human rights violations committed by state agents such as the AFP and PNP. It has served the marginalized sectors of the society by fighting for the people’s nationalist and democratic interests. No amount of disparagement can stop Karapatan from asserting the people’s civil, political, socio-cultural and economic rights.
It is no surprise that the Arroyo regime and the military’s state terrorism will be met with outmost defiance by people struggling for peace anchored on justice. #