July 27, 2010 in Featured
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The independent think tank Ibon Foundation released a fourth volume of a series of books on State terror focusing on the Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch or OBL) and counter-insurgency in the Philippines uncovering atrocious impacts on the life of the Filipino people.
The book aims to enhance a deeper knowledge of the wider public on the OBL.
The book was launched at the Igorot Lodge in Camp John Hay on July 19, with Antonio Tujan Jr, a social activist for over 40 years and author of many books with social relevance. He said the first three series of the book were initially introduced abroad. Tujan explained this was done principally for international human rights campaign.
“We do that because just revolution is about hearts and mind, it is not really detonating a military force against another military force… it’s winning the hearts and minds of both the people of your country and the people of other countries”, said Tujan. Tujan said that through the campaign of bringing up the issues of the OBL, international attention, concerns and solidarities as well from various organizations worldwide were gained.
He also mentioned the efforts of Filipino migrant organizations abroad in bringing up the campaign that earned solidarity support from the people in their respective countries. Because of the campaign, even heads of state grew interested and talked even to (former president Gloria M.) Arroyo even if the past administration did nothing.
As a result, the burden of pressure was passed on to her predecessor, Benigno Aquino’s administration by the United Nations and different sectors and international organizations.
The fourth series according to Tujan, does not simply tackle human rights but it is about the fact that there is a campaign on counterinsurgency launched by the US imperialism and it is not only done here in the Philippines but in different countries in collaboration with their respective governments.
Tujan said that the book focuses on the hand or the power behind the vicous OBL of the Arroyo administration that seems to be continued by the Aquino administration through a new form of campaign.
He also said that in line with the anti-imperialism struggle, also launched is a global campaign against the US-imperialism led counterinsurgency being staged not only in the Philippines but all over the world.
The book was organized into four parts. The first part of the book laid-out an overview of Arroyo’s OBL presenting the features of the campaign in eradicating not only the armed revolutionary movement but also progressive organizations and individuals especially political activists and leaders.
The second part situates the OBL within the program of the US imperialism in its struggle for world domination. The third part examines the impacts and implication of OBL on the people while the last part discussed the situation of elusive peace and justice in the Philippines. It also includes the follow-up report of UN-Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on extrjudicial killings in 2007.
Executive Director of the Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN-AP) and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Southeast Asian Regional Institute for Community Education (SEARICE), a member of the Board of the Rural Advancement Fund International, Canada and the International Baby Food Action Network, Malaysia, Sarojeni Rengam said, the book portrayed the systematic and institutionalized violation of human rights in the Philippines under the OBL.
Rengam said that in the book, it described that despite the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, the peasant organizations, the mass movement and the indigenous peoples go on with the struggle to fight for their rights and welfare.
Mothers of victims of the OBL also graced the said book launching. Hustisya spokesperson Evangeline Hernandez, mother of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Secretary General Benjaline Hernandez who was murdered by alleged state agents on April 5, 2002 said the book was a significant contribution in gathering international support to expose and oppose the Arroyo regime’s evils and atrocities under the OBL.
Chairperson of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice, Mrs. Editha Burgos, mother of Jonas Burgos who was an organizer among farmers and an agriculturist who was abducted on April 28, 2007 by armed men; said the book is a reminder that the dark days of martial law during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos continues to this day.
The book, she added, is a recognition of the contributions made by the people in the search for cures to a sick societal system.
In the book’s introduction, Tujan says, “if there’s one lesson to be learned from over a centruy of US-led counterinsurgency in the Philippines and elsewhere, … it is that oppressed and exploited people will always, in one way or another, exercise their right to resistance and liberation”. # nordis.net