New AFP chief's appointment 'very timely'-A A +A
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
MANILA -- The appointment of Army chief Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista as the new head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comes at the right time as the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan goes to its third year of implementation, a military official said.
In an interview on state run television, AFP spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said the IPSP Bayanihan "shifts to high gear" on its third year, making Bautista's appointment "very timely."
Burgos said 2013 is "very crucial" because next year, the AFP will be slowly transitioning to territorial defense, which means shifting from internal security operations to external defense operations.
The implementation of IPSP Bayanihan is the biggest challenge for Bautista, the chief architect of the said military plan, according to Burgos.
He said Bautista was then the AFP deputy chief of staff for operations in the middle of 2010 when he spearheaded the crafting of IPSP Bayanihan in partnership with all the stakeholders.
"Being the chief architect of IPSP Bayanihan and now at the helm of the AFP, we are highly optimistic that he would be able to lead and enable the organization to make vital progress and significant development which will help the organization and its partner agencies and stakeholders to achieve the shared goals of a just and lasting peace for our country," said Burgos.
Meanwhile, human rights group Karapatan said Bautista's appointment "signals the escalation of human rights violations" under the Aquino administration.
In a statement, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay claimed that Oplan Bayanihan resulted in 137 incidents of extrajudicial killings and 154 cases of frustrated extrajudicial killings as of December 30, 2012.
Late last year, the AFP said human rights complaints against military personnel is moving on a "downward trend" and the institution has taken steps in stopping the violations often accused against soldiers.
In May 2012, the AFP Human Rights Office created a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to probe reports of alleged human rights violations involving military personnel that were referred to the Commission on Human Rights.
The BOI findings revealed that all of the referred cases of human rights violations tagging military personnel were only "accusation" and "did not produce sufficient evidence" against soldiers. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)