Militant groups: ‘Never again to Martial Law’-A A +A
Friday, September 21, 2012
PROGRESSIVE group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is once again calling on President Benigno Aquino III to give justice to all victims of human rights violations as the group commemorated the 40th year of Martial Law on Friday.
Antonio S. Pasco Jr., deputy secretary general of Bayan-Northern Mindanao Region, said in a statement that despite his electoral campaign slogan “righteous path,” the Aquino government has consistently failed to curb state-sponsored violence.
Pasco said the use of force to quell people’s resistance remains to be the norm and that qualitatively, the blueprint for Martial Law’s violence remains intact.
“Oplan Bayanihan, PNoy’s counterinsurgency plan, is just a sugar-coated version of Gloria’s OBL. Legitimizing paramilitaries and army auxiliaries -- these forces are the leading human rights violators in the rural landscape since the Marcos Era. Even priests and government officials are not spared from their aggressive killings,” he said.
Pasco said that for 21 years, then President Ferdinand Marcos was responsible for 3,257 extrajudicial killings, 800 enforced disappearances, 70,000 political prisoners and 35,000 torture victims, all of which were swept under the rug.
“The government has done nothing to put the prime authors in jail, some cunningly transited in the post-Marcos government. The Marcos administration is the benchmark upon which the human rights record of all others who followed him was compared,” he said.
According to human rights watchdog Karapatan, Pasco said that in just merely two years as president, Aquino has already killed more than a hundred persons, had 11 enforced disappearances and 62 torture victims.
In Bukidnon province, the New Indigenous Peoples Army Reform (Nipar) are allegedly been terrorizing lumads in San Fernando town.
Pasco said the group is the primary culprit in the death of Jimmy Liguyon, a well-known anti-mining advocate.
Liguyon was reportedly killed for his refusal to sign the resolution allowing the entry of mining activities in his barangay.
Pasco said the constant red-tagging and surveillance operations targeting identified members and leaders of progressive groups have not toned down one bit.
“Political prisoners under Aquino face repression even when jailed. They face trumped-up charges such as murder, arson, etc. when they should have been charged with rebellion since their actions were driven by their political belief in accordance with the Hernandez amendment. Two out of 10 political prisoners are legitimate holders of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees entered into by the government and the National Democratic Front,” he said.
He said their arrest disrespects the process of the peace negotiations between the warring forces, “coloring the sincerity of the administration with mud and stain.”
At the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail, five political detainees ended their eight-day fasting in time for martial law’s 40th anniversary.
Alfredo Mapano, alias “Ka Paris,” then regional head of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for Northern Mindanao, is hoping that through this, the National Government will now act to fast-track their cases and for their amnesty.
Mapano and four other detainees started their eight-day fasting last September 14, along with other political detainees in various jails all over the country.
Earlier, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno worked for Mapano’s release, for him to be placed under their custody.
Mapano said he is grateful to the move as he vowed he would no longer go back to doing “underground activities” once he is released.
“Dili na ko mobalik pa sa kalihokan kung makagawas na ko. Hinuon igahin ko nalang ang nabilin nakong mga adlaw sa akong pamilya,” he told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Mapano said he has no regrets in joining the revolutionary movement, citing half of the years inside the movement is justifiable.
Meanwhile, Pasco said the deceptive and tenacious framework of Oplan Bayanihan brings back the horrors of Marcos’ Martial law.
He said the need to disband the para-military groups in Northern Mindanao, especially Nipar, is an utmost necessity.
“The state of extravagance they experience from the local government and from the military promotes an atmosphere of impunity. The reign of terror they have sprawled must be put to an end. The use of police force to intervene in agrarian disputes must be abolished as it opens the basic masses of peasants and IPs to the receiving end of state violence. In remembrance of Martial Law, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan shares the aspirations of the thousands of victims of state repression and their families for justice. In unison, we call justice to the victims of human rights violations, disband Nipar and all para-military groups, oppose Oplan Bayanihan and end impunity now!” Pasco said.
On Friday, progressive groups led by Bayan Muna held a march-protest from the Provincial Capitol toward Magsaysay Park in Divisoria area as they called for an end to impunity, justice to all human rights victims and never again to martial law. (Annabelle L. Ricalde/Terry Betonio)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 22, 2012.