HUMAN rights advocates condemned an order to shoot civilians.
The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance said the statement irresponsibly ordered police snipers to shoot communist organizers who unnecessarily organize the masses at this time in the Cordillera Region.
The statement came from Police Regional Office – Cordillera regional director Brigadier General R’win Pagkalinawan echoing President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to shoot anyone who creates trouble at these times.
“We have heard these lines before in the government’s supposed war against drugs. Have they addressed the drug problem? No! At the cost of lives lost to extrajudicial killings running to more than 20,000 and at the expense of the rule of law, justice and human rights,” the human rights group said.
Tongtongan ti Umili, likewise, condemned Pagkalinawan’s statement saying the police regional director’s remarks mirrored the position of his commander-in-chief.
“His pronouncement is an affront to democracy and the police forces’ mandate to uphold, fulfill, and respect human rights and dignity especially now in the middle of a health and humanitarian crisis,” TTU said.
TTU added the Covid–19 crisis has struck many of the most vulnerable parts of the population to hunger and desperation, and has no recourse but to demand for better economic and social aid.
“However, with this ambiguous shoot-to-kill order against alleged communists paired with the relentless spate of red-tagging and political vilification against those who are speaking out, lives are now even more at risk,” TTU added.
TTUs said the pronouncement only enables police forces to silence innocent individuals only expressing their legitimate concerns and demands.
“The shoot-to-kill order plays no role in addressing the health and humanitarian crisis we are facing now. That kind of response is not what we expect from our police force and the government as we continue to face more difficulty amid this pandemic,” the TTU statement read.