Speak out: Time to reckon, time to rage

THE Filipino people commemorate the International Human Rights Day with rage and protests over the morose record of the US-Aquino regime’s gross human rights violations in the past three years.

The events that unfolded during the last half of the year had intensified such anger and discontent. It was not just human rights victims crying for justice, who pour into the streets, but a multitude of disappointed, dissatisfied, distrusting people from all walks of life. People were enraged over the magnitude and impudence of corruption as divulged in the Napoles pork barrel scandal, and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), despite Aquino’s pretense to curb it. People were enraged with the negligence and apathy of the Aquino government over the plight of the victims of disasters, while the whole world were shaken and concerned.

Today, we hold B. S. Aquino accountable for the 152 extrajudicial killings and 168 frustrated killings, 18 enforced disappearances, 358 illegal arrests and detentions on trumped up charges, tortures and other gross human rights violations, in his term, affecting a great number of the peasantry, indigenous people and urban poor dwellers.  

His counterinsurgency policy, Oplan Bayanihan, and his promotion of the pervading culture of impunity sanction all these. The author of Oplan Bayanihan, which is patterned after the US Counterinsurgency Plan, was appointed to head the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Military officials charged for masterminding abduction and tortures are promoted to higher ranks. Masterminds of extrajudicial killing and disappearances are at large; and many were let off the hook by the courts for their crimes. But people will not forget the killings of Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under Aquino; Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio; development worker Wilhelm Geertman; leader of typhoon victims Cristina Jose; environmentalist Gerry Ortega; scientist Leonard Co; and tribal leader Jimmy Liguyon. People will not forget the injustice done them and will continue the fight to pursue justice.

We hold Aquino accountable for the deepening poverty and intensifying oppression of the Filipino people. His Public-Private Partnership program has rendered many poor and neglected sectors homeless and all the more deprived of social services. People are increasingly suffering with the high rate of unemployment and the soaring prices of basic goods and commodities. 

We hold Aquino accountable for his gross negligence during disasters, such as that of typhoons Pablo and Yolanda that exacerbated the sufferings and anguish of the victims.

While stocks of rice and relief goods rot in government warehouses, people are starving and dying, as he plays the blame game and later goes selfie.

We hold Aquino accountable for the sellout of our national patrimony and sovereignty.

Foreign mining corporations and plantations plunder our natural resources, grab ancestral lands and kill. Tribal leader Genesis Ambason and massacred Capion family and many others offered their lives in defense of their land and livelihood.

The frequency of US military exercises in the country and the continuing presence of American troops and war armaments revive the defunct US military bases, which the Filipino people have evicted in the past. The Aquino government is hatching an agreement to legalize their continuing and increased presence in the country.

Aquino’s militarist solution to the Zamboanga crisis and his blunder in handling the Sabah issue have resulted to rights abuses and deaths of many of Moro peoples, as well as the surrender of our legal claim to Sabah. (Karapatan press statement)
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