JULY 20, 2015
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
DAVAO CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region decried today the promotion of Maj.Gen. Eduardo Año as chief of the Philippine Army.
“The 10th ID, under the leadership of Año, was at the frontlines in the war against peasants, lumads, and human rights defenders,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR.
Forcible evacuation of lumads and farmers, trumped-up charges against leaders of progressive organizations, illegal arrests of civilians perceived enemies of the state, and killings of helpless civilians. This was the result of Año holding the helm of the 10th ID here in Southern Mindanao.
“If Año can bring that kind of terror in the region with the limits as a division chief of the army, what is it to stop him from wreaking havoc on a national level?,” Suazo asked.
Under Año, the killing of three civilians in the Paquibato Massacre and vilification of lumad leader Aida Seisa as member of the New Peoples Army (NPA) took headlines last month. This was followed by a strafing incident of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) chairperson Bello Tindasan, the killing of community leader and Typhoon Pablo survivor Felix Basig in Davao Oriental, and many other countless rights violations.
The closure of lumad schools in Talaingod and Kapalong through the collusion of the military and DepEd XI was also an issue in the previous months.
Suazo pointed out that the attack by suspected state agents to the office of Karapatan-SMR and the victims taking refuge in the area was perpetrated while Año was the chief of the 10th ID.
Under his term as 10th ID chief, Año boasted the killing of of top NPA leader Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao and his medic Vanessa “Ka Kyle” Limpag. This, many believed, catalyzed his promotion.
Suazo said that “blood will be spilled not only in Mindanao, but every place where the Philippine Army is as commanded by Año.”
Citing the plight of the 600 Manobos who have taken sanctuary in Davao City to escape militarization, Suazo said that the terror spread out by the military will intensify even more.