DAVAO CITY- Lawmakers led by Rep. Guillermo Romarate , chair of the congressional Committee on Human Rights, spearheaded an inquiry this August 13-14 into the human rights violations by the AFP in Southern Mindanao.
Cases of Roque Antivo, Aida Seisa, the forcible recruitment of lumads into paramilitary group Alamara, and the usurpation of authority by Alamara leaders from the tribal leaders of Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte, and San Fernando, Bukidnon, are among the many cases that they will raise.
Attacks and militarization against IP learning schools were also discussed.
Rius Valle of Save Our Schools Network presented pictures and video of actual school encampment of the military in various places.
Ronie Garcia, Administrator of STTICLC presented the strafing incidents last October 14-17 that transpired in their school in Talaingod, Davao Del Norte where the military are encamping the community.
Garcia and the students survived the strafing.
He also said that the Local Government Unit in the is futile that they did not receive any help even after various dialogues with the officials.
Hanimay Suazo of Karapatan is hopeful in the inquiry that it would do well to shed light on the human rights violations.
“Till now, justice remains elusive. Through this (congressional inquiry), we are hoping that we are closing on holding the Aquino government and the military accountable.”she said
She added “By doing this, we are hammering down the wall of impunity where the fascist troops of the AFP have been cowering for long.”
Suazo said that the human rights violations should be factored in by the congress when it decides for the budget of the military.
She said that aside from pork barrel funds, the lion’s share of the military of the national budget should be condemned as well.
She claimed that the modernization program of the AFP will not bolster the state’s armed forces, as long as its long record of human rights violations are not resolved.
She added, “No technology will ever wash off the blood in the hands of the AFP. Year after year the budget for military expenditures have increased, along with the number of human rights violations. The military should review instead its principles and ask: who exactly do they serve? The Filipino people, or the interests of foreign corporations and their allies in the US-Aquino regime?”
The lawmakers who attended the said Congressional Inquiry were as follows: Cong. Guillermo Romarate, Cong. Antonio Tinio, Congw. Luz Ilagan, Cong. Karlos Zarate and Cong. Fernando Hicap.
AUGUST 30, 2015
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO