We are reposting the Press Release of PASAKA-SMR on the misrepresentation by the Eastern Mindnao Command of UN Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons Chaloka Beyani.
DAVAO CITY – PASAKA-SMR decried today the efforts of the military to misinform the public by maliciously twisting the stand of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) on the evacuees in UCCP Haran.
The military propagated in the media thru their Press Release quoting UN Rapporteur, Dr. Chaloka Beyani saying that the lumad evacuees are “manipulated”.
Graham Fox, Dr. Chaloka Beyani’s media officer clarified to Interaksyon editor, Nonoy Espina, that he “does not recognize the quote attributed to Mr. Beyani by the AFP”.
Fox said that “the special rapporteur was explicit in his discussion with the AFP representatives on multiple occasions that the persons concerned (lumad evacuees) should under no circumstances be considered to fall into the category of trafficked persons.”
He further stated that “it is the Special Rapporteur’s understanding, based on the first hand interviews with the Indigenous People in Haran, that they relocated to this facility freely in response to the militarization of their areas and forced recruitment into paramilitary groups operating under the auspices of the AFP.”
Fox said that the AFP statement “is consequently a gross misrepresentation of the position of the Special Rapporteur.”
Kerlan Fanagel, PASAKA-SMR chair, said that the AFP “has sunk to the deepest levels of misguided action, in its move to sow dispute in the efforts to bring into light the poor plight of over 700 lumad evacuees staying in UCCP Haran.”
Fanagel said, “By twisting facts, it has not only posed a danger to the evacuees due to the possible perception that these lumads are being used for monetary schemes, when in reality their statements about militarization and abuse by state forces are true; it has also looked down on the intelligence of every Filipino, who deserves to know the truth of the operations of its country’s military force.”
“The government has insulted Dr. Beyani, and the entire mission of pursuing peace. The military’s insincerity towards giving protection to the nation is clearly reflected here,” he added.
He also condemned high-ranking officers of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) for their recent “ill-planned publicity stunt”. “This proves that the officers of the Phil. Army like Col. Harold Cabunoc and officials of Eastern Mindanao Command, particularly Cpt. Alberto Caber, Col. Eduardo Gubat, and Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad are more than willing to shamefully employ every dirty tactic under its disposal in an effort to manipulate public opinion, regardless if there is any truth to their claims.”
“This conjures in mind psychotic individuals who are unable to realize concrete situations and see the human rights dimension in these. And we cannot have liars like them overseeing the daily operations of thousands of individuals armed with deadly weapons,” Fanagel said.
He said that, “Their continuing existence in public office constitutes a grave threat to the human rights situation of the people all over Mindanao.”
AUGUST 12, 2015
CONTACT PERSON: KERLAN FANAGEL