DAVAO CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao sounded alarm today, over the quick rate of extra-judicial killings in the region and series of other human rights violations by the military.
From January 11 to February 9, seven individuals ranging from peasant leaders to ordinary civilians, were gunned down either by suspected state agents, or men in uniform.
The military have been quick to deny involvement to the killings, or brand the victims as NPA, but Karapatan said otherwise.
“We are here today to expose to the public the dual atrocities of the military: they have killed civilians, and unjustly labeled them as NPA casualties so as to avoid any accountability for their crimes,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR.
Along with mass leaders from various grassroots organizations, Suazo enumerated the series of extra-judicial killings today, narrating the civilian status of the victims and their participation in actions condemning state fascism and inaction.
“Farmers, anti-mining, activists, and lumad students seem to be the recent appetite of the war monster that is the Oplan Bayanihan,” Suazo lamented.
Suazo cites the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan as the blueprint “to exterminate the people’s resistance,” saying that its people-centric approach made certain the death of ordinary Filipinos.
“By borrowing the ‘people-centered’ approach from the US counterinsurgency guide, the mercenary AFP has made progressive organizations and innocent civilians its primary target. The presence of the NPA is mere pretext to legitimizing their operations in the countryside,” Suazo claimed.
Despite the “terror sowed by military”, Suazo asserted that peoples’ movements “remain undeterred, even more emboldened.”
“The corpses are piling up, but so is the rage, unity, and realization amongst the people that the only way to end the killings is to stand up for their rights and struggle against the Aquino regime, the ultimate killer of the Filipino people,” Suazo said.
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO