By Jun Cinco
Published: January 17, 2013
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today Pres. Noynoy Aquino for appointing the general who conceptualized the government’s counter-insurgency program as the military’s chief of staff, saying the move shows that the president is merely paying lip service to upholding human rights.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who was appointed chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines last Tuesday, led the crafting of the government’s Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan and has recently vowed to implement the counter-insurgency program on a wider scale.
The labor center claimed Oplan Bayanihan has led to the extrajudicial killing of six urban poor leaders and four transport leaders, the illegal abduction and imprisonment of two organizers of government employees, and the filing of trumped-up charges against three of KMU’s national leaders and one of its regional leaders.
“Oplan Bayanihan has meant the intensified violation of trade-union and human rights. We condemn Aquino for appointing this fascist peace and security plan’s architect as AFP chief of staff,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“Bautista’s appointment clearly shows that Aquino is merely paying lip service to upholding human rights. Aquino’s public pronouncements are aimed at weakening the local and international publics’ vigilance towards his widespread and brutal violations of human rights,” he added.
KMU cited data from human-rights group Karapatan that show that Oplan Bayanihan has caused 137 extrajudicial killings, 154 frustrated murders, 27 illegal arrests and intensified militarization of communities as of December 2012.
The labor center also said that Bautista’s promise of making the New People’s Army “irrelevant” by his retirement in July 2014 bodes ill for trade-union and human rights in the country.
“We’ve heard statements like these before. The AFP chiefs who made the same promise failed to reduce the NPA’s strength but intensified violations of trade-union and human rights,” Soluta said.
“It is the height of arrogance for a military chief of staff to say that he will make the NPA irrelevant in a couple of years. As long as poverty and hunger persist in the country, the NPA will continue to grow with the support of the poor, especially the poor peasants in the countryside,” he said.
“The worsening situation of trade-union and human rights in the country exposes the truth behind the government’s rhetorics of ‘respect for human rights’ and ‘people-centered approach.’ As far as human rights violations are concerned, Aquino is no different from Arroyo and Bautista is his Esperon,” he added.