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Peace mission in Davao reveals rights, humanitarian law violations under Oplan Bayanihan

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Peace mission in Davao reveals rights, humanitarian law violations under Oplan Bayanihan
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
Sidebar: Resistance to mining exploration gave rise to rights violations
 
“The killings of Rudy and his son Rudyric Dejos in Sta. Cruz and of Santos Manrique in Pantukan brought into the limelight the real face of Oplan Bayanihan and revealed what was concealed in the peace and development coating of the Aquino administration’s continuation of the wicked legacy of past counterinsurgency programs,” the mission said in a statement.
By RONALYN V. OLEA

MANILA — The Aquino administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines claim that its new counterinsurgency program dubbed as Oplan Bayanihan is fundamentally different from the previous Arroyo administration’s bloody counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya. But the results of a recently-concluded peace mission in the Davao region revealed otherwise.

Duyog sa Panaw, a 73-member National Interfaith Peace and Mercy Mission led by Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP), documented violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) by state agents victimizing more than 3,664 individuals in a span of only three months.

Participants to the mission visited Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur and Pantukan, Compostela Valley from May 21 to 23.

Bishop Modesto Villasanta, EJP convener, said violations documented ranged from extrajudicial killing, harassment, attack or use of public places for military purposes, illegal checkpoint, and land-grabbing of ancestral lands of indigenous peoples, and disrespect for indigenous traditional leadership and cultural rights.
“The killings of Rudy and his son Rudyric Dejos in Sta. Cruz and of Santos Manrique in Pantukan brought into the limelight the real face of Oplan Bayanihan and revealed what was concealed in the peace and development coating of the Aquino administration’s continuation of the wicked legacy of past counterinsurgency programs,” the mission said in a statement.

Father and son Dejos were found dead with gunshot and stab wounds inside their house on February 27. Manrique was shot dead by four unidentified armed men riding on motorcycles on April 12.

According to a testimony of one of the residents interviewed by the mission, Rudy, who actively campaigned against the military’s Barangay Defense System (BDS), received death threats from soldiers of the 39th IB. The testimony also revealed there are two witnesses who saw how the soldiers killed the Dejoses.
Based on the mission’s investigation, Manrique had also received death threats through text messages. In March this year, Manrique was held and harassed by elements of the 1001st Brigade in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley on his way home after meeting fellow small-scale miners.

In Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, the mission recorded 26 cases of human rights violations with 851 victims. The mission found out that elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) violated the international humanitarian law prohibiting the use of schools, medical, religious and other public places or facilities for military purposes.

The 39th IB also violated the rights of 22 individuals by coercing them to join the Barangay Defense System (BDS), the mission reported. The mission also said that soldiers of the 39th IB warned residents against joining rallies and progressive organizations.

The situation seemed no different in Pantukan, Compostela Valley. The mission reported that elements of the 71st IB violated IHL for using public places and facilities for military operations, affecting 480 individuals and 80 families.

The mission deemed that large-scale foreign mining interests resulted in violations of the IHL and the human rights of small-scale miners and their families of Gumayan, Brgy. Kingking. Americna firm Russel Mining and Minerals, Inc. is operating in the area..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/05/27/peace-mission-in-davao-reveals-rights-humanitarian-law-violations-under-oplan-bayanihan/

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