Bayan: AFP setting stage for Metro comeback in time for terror law implementation

Jun. 14, 2007

MANILA — The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today assailed the Armed Forces of the Philippines for manufacturing popular clamor for the return of troop deployment in Metro Manila.

The statement came in the wake of announcements by the Armed Forces of the Philippines that 19 baranggay chairmen allegedly want the troops back in their communities. The AFP revealed an alleged petition from community leaders asking that troops be brought back for peace and order.

The re-deployment of troops in Metro Manila may be timed for the effectivity of the new anti-terror law known as the Human Security Act of 2007 on July 14. Using the terror law as a pretext, troops can be deployed in areas in the guise of going after terrorists. This bodes ill for human rights given the bad track record of the AFP, said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

This can mean a state of virtual martial law in some communities. The troop deployment will go hand in hand with the implementation of the terror measure. The Arroyo government is probably going for the shock effect of having troops in areas while the terror law is initially implemented, Reyes added.

Bayan said that it expects protests actions against the Arroyo administration to continue over issues of legitimacy, poverty, corruption and human rights.

The AFP considers the deployment of troops in Metro Manila communities as part of internal security operations or counter-insurgency operations. The so-called terrorists they are running after may turn out be legal activists engaged in legitimate forms of dissent, Reyes warned.

Bayan also belittled the so-called clamor for the return of troops in Metro Manila.

The initial reaction of some local leaders is understandable since there is indeed a problem with peace and order in the communities. However, military presence in the long run in these communities will also show human rights abuses and cases of harassment. We have already recorded several cases. Lets not wait for these cases to increase, Reyes said.

The AFP is facing a petition before the Supreme Court on why it is deploying soldiers in Metro Manila communities. The petition was filed by partylist groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis. The High Court has ordered the AFP to reply to the petition.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to davaotoday @ Davao Today is not responsible for the content of these materials. The opinion expessed in these items does not reflect those of Davao Today and its staff. Please refer to our terms of use/disclaimer.

comments powered by Disqus