(An NDF statement on the 61st Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
The National Democratic Front (NDF) of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao calls Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a certified fascist and dictator with the martial law declaration in Maguindanao only among her latest and shameless schemes to continue to perpetuate in power and commit human rights violations.
With the regime’s Proclamation No. 1959, Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo mocks not only the commemoration of International Human Rights Day but also the death of the 57 victims of the Maguindanao carnage whose bloody fate was conceived because of her widespread coddling of warlords like the Ampatuans. Arroyo resurrects the horrors of martial law. And although the move is an overkill reaction and insulting to the intelligence of the Filipinos, it poses great danger as Arroyo desperately tests the waters to see if she can implement martial law in the entire country to continue her grip on power.
Killings, bloodshed, cold-blood murders and human rights abuses dominate the eight-year rule of Arroyo. She remains callous to criticisms that reverberate even up to the international community. The Maguindanao carnage, whose victims have been added to the long list of extrajudicial killings, is glaring evidence that extra-judicial killings in the country are sponsored by the Arroyo regime.
Arroyo has given marching orders to liquidate political dissenters through Oplan Bantay Laya, considered as the most vicious and murderous counterrevolutionary program that any reactionary GRP president has ever designed.
It is Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) that has created monsters in the likeness of warlords like the Ampatuans who have been enjoying wide support and protection from the Malacañang. Oplan Bantay Laya has unleashed military and paramilitary forces in the regime’s brazen conduct of targeting and killing members of political activists, peasants, lumads, workers, church people, journalists, lawyers, health personnel in Southern Mindanao and all those who resist this hated regime.
The OBL in Southern Mindanao has taken a more vicious turn by targeting families and relatives of members of New People’s Army (NPA) in its vain attempt to demoralize its leaders and members. After the rape-slay of Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of Kumander Parago, the military recently killed Conrado Cañete, the 57 year old father of one of the region’s NPA commanders, Ka Jinggoy. Canete’s dead body was found dumped on a garbage site last November 29.
Pitao and Cañete are only among the 116 victims of extrajudicial killings in the region since Arroyo assumed power in 2001. Eleven cases of extrajudicial killings were committed from January to November of this year alone. A local human rights group monitored 380 cases of human rights violations affecting 29,628 individuals and 4,639 families from January to November of this year. Cases of extrajudicial killing, frustrated murder, abduction, arbitrary and illegal arrest, torture, threat, harassment, intimidation, encampment in school and communities, indiscriminate firing and bombing, forcible displacement and evacuation, forced recruitment on Barangay Defense System and paramilitary groups like Task Force Gantangan, among others accounted for these violations.
The 10th infantry division-Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been active in vilifying leaders and members of legal and progressive organizations as proven in the expose JICC “Agila” 3rd Quarter 2007 report. Some of the individuals whose names and organizations included in the military’s dossier were already killed while others are subjected to harassment and surveillance.
Ruthless members, paramilitary groups and death squads of the 10th ID of the Eastern Mindanao Command perpetrated these crimes. Arroyo, being the commander-in-chief of the AFP, lauds the military for its bloody accomplishment of carrying out these atrocities, and in fact has given accolades to 10th ID-AFP officials who all stink of blood like Reynaldo Mapagu, Carlos Holganza, Leo Ferrer, and Eduardo Del Rosario. Now, retired general Jovito Palparan, Arroyo’s most accomplished hound-dog, aims to bring his bloody campaign in the Davao region.
The NDF-Southern Mindanao blames the US imperialist state for its direct role and complicity to the many crimes of the Arroyo government and the previous regimes against the people.
For one, the Joint US Military Advisory Group (Jusmag) has been drafting and creating counter-insurgency programs for the AFP. It has created the Oplan Bantay Laya, patterned after the Operation Phoenix during the Vietnam War. It has been giving various trainings for Philippine military officers and men, aside from the US being the main supplier of military weapons and equipment to the AFP.
Further, more than half of the 667 million US dollars assistance of the US to the Philippines was directed to Mindanao, the US’ second front in its war on terror. This same financial aid has funded the OBL campaign, enriched the vassal-warlord Ampatuans and their private armies; and has been pocketed by AFP generals.
As the Philippines becomes the leading recipient of US Internal Military Education and Training funds in East Asia and the Pacific, and ranks 12th with the biggest share of US Foreign Military Financing in the world, the Arroyo regime’s subservience to the US imperialist state worsens.
The US’ war on terror — aimed to defeat national liberation movements and eventually dominate the world for its economic, military and political interests — is complicit in the crimes committed by Arroyo’s bloody counterrevolutionary program and is responsible for the burgeoning of private armies like those of the Ampatuan warlords.
The NDF-Southern Mindanao calls on the Filipino people to frustrate the criminal designs of the US-Arroyo regime. Enough of this regime’s butchers, criminal coddlers, and warmongers!
The US-backed Arroyo and her gang must pay for their crimes against the Filipino people! Oust the US-Arroyo Regime!
Rubi del Mundo
National Democratic Front of the Philippines