DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A militant lawmaker on Friday pressed for the implementation of the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) as counter-insurgency operations are targeting the Lumad communities in Mindanao.
“With the joint agreement for the interim ceasefire signed by the GRP and NDFP panel during the fourth round, the AFP should be held accountable for its past and on-going violations, especially the occupation of farmer and Lumad communities, which actually undermines the pursuit for a just and lasting peace in the country,” Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said in a statement.
On Friday, more than 70 Lumad from Mindanao encamped in front of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Central office in Quezon City “to demand a comprehensive, sustainable rehabilitation and rebuilding of Lumad communities affected by militarization in the Southern Mindanao Region.”
Casilao described the Army’s counter-insurgency operations in Southern Mindanao region as “pandemic” which resulted to human rights violations.
“Even before President Duterte’s pronouncement to ‘flatten the hills’ as counter-insurgency measures, human rights violations were already a pandemic in the Southern Mindanao Region,” he said.
The spate of Lumad killings in Mindanao prompted a Lumad advocate group to raise such issue before the DSWD, fearing that death toll would escalate since deployment of soldiers in Davao region continues.
Kerlan Fanagel, chairperson of Pasaka, the Confederation of Lumad organization in Southern Mindanao region, claimed that 24 Lumad were already killed including three couples and five women.
With this, Casilao said that Anakpawis with the Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution No. 906 to probe the “massive militarization and human rights abuses in Mindanao, especially the bombing operations on Lumad communities by the AFP.”
“That is why Lumads and other national minorities staged various activities in the Manila to expose these continuing atrocities of state forces against the Lumad and activists who are pushing for genuine social change. We hold the the rightists in the Duterte government primarily responsible, particularly Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief Eduardo Año, who are executing the counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan,” Casilao said. (davaotoday.com)