Rights group hits P200-billion Oplan Bayanihan budget for 2015

Sep. 14, 2014

DAVAO CITY—Human rights group Karapatan slammed the proposed budget of Oplan Bayanihan for 2015, saying it is a budget to “kill.”

On Saturday, Hanimay Suazo, Regional Secretary General of Karapatan in Southern Mindanao Region said the proposed Oplan Bayanihan budget will only amplify the “killing machineries” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“The proposed budget will only aggravate the already gloomy human rights situation in the country,” Suazo said.

In a document showed by Karapatan-SMR, it bared that the Oplan Bayanihan—the government’s counter insurgency program—has a total budget of more than P 200 billion.

Karapatan said that Oplan Bayanihan’s budget has been distributed to other government agencies namely: the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp).

For 2015, the Department of Social Welfare and Development KALAHI-CIDSS has been earmarked with P 17,530,737,000, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) has P 582,280,000 while the Pamana project has been allotted with P 9,220,070,000, among other agencies, respectively.

“The DSWD and OPAPP funds for PAMANA and Kalahi-CIDSS are part of Oplan Bayanihan’s implementation, particularly for its psy-war component,” said Karapatan.

Suazo said “PAMANA and Kalahi-CIDSS projects are mere palliatives meant to douse dissent over government’s anti-people policies and programs.”

Karapatan noted that Department of Defense 2015 budget is Php 17 billion higher than last year’s actual budget of more than P82 billion.

“This year, the Defense Department has proposed a whopping Php 99,469,167,000. Items in the budget include the same old items such as modernization budget of the AFP at Php 20 billion; and, P 2 billion compensation and separation benefits for the paramilitary group CAFGU.”

In Southern Mindanao region, Karapatan feared that the proposed Oplan Bayanihan budget will only “make the situation worse for the indigenous people whose communities in Davao del Norte have been heavily militarized.”

Last April, some 1,350 Ata-Manobos fled their villages in Talaingod  and temporarily stayed in a religious house in Davao City after at least 600 soldiers encamped in their remote villages.

The Ata-Manobo evacuees majority of whom were children and women,came from the villages of Bagang, Nalubas, Basakan, Saso, Lasakan, Sambulongan, and Bayabas in Barangay Palma Gil as well as Sitio Pongpong in Barangay Dagohoy.

Davao’s progressive groups, who documented the various human rights violations, condemned the intensified militarization in the hinterlands of Talaingod and threat of dislocation as a result of large-scale mining in its mountain ranges.

“The mercenary AFP institution had already deployed Palparan-cloned generals here, while about 29 battalions are already operating in the region, and worse, they are exploiting the indigenous peoples by arming them and reviving the ALAMARA & other IP fanatical/paramilitary groups such as in Kapalong and Talaingod, Davao del Norte,” said Suazo.

“All the more, the budget for the AFP is susceptible or most likely will just end up in the pockets of corrupt generals.” (davaotoday.com)

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