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Activist Targets - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

The Armed Forces of the Philippines for its part has embarked on a campaign to vilify and ... The Philippines is the biggest recipient of US military aid in East ...

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Activist Targets

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The issue of political killings has taken center stage in the Philippines with the recent statements coming from the United Nations and the Melo Commission pointing to the military as the perpetrators.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines for its part has embarked on a campaign to vilify and demonize legitimate people’s organizations, labeling them as “communist fronts”, instead of addressing allegations that the AFP is behind the killings.

We are coming out with this Powerpoint presentation to show the public who are really behind the murders, who are the killers, who are the real terrorists, and who are the real enemies of the people.

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Activist Targets

prepared by the

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

Unmasking the real “enemy”

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1. Is there a national trend or pattern in the killing of activists under the Arroyo regime?

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It is now beyond question that there is a pattern in the killing of activists. The largest number of extrajudicial killings to date since Martial law - 835 victims as of March 2007.

Of the 835 victims, 378 were identified activists.

Documented by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights from January 2001 to March 2007.

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The killings do not happen in just one area or region.

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Victims of extrajudicial killings from 2001 to February 2007 by location:

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Cagayan Valley – 30

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Cordillera Administrative Region - 18

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Central Luzon - 142

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Southern Tagalog -152

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Bicol Region - 119

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Visayas Region - 126

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Mindanao Region - 208

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2. Who are the victims of extrajudicial killings?

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Civilians, unarmed, who had either pursued or supported political causes. Many are ordinary people.

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Church leaders and members

have also been assassinated.

  • Fr. William Tadena of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in Tarlac

  • 2. Rev. Edison Lapuz of the Conference Minister of the United Churches of Christ in the Philippines.

  • 3. Bp. Alberto Ramento the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

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Even human rights workers themselves are victims of extrajudicial killings.

  • Eden Marcellana, Karapatan Southern Tagalog Secretary General

  • Benjaline Hernandez, Deputy secretary general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region

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Victims who received death threats from the military before they got killed:

  • Ricardo UY, Bayan Muna member. Before he was killed, a radio program run by the Philippine Army in dzMS Sorsogon City, "Ugnayaan sa Kapayapaan" (linking for peace) tagged him as an "emerging leader of the NPA”.

  • Marcelino Fabula, Anakpawis - Laguna. Interrogated by Lt. Andy Veneracion of Camp Lusiana prior to his death on December 4, 2005.

  • He was shot dead by Jacinto Losano, a CAFGU member closely linked with Veneracion

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The rest of the victims have no political affiliation but have been killed in the course of military operations, usually in communities labeled by the military as "red areas"

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"We should remember that most of the victims were not even members of armed groups, even though they may have sympathized with their ideology. It is a matter of importance for everyone in the Philippines that individuals should be able to affiliate with the political party or group of their choice and not be subject to politically motivated violence as a result."

– Amnesty International

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For now, the targets seem to be the organized activist groups and partylist formations.

In the future, the targets can be ANYONE opposed to the administration. They too may be called “enemies of the state” and may be targeted by the repressive agents of government.

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3. Who are the perpetrators?

Fact sheets, eyewitness accounts, direct and circumstantial evidence point to the elements of the AFP and their death squads as the perpetrators.

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Motive, means and opportunity:

A study on the means and opportunity behind such killings points to the elements of the AFP and/or their agents like the Civilian Armed Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and death squads.

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Motive, means and opportunity:

The AFP, being the biggest armed group in the country, has the means of launching such offensives on a nationwide scales. It has enough resources and manpower to undertake a systematic attack on the progressive movement.

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As early as 2004, Norberto Gonzales named the progressive party-list groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Anak ng Bayan, Suara Bangsa Moro and Migrante as communist fronts.

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In the power point presentation "Knowing the Enemy" by the AFP, more legal organizations including church groups and journalists' groups were branded as communists fronts.

In the book "Trinity of War" the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) further identifies alleged front organizations of the CPP and the NPA.

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The communist-labeling of legal organizations is itself a policy declaration of the Arroyo regime.

It lays the basis for the vicious attacks on these legitimate organizations.

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  • The Melo Commission believes that some elements of the military are involved in the killings. In its report, the Commission believes that:

  • The military, not the NPA, is involved in the killings of activists.

  • 2) There is some circumstantial evidence to hold Palparan and some of his superiors responsible for the killings based on the principle of command responsibility.

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  • UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston in his initial statements on the issue said:

  • The AFP remains in a state of almost total denial (as its official response to the Melo Report amply demonstrates) of its need to respond effectively and authentically to the significant number of killings which have been convincingly attributed to them.

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4. Who must account for these killings?

Ultimately, it is the State which should be accountable for these killings for tolerating, abetting, and sponsoring the killings of activists

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By not doing enough to stop the killings, the government is already liable under international standards

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The Arroyo government in fact has encouraged the killings through its all-out war policy against the Left.

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The policy of political killings and all-out war is being directed by the Cabinet Oversight Committee for International Security (COS-IS) reveal the motives behind the killings. Its members include:

•the Executive Secretary

•National Security Adviser

•Defense Secretary

•AFP Chief of Staff

•PNP Director

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The Melo report says that there is enough circumstantial evidence to blame Palparan and some of his superiors for the killings of activists.

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Criminal cases have previously been filed against Palparan for the murders of Eden Marcellana, Eddie Gumanoy, Benjaline Hernandez, Edilberto "Choy" Napoles.

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5. Why are activists being killed?

The Arroyo regime is waging all-out war against the people's movement. The progressive movement is the most determined among the forces struggling for Arroyo’s ouster.

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Other factors

US imperialism for its part considers the progressive movement as a threat to its economic and political interests in the country.

It is in the strategic interests of the US to eliminate anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and anti-fascist resistance in the Philippines.

The Philippines is the biggest recipient of US military aid in East Asia and the Pacific Region.

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  • The all-out war includes:

  • Harassment of legal organizations

  • Communist-labeling of legal groups

  • Military deployment in urban poor communities

  • Filing of false criminal charges against leaders of progressive groups

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6. What can be done?

Some of Alston’s major challenges for the Arroyo Administration

a) Acknowledgement of the problem by the AFP

b) Moving beyond the Melo Commission

c) The need to restore accountability in government

d) Witness protection

e) Acceptance of the need to provide legitimate political space for leftist groups

f) Re-evaluate problematic aspects of counter-insurgency strategy

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BAYAN’s concrete steps to stop the extrajudicial killings:

  • Stop the communist-labeling of legal activist groups accused of being front organizations. The communist tag on legal activists is by itself a policy pronouncement of the government.

  • Arroyo should issue a direct and categorical order to the AFP to stop all military operations directed against legal activist organizations. Withdraw Oplan Bantay Laya

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BAYAN’s concrete steps to stop the extrajudicial killings:

  • De-militarize areas where there are high incidence of extrajudicial killings

  • Relieve military officials in areas where there is a high concentration of extrajudicial killings to pave the way for impartial investigations which can be conducted but not limited to the Commission on Human Rights.

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BAYAN’s concrete steps to stop the extrajudicial killings:

  • De-militarize areas where there are high incidence of extrajudicial killings

  • Relieve military officials in areas where there is a high concentration of extrajudicial killings to pave the way for impartial investigations which can be conducted but not limited to the Commission on Human Rights.

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BAYAN’s concrete steps to stop the extrajudicial killings:

  • The filing of the appropriate cases versus the military officials implicated by the Melo report in the cases of extrajudicial killings. These can be brought to the special courts assigned by the Supreme Court.

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What else can we do?

There is a need to step up protests to condemn these killings.

All forms of actions here and abroad must be undertaken to expose the state policy of repression.

Importantly, we must struggle for the immediate removal of the fascist US-Arroyo regime. It is her desperation to stay in power that incites the slaughter of political dissenters.

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