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Investigate troop deployment in communities — youth group

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Reference: Sarah Katrina Maramag, Vice-Chairperson, 09193486790

Militant youth group Anakbayan today called for an immediate investigation of the unexplained and suspicious presence of military troops in urban poor communities in Metro Manila.

Platoons of military men in full battle gear have been sighted in some parts of Pandacan, Payatas and Caloocan this month. The military have reportedly set up camp in the said communities, conducting profiling and imposing curfews on the residents.

Residents also reported that the troops have been questioning them on the whereabouts and existence of militant and progressive groups in their communities.

“We are calling on the Commission on Human Rights and other concerned sectors to launch an investigation on the unexplained deployment of heavily-armed military troops in our communities. The military has no business whatsoever to be setting camp in these areas. It is becoming more obvious that their sole purpose is to harass and scare the people into joining anti-chacha and anti-government actions in the days to come,” said Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan national chairperson.

Yesterday, on Human Rights Day, 20 Anakbayan community youth activists were illegally arrested and detained by military men in Payatas, Quezon City while conducting a “mobile campaign action’ against charter change.

De Guzman added that residents fear that their communities are being set up as “test grounds’ for plans to put up “counter-insurgency zones” similar to those set up in militarized Central Luzon.

“We demand an explanation from the government and the military. We will not allow our communities to be terrorized by the military. It will take more than a platoon or two to quell the youth and the people’s outrage against charter change,” de Guzman said.

The youth group, together with other youth organizations, is set to hold a fact-finding mission in Payatas today.

Meanwhile, students are set to walk out of their classes tomorrow, December 12, to participate in the big anti-Con Ass rally.