Written by Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews
KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/05 December) –A human rights group claimed that 2006 is the worst year for human rights since 1986 with President Arroyo, backed up by the United States government, launching a “campaign of terror in an effort to desperately cling to power.”
In a press statement, the Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights) Southern Mindanao chapter based in Davao City, tagged President Arroyo as the person responsible for the most number of human rights violations in the country. “The President, backed up by the United States government, launched a campaign of terror in an effort to desperately cling to power,” it said.
The group likened Arroyo’s declaration of the “State of National Emergency” through Presidential Proclamation 1017 (PP 1017) on February this year to the dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation 1081 which ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to suppress all forms of lawless violence, including acts of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all decrees, orders, and regulations.
“While the Arroyo government did not specify the powers vested in the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP), it gave them the go signal to attack the Filipino people’s rights,” the group stressed. PP 1017, according to the press statement, violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
The Philippine National Police (PNP) raided the office of the Daily Tribune during the early morning of February 25, it said. “It also attempted to issue media guidelines and warned media organizations that the police will be monitoring broadcasts and publications,” a move the media protested. Violent dispersals of rallies were justified by the Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) policy issued by the President on September 21, 2005, the 32nd anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law. The brunt of the “campaign of terror,” it said, was directed against left-leaning or militant individuals and groups. At the start of the year, the Arroyo government, through its Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security, came up with an enhanced National Internal Security Plan (NISP). The enhanced NISP intensified the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya which aims to defeat insurgency by the end of Arroyo’s term.
In June 2006, the Arroyo government allotted an additional P1 billion for counterinsurgency. Karapatan said the campaign is directed not only against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Abu Sayyaf Group. “but it also targets the Left, which the AFP classifies as sectoral front organizations.”
Immediately after the declaration of a state of national emergency, the Arroyo government attempted to arrest progressive party-list representatives of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Gabriela Women’s Party. They, together with prominent personalities of these parties, were falsely charged with rebellion on the basis of fabricated evidences and statements of military assets.
Extrajudicial killings and abductions continue to escalate, averaging three political killings per week. Karapatan documented 185 political killings from January to November this year. The number of victims of enforced disappearances this year reached 93, the highest in the six-year presidency of Arroyo. From January 21, 2001 to November, 2006, the number of victims of political killings has reached 797. In Southern Mindanao, there were 76 victims of extrajudicial killings from January 2001 to November 2006.