The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ rampage of death has claimed 585 lives since 2001 when Arroyo assumed the presidency. Of this, 221 have known political affiliation. The figures have been compiled by the human rights group Karapatan and have been submitted in part to the United Nations last April.
“This is the single worst man-made disaster that has spanned five years and continues even to this day. The extent and magnitude of the killings show that there is a systematic national campaign to annihilate and decapitate legal organizations of national democratic mass movement,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“It is incredibly idiotic and malicious to blame so-called CPP purges for these deaths. It is patently ridiculous to deny the pattern in the killings of activists,” Reyes said.
Bayan stands by its earlier pronouncement that the killings were the work of government-sponsored death squads.
Reyes said that the victims of extra-judicial killings have claimed not just members of partylist organizations but also members of militant peasant groups, trade unions, political alliances, human rights workers, lawyers and church workers. Many are known leaders of Bayan, KMU, KMP, Karapatan, PCPR and other cause-oriented formations. A great number of those killed are also affiliated with partylist groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party.
“The administration’s refusal to admit that there is indeed a pattern in the extra-judicial killings of activists points out either to their incompetence or their tacit approval for these actions,” Reyes said.
Bayan also expressed outrage that the Philippines, a newly elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, has only given a token response to the killings. Last week the PNP formed a task force to look into “unsolved killings” of activists.
“The rampage of death must be condemned by all freedom-loving Filipinos. This is not just an attack of “˜leftists’ but an assault on the lives and liberties of our people. We ask the CBCP, the international human rights watchdogs and all concerned individuals and groups to rise and condemn these atrocities,” Reyes said.