Different regime, same story: Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan continues tradition of political repression in the Philippines
A number of people’s organizations’ leaders have been recently targeted for political repression under the Philippines’ Aquino regime.
As reported by the Filipino peoples’ rights group Karapatan (“Just like Arroyo’s OBL, Aquino’s OpBay attacks leaders of people’s organizations, rights defenders,” www.karapatan.org, 17 January 2013), the leaders have been implicated in a fabricated murder charge for the alleged killing of a military official during a 2010 encounter between soldiers and communist New People’s Army rebels.
“These forms of attacks, through the filing of fabricated charges, against human rights defenders are escalating, at a time when Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay) is on its last year of Phase 1 implementation. As the “architect” of OpBay Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista today takes his post as AFP Chief of Staff, his assumption to office has already indicated the escalation of human rights violations under the Aquino administration,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said.
According to Palabay, 28 members of indigenous and progressive groups have been arrested and detained on false accusations since December 2012.
A protest action was held in Mendiola on January 18 by people’s organizations calling for political prisoners’ immediate and unconditional release and denouncing worsening repression in the Philippines.
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