Oplan Bayanihan escalates human rights violations in BuDaBosa!

Saulo Lumadao Front
NPA South-Central Abra, Agustin Begnalen Command
14 September 2011

Amidst the world commemoration of the International Humanitarian Law on August 8, the 50th IB under the 503rd brigade of the AFP shamelessly committed widespread human rights violations against the people of Sallapadan, Bucloc, Daguioman and Boliney (BuDaBoSa), all in the province of Abra.

In the pretense of achieving peace through the US-Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan, the 50th IB on the contrary spread fear and terror among the people of BuDaBoSa while conducting Peace and Development Team (PDT) operations under the leadership of Lt. Col. Anquillano. At present, the three companies of the 50th IB are encamped in houses in the Barangays of Ud-udiao, Bazar, Naguillan, Bila-bila and Saccaang in the municipality of Sallapadan; and in Barangays Ableg and Kabaruyan in the municipality of Daguioman.

Aside from these, detachments of the 77th IB/CAA are still fortified and are sowing fear and wreaking havoc in Sallapadan Barrio Elementary School and Gangal Elementary School in the municipality of Sallapadan; and Barangay Labaan in Bucloc and Barangay Poblacion, Boliney despite complaints from the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) and the residents.

The 50th IB and the US-Aquino Regime legitimize the AFP’s encampments/basing in the communities by militarizing civilian functions. Instead of civilian government agencies such as the DOH, DepEd, DENR and DPWH performing their respective mandates and functions, the AFP, in a vile attempt to prop up it’s wicked image, tokenly provides services and haphazardly implements government programs and projects. The AFP insists on using civilian facilities and vehicles and force civilians to travel and mingle with them, endangering the lives and properties of civilians in case of armed confrontations. The AFP also exploits these projects for corruption such as the P13.5 M Kalayaan Barangay Project(KBP) in Sallapadan.

Moreover, since the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, even in the conduct of the so-called “Peace and Development Team” (PDT) operations, the 50th IB’s human rights violations have escalated. The AFP interrogated civilians without formal cases, conducted forced census, and even “invited” some barangay officials and leaders of peoples organization to report in military camps. They also ruined fences and rice fields, and even robbed hunters while conducting patrol operations in the mountains. They also force barangay tanods to join in their operations and bad-mouthed and threatened civilians who vocally oppose their basing inside the barrios. The military are also maliciously accusing the residents to be suppliers, supporters and caretakers of the NPA’s medicines and logistics. They illegally searched houses and required these people to report in army detachments for interrogation. A civilian who went out of the barrio for two days to tend his rice fields and swidden farm was accused by the AFP to have joined the NPA.

Even when the residents have long opposed large-scale mining projects in their municipality, the AFP are accusing them of being communists to suppress protests against these projects. The AFP troops are ever-present, where mining companies are aggressively pursuing mining applications. Yet 503rd Brigade’s Colonel Posadas persistently denies their role as the mining companies’ security forces. But in Abra, and in other parts of the Cordillera region and the entire country, the people can easilly see through the AFP’s sarzuela: Oplan Bayanihan means development aggression (or the imposition of projects purportedly for development but are actually anti-people and pro-big business and big landlord), escalation of human rights violations, and lies and more lies!

There is no truth in the AFP’s claim that it upholds human rights and international humanitarian law. The long list of the 50th IB’s abuses proves that the AFP are liars and rabid human rights violators. Only on its first year of implementation, the US-Aquino regimes Oplan Bayanihan already unmasked the facade of peace and development missions as systematic acts of violence and deception to subdue the people’s resistance and pacify them in their fight for a just and lasting peace and a truly democratic and pro-people society.

Oplan Bayanihan in BuDaBoSa and in the whole country will surely be defeated just like Oplan Bantay Laya and the other counter-insurgency campaigns of the past regimes. The US-Aquino Regime does not intend to address the roots of the armed conflict and only serves the interest of the US imperialist and its local puppets. Instead of solving the long-standing problems of the people such as the lack of land of the peasantry, unemployment and poverty to achieve long-lasting peace, the USAR and the AFP promotes and protects the large-scale mining projects and other programs that are detrimental to the interests of the people.

Terror and deception can temporarilly subdue the people. The people of BuDaBoSa are witness to the AFP’s abuses during the past regimes and since the 2004 Special Operation Team (SOT) operations, the precursor of the deodorized Peace and Development Teams. These human rights violations infuriates the people, as they see the justness of the people’s war and and the national democratic revolution. The people will rise and advance their struggle not only against human rights violations committed by the military, the PNP and other para-military forces, and against development aggression such as large-scale mining. The people will also rise to achieve long-lasting peace in the country by advancing the national democratic revolution through victory.