On January 2011, the Aquino government instituted “Oplan Bayanihan”, its own version of the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan. Like its predecessor Oplan Bantay Laya, it boasts of securing peace and putting an end to insurgency while guaranteeing the protection of human rights and civil liberties.
But reality tells a different story.
In the Southern Tagalog region alone, several cases of human rights violations including cases of extrajudicial killings have been documented by rights group Karapatan that point to the government’s counterinsurgency program.
On February 2012, four farmers in Majayjay town in the province of Laguna, two of whom are minors aged 15, were indiscriminately fired upon by soldiers conducting military operations. Two died while the other two were in critical condition.
Under the Aquino administration, there are now 16 victims of extrajudicial killings in Southern Tagalog alone. Seventy-six victims of extrajudicial killings have been recorded from July 2010 to March 2012 nationwide.
In the Southern part of Quezon, eight battalions of the Army, the national police and paramilitary CAFGU have been deployed, quite a large figure relative to the area in which it operates. A case of abduction in Macalelon town in March 2011 was already reported to Karapatan. Unidentified armed men allegedly took farmer Felix Balaston to the 85th Infantry Battalion’s camp. He remains missing to date.
Cases of threat, harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention perpetrated against local farmers in Quezon have also been reported. Army forces are stationed in houses and barangay (village) centers. Detachments are mounted in about 50 barangays in the rural areas of South Quezon.
Several local farmers’ groups in South Quezon consistent in their struggle for genuine land reform against big landlords and businesses are now targeted by the military in their operations.
Oplan Bayanihan is but a replica of its predecessor. Like Oplan Bantay Laya, it is a counterinsurgency program designed by the U.S. government to quell all forms of resistance, armed or unarmed, by any means necessary.
Help stop Oplan Bayanihan. Help stop human rights violations.