Friday 13 December 2013

Date: 12 December Type: News Source: Bulatlat Keywords: Communist Party of the Philippines, bombings, Oplan Bayanihan

MANILA — Leaders of the Aquino government are currently busy fending off criticisms of criminal negligence in the pre- and post-typhoon Yolanda disaster response. But it seems that while the rest of the world have been hurrying to do their share in lessening the humanitarian crisis that resulted from the supertyphoon’s fury, the Aquino government and its armed forces have also been busy with conducting aerial bombing campaigns, which have been damaging people’s properties and agricultural livelihood, endangering the lives of people and causing grave psychological trauma to residents.

In a statement emailed to the media by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on the occasion of Human Rights Day, it called on all advocates and defenders of human rights and international humanitarian law to expose and oppose the said aerial bombing campaigns.

“The indiscriminate bombing runs being conducted by the AFP under its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression are grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” said the CPP. It accused the Aquino government of being “utterly hypocritical” in claiming that it upholds peace and human rights while it continues to commit grave abuses and brutalities against the people.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines have allegedly conducted a series of aerial bombings last November 18, 21, 23, December 4 and December 6 in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley. The provinces are the site of agricultural- and mineral-rich lands being targeted by foreign transnational companies for agribusinesses and mining operations. But they are being limited or opposed by the population, including some of their local government executives.

On November 18, at 6:30 am, the 66th Infantry Battalion allegedly dropped bombs at Barangay Mahayahay in Maragusan town, Compostela Valley. This was followed by day-long strafing forcing residents of the village to evacuate their homes.

At 10:30 am of November 21, the Armed Forces of the Philippines allegedly bombarded Sitio Bunlang and other communities in Davao del Norte using 105mm howitzer canons. This was followed by the dropping of bombs at 4 p.m. by MG-520 helicopters in North Davao and Maco town. On November 23, the Philippine government troops allegedly employed at least two MG-520 helicopters to drop bombs over farmlands in Barangays Elizalde, Teresa and New Barili in Maco town, Davao del Norte.

On December 4, at 9:30 a.m., the government troops also allegedly bombarded Sitio Lim-aw and Sitio Gakub, in Barangay Teresa, Maco town with 105mm howitzer canons, forcing peasants to evacuate. On December 6, MG-520 helicopters also allegedly dropped bombs in Sitio Binagyuhan and Sitio Barabay in Barangay Malamudao and Sitio San Vicente in Barangay New Barili in Maco.

Why are government soldiers indiscriminately bombing these agricultural communities? The CPP said the government armed forces have resorted to the brutal use of aerial bombings and other means of indiscriminate attacks against civilians in its “desperation to meet their vain hope of decimating the New Peoples’ Army by 2013 and waging a war against the revolutionary mass base.”

Far from ruing an impending loss, the CPP statements pointed that it is gearing up to celebrate its upcoming 45th anniversary, although it has asked supporters to tone down the festivity and instead channel their resources toward helping the typhoon victims.

Other Aquino govt’s aerial bombings

Earlier in August 29-30, the Armed Forces of the Philippines reportedly carried out massive aerial bombings in the Mountain Province damaging farmlands, indigenous irrigation systems and the natural environment in the northern barangays of Sagada and parts of Bontoc. In May, another aerial bombing was conducted by the state troops in Malibcong town, Abra. Such aerial bombing campaigns have reportedly resulted in grave psychological trauma in children.

“Over the past three years, Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan has revealed itself as being no different from the previous brutal military campaigns such as Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2,” various human rights groups have said.

Under Aquino, the government soldiers, police and paramilitary organizations continue to turn up as behind human rights violations targeting the poor communities where the people have been rising up and raising protests against the oppressive and exploitative system, the CPP said in a statement.

Adding to the already numerous documented cases of exrajudicial killings under his government, last Dec 6, troops of the 1001st DRC and the 71st IB of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have allegedly carried out the killing of Pedro Tinga of Barangay Malamudao, in Maco town

Formal peace negotiations between the Aquino government and the revolutionary forces led by the CPP have been stalled because, according to the CPP, the Aquino regime continues to jail no fewer than 400 political prisoners, including 13 peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The CPP blames Aquino’s “stubborn insistence” on detaining the NDFP peace consultants as one of the reasons why they are constrained to talk peace. They cited the Aquino government’s violations of previous agreements, the Philippine governments had signed with the NDFP, foremost of which are the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).


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