“For the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to continue lying through its teeth, it is a confirmation that they lack credibility and integrity, and that they are desperate for any opportunity to mask their abhorrent public image. Resorting to fake news is at the height of desperation. Since time immemorial, the AFP has been a foremost purveyor of fake news to save its own skin and to justify rights abuses,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the reports by the AFP of alleged hostage-taking, looting and threats of members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Antipas, North Cotabato. The AFP’s claims were later disputed by Mayor Egidio Cadungon of Antipas, North Cotabato.
Karapatan expressed support for the filing of criminal charges against perpetrators of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration, including the recently filed cases by kin of victims of political killings in Maayon, Capiz and that of relatives of victims of drug-related killings in Caloocan City.
“President Duterte, you say and grieved that you have lost soldiers, but you are losing constituents as well – the majority of the poor people you have sworn to protect when you took oath as President. The peasants, the indigenous people, the urban poor and the many others in the countryside, are they not what constitute the majority of the Filipino people? Shouldn’t you also grieve for their loss and mourn with their families?” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, on the continuing attacks against the people, more recently in Malibcong, Abra and Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.
“In the course of Duterte’s counter-insurgency programs supported by the US government and the military’s all-out-war, forty two (42) peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, and workers have already been killed, thousands have already been displaced while many more have been the subject of threats, harassment and intimidation. President Duterte should rethink the direction he has taken because where he is headed is a bloody trail of continuing human rights violations – the same direction that Duterte’s predecessors took,” said Palabay.
Continuous operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have caused the recent forcible evacuation of communities.
“Directives to bomb and ‘flatten the hills,’ especially coming from the President, have severe repercussions on the ground. If it was done to please a crowd of military and police dogs or to build up his image, it has nonetheless resulted to the endangerment of civilians, for the nth time. As we see the full extent of the counter-insurgency program, which is further enabled and directed by Duterte’s pronouncements, there is no denying the fascist character of this State,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the recent series of aerial bombardment by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in various communities in Compostela Valley and Maguindanao.
“Sorry doesn’t cut it. The soldiers of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) involved in the killing of a 1-year old baby girl, Moro leader Hadji Billamin Hassan and Nuruddin Musaddul Muhlis should be prosecuted and punished. Firing on and killing of civilians in the course of the so-called “crossfire” is a heinous crime under international humanitarian law and they should be accountable,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, in reaction to the statement of Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., WestMinCom commander, on the killing of the two children, in the course of the military operations against so-called Abu Sayyaf in Tabuan Lasa, Basilan on March 8, 2017.