Months into the end of Oplan Bayanihan's Pahase 1, human rights violations continue to belie the conjured picture of "peace and development" of the three-year US-Noynoy Aquino regime. Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay) is Aquino's version of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).
The almost complete unmasking to the public of a pretentious rule marks the second year of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s presidency.
Despite supposedly improving economic statistics, the majority of the people are still mired in poverty reeling from high prices of basic commodities and services, unemployment, unlivable wages, sham land reform, inadequate housing and so on. Even its much touted campaign against poverty is under question as more cases of corruption by people from the Aquino administration surface. No hope can be pinned on this president whose government fails to lighten and instead adds to the burden that the people, especially from the basic sectors, endure.
Noynoy Aquino’s reckless implementation of privatization, liberalization, deregulation and denationalization, all earmarks of neoliberal globalization, proves his puppetry to U.S. imperialism. Just like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino has been anointed to be the U.S. lackey in Asia especially in its current “pivot to Asia-Pacific.” In exchange for Obama’s pat on the head and American military aid,Malacanang welcomes stronger U.S. military presence in the country and perhaps even the possible return of U.S. bases.
There has been no substantial change from martial law to Noynoy Aquino, especially in the human rights situation in the country. This is the logical conclusion one could draw after the horrors of repression during martial law were recalled and highlighted during the commemoration of its 40th year of imposition. Brought to the fore were stories of gross human rights violations during one of the darkest periods in Philippine history.
Noynoy Aquino led the government’s commemoration of the 40th year of martial law and, for the nth time, recalled the sufferings of his family under the dictatorship. A week later, Noynoy Aquino would be seen in the company of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, the architect of martial law, and Imelda Marcos, the dictator’s widow. Meanwhile, victims of martial law still have to see the Aquino government’s will to push for the indemnification of the victims of Marcos’s campaign of suppression. The indemnification of martial law victims remains sidetracked, 26 years after the dictatorship was ousted. So much for justice and indemnification.
More than 20 country members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called attention to the continuing extrajudicial killings (EJK), enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights violations (HRVs) and the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines.
On May 29, 2012, the Philippine government went through the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland. Expectedly, the Aquino government played its cards close to its vest as State parties and the international community examined the human rights situation in the Philippines. The GPH delegation tried to gloss over the hard facts on the unabated human rights violations and the reign of impunity in the country as it hyped the enactment of one or two national laws and the approval of some international instruments related to human rights.
KARAPATAN, in consultation with its member organizations and other related organizations, is submitting this report on the state of human rights in the country with recommendations to the OHCHR for the 13th session of the UPR in the UN Human Rights Council in May-June 2012.
Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay), the counter-insurgency program of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, heightens the use of civic-military activities in communities as a cloak over intensifi ed combat operations and attacks against the people’s leaders and organizations. It is even more deceptive than, but equally vicious as the previous government’s Oplan Bantay Laya because of adornments of “peace” and “development.”
It has been a year since President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was elected president. His and his government’s performance has been mediocre. Specifi cally, his campaign promises relating to human rights remain unfulfilled.
Noynoy failed to render justice to the victims of human rights violations (HRV) under the U.S.-Arroyo regime. No one during his first year in Malacanang has been prosecuted among the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, torture, arbitrary arrests, illegal detention and military atrocities in the countryside.