COMMENTARY:Safety nets is not an assurance that Moro people?s rights is protected under the HAS

Even without the Human Security Act, the Moro people have been suffering numerous human rights violations due to the anti-terror policy of President Arroyo when she declared “intensive military crackdown” in areas like Basilan, Zamboanga, Sulu and in Central Mindanao in 2001.

Hundreds of Moro men have become victim of torture, arbitrary arrests and detention and enforced disappearances since 2001 to present. Only 20 Moro men in Basilan were released, (3) three in Shariff Kabunsuan Province, (1) one in Davao City and (1)one  in Cotabato City but where are the others? What will happen to them? 

HSA will justify and legalize warrantless arrests, arbitrary arrests and detention which the Moro men have been experiencing in this administration. To make it even (more vague), the Arroyo administration will not come up with Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) but instead they will come up with a brochure.

Now, the question is, who will implement the law? As per experience, any agent of the state can arrest and detain a suspected terrorist, not specifically the police but military men even the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) can execute the arrests.

They can also arrest you and accuse you as drug pusher and user and then later they will present you to media as terrorist. You will be detained three days or more without a case filed before the court.  

What happened to the case of Matanog 3 in Shariff Kabunsuan Province who were arrested by the 603rd brigade detained for three days in a military camp suffered torture and coerced to admit that they were members of the MILF Special Action Force who were tasked to plant bombs in Metro Manila.

After three days of suffering torture, the military men presented them to RTC Judge Indar in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and filed murder case against them and presented them to media.

Section 18 of the Human Security Act or the Republic Act 9374 says that you can be detained within three days without warrant of arrest if the arrest is ordered by the Anti-Terrorism Council. You can also be detained even beyond three days during imminent actual terrorist attack. This shows that even without the HSA, they had been implementing this to Moro areas.   

The Arroyo administration is conditioning the minds that there will be safety nets in which you can get P500, 000 per day if you are detained and later release if your case is dismissed before the court. But we are not stupid allowing ourselves to be detained and suffer torture just to have the P500, 000 money as safeguard.

The Human Security Act is no different from the 2001 DOJ Memorandum (which) was used to make it look like President Arroyo was in control of the situation in the South, it was used to justify their arbitrary arrests and public presentation of falsely accused Moro men as terrorists.

Who defines terrorism and the terrorists presents more of a problem.  Last month, when the Weena busses were bombed and burned by extortionists, the AFP already declared the bombings as the works of terrorists and even invited US soldiers in the investigation. 

Despite the lack of evidence, the AFP still pursues the terrorist angle.

No one is exempted in the HSA.  Even children are considered terrorists.  Six Moro minors have been arrested since 2001 and four of them are still languishing in Camp Bagong Diwa.  Children shot in AFP and New People’s Army encounters were tagged as rebels.

The implementation of Human Security Act will intensify the human rights violations against Moro people as the usual suspects when there are “terrorist attacks” in the country. The vague and broad definition of the word terrorism will make the situation even worst. What are the acts that constitute terrorism? And who are the terrorists?

As the usual suspects and victims, the Moro people have lost their trust in this administration bent on suppressing the rights of the people.

KAWAGIB Moro Human Right Organization calls on our Moro brothers and sisters to unite in our call to junk the Human Security Act!

Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organization also calls for justice to those who falsely accused as terrorists.  (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Sittie Rajabia Sundang is with the Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organization, c/o Kalinaw Center for Interfaith Resources Francisco Avenue, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City)