STATEMENT: Barug Katungod Mindanao on AFP’s “all-out war”

Barug Katungod Mindanao
For Reference:
Ryan Amper

AFP’s all-out war to aggravate human rights violations especially in Mindanao

Barug Katungod Mindanao is seeing more human rights violations after a formal letter signed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza addressed to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) declaring the Government of the Republic of the Philippines’ termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) today.

The notice came after President Duterte announced his termination of the peace negotiation after the third round of formal talks in Rome, Italy.

As noted by the NDFP, the letter of Sec. Dureza was just terminating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and not the entire peace negotiation. Essentially, the peace negotiation is still in effect.

Sadly, even before the termination of the peace negotiation and the formal written letter of the termination of JASIG by the government, there have been many cases of human rights violations across the country especially in Mindanao. The termination has also served as a go signal for state security forces to go against legal political activists.

In fact, in the past week, we have received reports from human rights organizations in Mindanao about incessant military operations resulting to the killing of Ruben Inudjoan and Boy Sumambot in Barangay Del Pilar, Manay, Davao Oriental by suspected elements of 67th IBPA; the killing of Renato Anglao, in Quezon, Bukidnon by three unidentified men riding in tandem on February 3, 2017; the killing of Matanem (Datu) Lorendo Pocoan by paramilitary Alamara in Sitio Tapayanon, Barangay Mangaod, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon on February 4, 2017; and the killing of Emelito “Tatay Intik” Rotimas on Feb 6, 2017 outside the Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao.

The termination of the JASIG, the calling off of the peace negotiation and the subsequent declaration of an all-out war by the Defense department will only further aggravate human rights violations that had been previously committed by previous Philippine governments. One pitfall of the Aquino Government’s “daang matuwid” is his militarization and plunder of Lumad communities in Mindanao in the guise of counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. Obviously, Aquino’s military generals continue to steer the Duterte government towards the same bloodied path of “daang matuwid” under Oplan Kapayapaan another counterinsurgency plan which promises the exact opposite of its name.

It seems like the AFP has not learned the most important lesson of our history, that resorting to all-out war would not resolve the root causes of the armed conflict in the country.

We urge President Duterte to stop listening to his “utak pulbura” military advisers and security cluster cabinet officials. We urge President Duterte not to veer away from the path of peace and to continue to pursue the peace negotiation with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). #