Wednesday, February 16, 2005

NR0216: Victims of the AFP bombing operations

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release February 16, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Cellphone number 09213907362
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GMA should also express sympathy and compassion to the victims of the AFP's bombing operations; Many Muslim Filipinos see the AFP as bad as the ASG

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed outrage anew over the Valentines' Day bombings that led to the death of seven civilians, but said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's compassion should also extend to the thousands of victims of the operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Sulu and surrounding provinces in Mindanao.

Beltran said that even as investigations into the recent bombings in the Metro continue, the administration should also take responsibility for the human rights violations being perpetrated by the AFP in the name of the counter-terrorism campaign. "Thousands of civilian are being displaced from their homes and an untold number -- even as of this writing - are being targeted for illegal arrests and detention upon the merest suspicion of being Abu Sayyaf members or sympathizers of the Moro Nationalist Liberation Front (MNLF). "

"Because of this, many of our Muslim brothers and sisters see the AFP as no different from the ASG, as they sow terror in Mindanao," he said. "The victims of the AFP's relentless counter-insurgency campaign and their suspiciously failing operations to put an end to the ASG number more than the victims of the ASG. The bombing operations of the AFP in Sulu have rendered thousands homeless, traumatized and war-shocked. Strong allegations that the ASG also have close but secret ties to the AFP have not been disproved either," he said.

"President Arroyo as commander in chief of the AFP should order her troops to withdraw or at the least initiate immediate peace talks and a cessation of hostilities if only for the sake of the civilian populace," he said.

The veteran labor leader said that the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP)'s search for suspects is most likely also going to result to the illegal arrest of hundreds more of innocent Muslim civilians. "In the last decades, hundreds have been rounded up and thrown into various jails in Mindanao on suspicion of being ASG or MNLF or MILF. Many Muslim civilians remain languishing in jail because they have no legal counsels or means for bail. The AFP and the PNP are on the search not so much for suspects but for fall guys," he said. #

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