Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NR0329: US interested in issue of activist killings

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 29, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

US taking a grim interest in the killings of civilians and activists; liquidation efforts directly linked to Hacienda Luisita and tax measures - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were stepping up their infamous campaign of liquidating activists and members of progressive political parties such as Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women's Party (GWP) with the help of the United States government and its agents in the country. Beltran made this revelation in the midst of reports that the US embassy has taken a keen interest on the number of political activists being killed, as well as monitoring the developments in the passage of the anti-terror bill and the national ID system. He said that the liquidation operations are already being extended to the National capital Region (NCR).

In the first quarter of 2005 alone, 18 activists have been brutally killed and six (6) became victims of involuntary disappearances. In the last two weeks, human rights organizations based in the NCR have reported that their members are being stalked and their actions monitored. Beltran said that his own chief of staff has had the same harrowing experience last week.

"There are reports that the killings of civilians and activists in the regions and provinces are being viewed by US operatives as an effective way of sowing fear among Filipinos who are critical of the Macapagal-Arroyo government's latest slew of anti-people legislation and economic programs," he said. "To kill or at the least weaken the protests against the value-added tax bill and the other tax measures, as well as against the administration's corrupt dealings with foreign creditors and investors, US intelligence operatives are advising their Filipino counterparts to step up the campaign of terror against activist groups and progressive party-lists," he said, adding that the reports come from verified sources within the administration and its security agencies themselves.

The veteran labor leader said that the latest spate of killings of members of Anakpawis and its sister party Bayan Muna are directly connected to two issues: the Hacienda Luisita Massacre and the government new tax measures. He said that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration's henchmen were determined to quell the protests against both and is resorting to the most Machiavellian of tactics. "US operatives are reportedly saying "what's a few lives more or less?" to justify the killings and the implementation of a terror campaign similar to t he low-intensity conflict (LIC) strategy implemented during the Corazon Aquino admistration wherein hundreds fell victim to t he harassment and even killing spree of the AFP, t he CAFGU, and their fronts including vigilante and anti-communist groups.

Beltran is set to join his colleague fellow Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano in holding a hunger strike beginning tomorrow, March 30, 2005 as Congress begins its special session on the VAT bill. They will be joined by leaders of the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fishers group Pamalakaya and the National Federation of Peasant Women - Amihan.#


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