Thursday, August 04, 2005

NR0804:Afp, Gonzales attacking Progressive PLs

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin BeltranNews Release August 4, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
cp number 09213907362

AFP, Gonzales not content with villifying progressive party-lists, has taken to harrassing and arresting members and allies

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed outrage over what he said as the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) intensifying campaign of vilification and harassment against the three progressive party lists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women’s Party. He said that that Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales’ libelous charges against the party lists that the latter were using Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bankroll the gargantuan anti-Arroyo protest rallies were part and parcel of these attacks. This and Gonzales’ accusation against members of militant people’s organizations Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) and Gabriela were actually part of a hitsquad with a mission to assassinate Gonzales.

“The militarists and red-baiters within the Macapagal-Arroyo administration are launching a full-scale war against the progressive party lists and their allied people’s organizations, all of whom are the forefront of protests to impeach and oust Mrs. Arroyo from Malacanang,” he said. He cited reports that came out yesterday in the Daily Tribune wherein Gonzales named civilians Bundo Deomo of Bayan Muna, Junjun Barreta of KMU, Dan Alcoriza of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), Gilda Quiatchon of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Rina Amacio of Gabriela, Diego Malacad of Kadamay and Rudy Gumban of KMP as part of the group planning Gonzales’ assassination.

“The AFP is clearly acting in close coordination with Gonzales who has gone clearly off the bend,” he said. “Since Gonzales’ ploy to attack the progressive party lists by issuing libelous accusations over the PDAF, they have taken to criminalizing our members and allies in the mass organizations and making up vicious allegations that they’re part of hitsquads,”he said. “Not content with this, they’re also making illegal arrests. In the last week alone, two members of Anakpawis in the National Capital Region have been illegally arrested, and their whereabouts are still unknown -- Armando Baroquely, 42 years old and the acting Chairperson of Anakpawis-Camarin (Caloocan) chapter, and Gabriel Alon, Kadamay secretary general and leader of the Anakpawis chapter in Tondo, Manila. Pres. Arroyo is directly responsible for this – she has not said a single word to condemn these attacks, much less make Gonzales shut up,” he said.

In the meantime, Beltran said he was vehemently against demand of the Department of National Defense (DND) that it needs P15 billion for the next five years until 2010 to reform the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the Philippine Defense Reform Program. DND undersecretary Ernesto Carolina said that that P5B will go to the Capability Upgrade Program (CUP) which aims to improve the military’s communication, mobility and shooting capabilities. The DND also says that it needs P2 B for staff development.

“If there’s any government agency whose budget deserves to be scrutinized to the last detail and then slashed, it’s the budget of the AFP. The AFP is acting as massive drain on public coffers, what with it being one of the most corrupt government institutions,” he said. “The AFP’s main function in the last years has been to act as a support force to the anti-people, anti-sovereignty operations of the US military in the Philippines, even as it acts as the main violator of human and civil rights of Filipinos.”

“The reforms the AFP needs are more of orientation in nature, not merely logistical. The AFP and the DND leadership have been constantly under fire for perpetrating acts of corruption – such as the building of a resort in Boracay and the multi-million paving of Camp Crame and Aguinaldo. Also, the AFP continues to conduct anti-civilian operations in the provinces, resulting in hundreds of human rights violations. The AFP and Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s support for the US so-called war on terror has also made the Philippines an even bigger target for anti-US terrorist groups. Allotting more funds for the AFP given all this consideration is akin to getting a big rock and hitting ourselves on the head with it over and over again,” he said.

“The AFP and DND’s spending should also audited, including the ever-mysterious intelligence funds. The AFP’s intelligence units have been eating up millions of taxpayers’ funds but the results of their work are being used to further curtail civil and human rights. Modernizing the AFP should not even be priority at this juncture when the country is in serious economic and political crisis. Funds must be funneled into public services such as health, housing and education. These are the areas that need to be upgraded and modernized to meet the needs of the poor majority,” he said. #


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