Tuesday, November 15, 2005

NR1114:Solon makes plea for civilians in midst of AFP-ASG clashes

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin BeltranNews Release November 14, 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
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Solon makes plea on behalf of civilians in the midst of clashes between the AFP and the Abu Sayyaf

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the ongoing clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and members of the Abu Sayyaf group were sure to have resulted in civilian casualties, only the AFP were not immediately forthcoming.

Beltran said that the AFP leadership and the military command immediately involved in the skirmishes with the ASG in Jolo should make sure that civilians in the vicinity where the clashes take place have been safely evacuated to safety, away from the areas of battle.

“In the clashes between the AFP and the ASG, it has often happened that civilian live shave been lost in the crossfire, or civilians are wrongly tagged as ASG supporters and then thrown in jail. At all costs, the AFP must first ensure the safety of civilians and that their political and human rights are in no way compromised during operations against the ASG,” he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator said that the national government should mobilize all health and medical services available to assist civilians and as well secure their safety against any possible raid of the ASG. He pointed out, however, that it was more crucial to investigate the possibility that it is actually the presence of the AFP that is increasing the risk of ASG attacks and endangering the safety of the civilian populace.

“The military operations against the ASG are being conducted away from the knowledge and monitoring of the public, and given the mercenary character of the AFP, it’s most likely that these operations also have social repercussions on the lives of civilians in the area,” he said.

“It’s the continuing military operations that are causing worsening tension in the provinces, and the fact that these operations are being conducted often without regard or consideration for the religious and cultural values of the civilian populace. The ASG without doubt is also able to recruit from the members of the Muslim populace outraged by the brutality of the AFP and their disregard for the culture and traditions of Islam. Instead of gaining the support of civilians against the Abu Sayyaf, the AFP is pushing civilians to support the bandits out of a need for vengeance.”#


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