Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gov't's has done nothing to resolve human rights violations

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran
Reference: Rep. Crispin Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

February 9, 2006

Gov't's has done nothing to resolve human rights violations―Rep. Beltran
Solon adds that state facism and poverty are gravest HRVs of Arroyo

"Alongside incurring and failing to lower its record-breaking levels of
hunger and public dissatisfaction, the Arroyo administration has so far done
nothing to resolve the record-breaking human rights violations incurred by
state forces and suspected military-led assassins", Anakpawis Rep. Crispin
Beltran today noted in a press conference at the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
(BAYAN) office.

Beltran added that "the dire economic situation of the country and the
draconian dictatorial stance of the government are the main causes of death
among Filipinos". "The alarming levels of hunger and poverty nationwide are
themselves violations of a people's right to life and access to basic needs,
such as food, shelter, and medicine. The Arroyo administration is not only
condoning the murders of activists, it is also slowly and indirectly killing
thousands of Filipinos every day because of its inability to provide basic
social services," he said.

Beltran scored the continuing killings of activists and party list leaders,
members, and allies throughout the nation. Anakpawis supporter Robert dela
Cruz, 43 years old and a union leader of Tritran Bus Lines in Lucena, who
was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men on January 25, 6:20 p.m. in front of
his carenderia. Bayan Muna members Antonio Alde, Jr., 25 years old, of
Borongan in Eastern Samar and Maximo Frivaldo of Irosin, Sorsogon were
assassinated in separate incidents on January 30.

"It's absolutely contemptible that activists all over the country are being
killed with such impunity and sleath under the Arroyo administration. This
is a situation comparable to the record-high summary killings under Martial
Law. Up to now, not a single case involving a slain Anakpawis, Bayan Muna,
or Gabriela leader has been solved," he said.

"These human rights violations will continue for as long as Mrs. Arroyo
remains President of this country and continues to maintain a draconian
stance towards dissent at her unjust and anti-poor policies. It is
imperative that she be removed from office immediately, and that a
transition governing council be tasked to reverse the damage Arroyo has
done," Beltran said.

Beltran also scored government troops' "brazen disrespect for rules of
engagement, and the increasing numbers of civilians who are being killed and
paraded as supposed rebels afterwards". Beltran cited the recent encounter
in Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac, where the military claimed to have killed at least
18 New Peoples' Army (NPA) rebels. "However, fact-finding reports from the
human rights watchdog KARAPATAN show that only ten bodies have surfaced, and
that three of those dead were civilians," Beltran noted.

Beltran cited the Palo massacre last year as "one of the most contemptible
crimes by government troops against civilians, equalling even the Lupao
massacre in cruelty and injustice".

On November 21, last year, the 19th IB claimed to have killed seven rebel
soldiers in an encounter. However, the group of "rebels" turned out to be 46
farmers -- 42 men and four women - who were indiscriminately fired at by
soldiers. Sixteen critically wounded victims were rushed to the provincial
hospital while eight others were arrested, detained, and charged with

"The Arroyo administration has done nothing about these alarming
assassinations, massacres, abductions, and suppression of civil liberties.
Instead, it is even trying to legislate measures that will throw this
country into the pits of a human rights worker's nightmare," Beltran said.

The activist lawmaker cited the impending passage of the Anti-Terror Bill
(ATB) as proof of the Arroyo administration's "sustained political crackdown
against militants, opposition figures, media
and the campus press, progressive individuals, and citizens discontented
with the Arroyo government's incompetence and crimes against the Filipino
people," he said. "The ATB will only be used to justify more political
killings of dissenters. If the ATB is passed and implemented, we might as
well prepare for a year that might even surpass the combined human rights
violations under a decade of Martial Law," Beltran said. #


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