DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A member of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives expressed deep concern on Thursday over the recent announcement of Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Eduardo Año of putting a monetary reward for every New People’s Army killed or captured by state forces.
“This is condemnable as it is gravely dangerous. It is tantamount to sanctioning murder for a fee and an open travesty of the rule of law,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate in a statement on Thursday.
Año announced the government will reward any member of state forces, from the AFP and the Philippine National Police, with a P100,000 bounty for every NPA member killed or captured.
“This will definitely further spike the already alarming number of human rights violations in the country committed by elements of the AFP and the PNP — who will just use this as another money making scheme,” Zarate added.
He also emphasized that in the past administrations several instances of persons charged in court or killed and were falsely presented as rebels so that the military can thereafter collect the corresponding bounty.
“This is similar to the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Order No. 14-2012 during the time of Pres. Benigno Aquino III which lists alleged ‘235 wanted communists’ with a total monetary reward of P466.88 million,” Zarate said.
A total of 1.206 persons fell victims to extrajudicial killings while 206 are still missing under the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya during the past administrations, he added.
Killings and disappearances still persist under the Oplan Kapayapaan being espoused by the present administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Zarate said.
With the bounty offer, Zarate said the scheme will turn into a huge “money-making racket and open season for murder” to state forces and agents, as they can kill and apprehend anybody and charge the victims as rebels or terrorists.
“We have seen this before and it did not solve the problem of rebellion but only fattened the pockets of corrupt AFP and police officials and personnel. This will not address the root causes of the armed conflict and would, in fact, aggravate it,” he pointed out.
He also asked where the budget for what he dubbed as a “murderous plan” will come from as he emphasized that there was no “room for these murderous acts in the DND (Department of National Defense) budget, which we will surely scrutinize.”
“If allowed, it is like giving the incentive to kill more Filipinos who are just fighting for their rights,” Zarate said.
Instead of giving out money rewards, Zarate said the government should push for the resumption of the peace negotiations and sign and implement the agreements properly. (davaotoday.com)