IPs fear ‘all-out war’ vs minorities with generals in Duterte’s cabinet

May. 19, 2017

IPs fear ‘all-out war’ vs minorities with generals in Duterte’s cabinet

Activists protest outside the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Photo by Karapatan)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — An organization of Moro and indigenous peoples expressed fear that the appointment of former Army generals in cabinet positions will “intensify” attacks in their communities.

“The appointment of generals in cabinet positions is an intensification of the AFP’s all-out war against national minorities. Since July 2016, 23 national minorities have been killed by state security forces. Ten were killed when the AFP declared an all out-war policy against the New People’s Army in February 4,” said Datu Jerome Succor Aba, co-chair of Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination in a statement following Environmental and human rights activists held protest actions at the gates of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Chief of Staff Roy Cimatu was appointed as the new DENR chief and current AFP Chief General Eduardo Año will take over the DILG in June.

“Ret. Gen. Roy Cimatu as Environment Secretary will bring more chaos in our ancestral lands and territories to defend large scale mining and big business interests. Gen. Cimatu has a track record of using the armed forces to guard big businesses called ‘investment defense forces,’” Aba said.

Meanwhile, Aba said Año “will definitely ensure that the local government infrastructure will be fully utilized for the AFP’s counter-insurgency and all-out war.”

“This includes the strengthening of barangay intelligence networks (BIN) especially in struggling indigenous peoples’ communities and tag community leaders as rebels. BIN will only break the unity of villages in fighting land grabbing and plunder of our resources,” he added.

Aba said more than 40,000 Moro people and 14,000 indigenous people, mostly children, have forcibly evacuated due to the all-out war against armed Moro groups and communists.

Human rights group Karapatan also scored what they described as the “militarization of the civilian bureaucracy.”

“The rise of military generals in key government positions is a preview of a leadership strongly influenced by rightist-militarists who were at the forefront of implementing fascist policies such as the US-driven counter-insurgency programs. Lest we forget, these generals have a bloody record of violations and crimes against the Filipino people,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

“How can pro-people policies be implemented if those appointed in key government posts have been proven to be rights violators themselves?” she said. (davaotoday.com)

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