Tribal groups say HRVs to escalate with GMAs 2-year counter-insurgency plan

Jun. 22, 2006

Indigenous people communities raised alarm over the Arroyo governments heightened counter-insurgency operations saying these will lead to the escalation of human rights violations from among their ranks.

Indigenous peoples communities have always been the militarys theatre of war; hence, indigenous peoples were always the collateral damage for the military, said Himpad Mangumalas, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP).

KAMP or the National Federation of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines which members 15 regional tribal organizations stated that since GMAs ascent to power, documented HRVs from among their ranks number to 33,000 victims, of which 180 are victims of political killings, indiscriminate firing and massacre.

KAMP said indigenous peoples communities have been tagged in the AFPs Knowing the Enemy document as guerilla bases and are therefore targets of massive troop deployment, and

civilian army and para-military recruitment, and lead to various human rights violations such as forcible displacements, massacres, summary executions, red-tagging to name a few.

Oplan Bantay Laya a bane on the indigenous peoples

Meanwhile, KAMP lambasted the recent pronouncement of AFP Chief Senga that the AFP is set to modify the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) to make it suit the Presidents 2-year plan of eradicating counter-insurgency.

Sengas statement means more vicious all-out-war operations, intensified recruitment of paramilitary forces from our ranks, military detachments, and fake rebel returnees, Mangumalas said.

The OBL is a clandestine military operation which highlights the attack on the legal mass movements which are alleged fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Kalinga Tribal Leader Slain with Impunity

On June 8, 2006, Markus Bangit who is a Kalinga tribal leader was shot dead in Echague, Isabela. the Cordillera Region. Bangit was the 16th indigenous leader killed in the Cordillera region during GMAs term.

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said Bangit was a renowned peace pact holder in Kalinga. His death was a crucial because it could have sparked a tribal war from the conflicting tribes in Kalinga.

Through Markus, we have made significant advances in instilling peace and unity among the clans in Kalinga. His death is a big loss to the peoples movement in Cordillera. If he has a crime, it is only because he worked for genuine peace and opposed the governments destructive pseudo-development projects such as large-scale mines and dams that threaten to disrupt, grieved the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).

In his burial, the Kalinga Municipal government gave Markus a post- humous citation for contributions to human rights work and community service. ##

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