Philippines: Human Rights Superbody 'We will find no justice from the perpetrators'- indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples' organization Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP), described the 'superbody' created by the Aquino government to address the cases of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations as "a feeble cover up to the growing list of human rights transgressions committed by State forces."
Last November, President Aquino created an Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) to handle cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of human rights abuses through Administrative Order 35. "We place no hope that the IAC will solve the cases of human rights violations, which is but a mere publicity ploy made by Aquino," KAMP spokesperson Piya Macliing Malayao said. "We will find no justice from the perpetrators."
The group questions the inclusion of the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and the director of the Philippine National Police in the IAC. Both agencies are responsible to a number of human rights abuses, says the group. "Thirteen out of the 30 indigenous peoples killed under this administration, that includes 3 women and 4 children, were killed by elements of the AFP in seven incidents in the provinces of Rizal, Capiz, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Sur, Compostella Valley, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato. Justice for these slays are dim in under the IAC with the AFP at the helm," Malayao said.
The IAC is said to prioritize human rights violations committed under the Arroyo administration. "This is another non-admission that the human rights abuses are continuing. The killings and brutality did not stop, three years into the Aquino government. Until the Aquino government admits that the human rights abuse proliferates under his watch, and not dismiss these as 'leftist propaganda' the human rights abuses will continue," Malayao claimed.
Malayao added that the indigenous peoples suffered terrible blows to their human rights under the Aquino adminstration. "The condition of the human rights of indigenous peoples is the picture of the human rights situation in the Philippines: a portrait of grave abuses and brutal killings protected by the reign of impunity." The group cited the massacre of the Capion family in Davao del Sur last October. The Blaan family were leaders in the resistance against the entry of SMI-Xstrata mining operations in their ancestral lands, and were allegedly volleyed with gunfire by members of the 27th Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army which killed Juvy Capion and her two children.
“Human rights violations against the indigenous peoples will escalate as long as the Aquino government continues to sell off our resources, especially mineral resources. Together with Oplan Bayanihan, these will continue to unleash brutal attacks against our people.” Malayao said. “The cases of human rights violations will not be solved by the collusion of perpetrators, the respect for human rights will go hand and in hand with genuine development for the people.”
Photo: Indigenous peoples' groups, environmental activists, and human rights workers protest at the gates of the Department of National Defense to condemn the massacre of a Blaan family in Tampakan, South Cotabato, 2012.