Anti-imperialist and militant youth organization League of Filipino Students (LFS) marched to Camp Aguinaldo to demand justice for victims of numerous human rights violations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines today, which also marks the 6th year of disappearance of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño. Under President Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, the AFP has been traced to be the perpetrators of such cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and other violations.
Sworn to end insurgency by 2013, the Oplan Bayanihan, patterned after the US’ Counter-Insurgency Guide, is no different from the infamous Oplan Bantay-Laya I and II by the Arroyo administration. Indeed, the supposedly humanitarian counter-insurgency program of the Aquino administration has only served to intensify the AFP’s combat operations in the form of militarization in communities, surveillance, and intelligence-gathering against civilians.
“We come here today to hold the AFP accountable for the blood of innocent Filipinos shed in the war they wage against the people they should be protecting,” exclaims LFS Chair’person Gemma Canalis. “Like Arroyo, Aquino should be held responsible for the same crimes perpetrated by his government against the people.”
The youth group called out Aquino’s hypocrisy in criticizing the previous administration while committing the same actions like his predecessor. The LFS demanded the immediate release of political prisoners, the surfacing of desaparecidos, and for those involved in the reported human rights violations to be held responsible for their actions.”
“Pushed further and further into poverty, our countrymen are forced to take up arms only because of the failed system that Aquino himself hopelessly upholds,” says Canalis. “When they are granted a government they feel truly is at their service, only then shall the problem of insurgency be solved.” ###