Progressive solons call for inquiry on rights abuses in Quezon

PROGRESSIVE Partylist representatives filed House Resolution 2452 calling for a full investigation on the ongoing militarization in Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon that resulted to numerous human rights violations that victimized civilians.

The resolution filed before the House Committee on Human Rights was signed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. RafaelMariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenares, Gabriela Women’s Party Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmie De Jesus, ACT Teachers Party Rep. Antonio Tinio and Kabataan Party Rep. Raymond Palatino.

“The government’s implementation of counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan is responsible for the growing cases of human rights abuses against civilians in Quezon province and throughout the country. Most of the victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrest and detention, illegal search and seizure, divestment of properties, coercion, threat, harassment and surveillance are ordinary farmers fighting against land grabbing and landlessness,” Mariano said.

Bondoc Peninsula is a known hacienda belt in Quezon province wherein thousands of hectares of land in San Francisco, San Andres and Mulanay are owned by landlord families. “Land and agrarian conflicts are ripe in Quezon because landlessness and poverty among poor farmers persists – a clear proof that government land reform programs like the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Progam (CARP) and CARPer has failed in resolving the woes of Filipino farmers,” Mariano said.

The latest victim of human rights violation in the region was Franklin Barrera, an 18-year old farmer from Brgy. San Vicente, Gumaca, Quezon who was illegally arrested and detained by suspected military elements in Lopez, Quezon yesterday. Barrera managed to escape his captors and is now confined in a local hospital in Quezon. Barrera is a convenor of Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement, an alliance to stop human rights violations in Quezon province.

Based on the HR 2452, at least 4,000 soldiers from 8 units and special forces of the Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) are currently deployed in 22 towns in South Quezon, namely 76th Infantry Batallion Philippine Army (IBPA) (Catanauan), 74th IBPA (Catanauan, Mulanay, General Luna), 59th IBPA and Citizen Armed Geographical Unit (CAFGU) (Calauag), 85th IBPA (Macalelon, Unisan, Gumaca). Also deployed in the areas were – 201st Brigade (Calauag), 2nd Infantry Jungle Fighter Division (San Francisco),1st Special Forces PA (Sampaloc, Padre Burgos, Mauban) and 416th Public Safety Management Company (Macalelon).

Also deployed were special units – 201stBrigade (Calauag), 2nd Infantry Jungle Fighter Division (San Francisco), 1st Special Forces of Philippine Army (Sampaloc, Padre Burgos, Mauban) and 416th Public Safety Management Company (Macalelon). More than three battallion forces of Citizen Armed Geographical Unit (CAFGUs) are deployed in various barangays.

Mariano further said persisting incidents of gross violation of human rights indicate that unarmed and ordinary civilians are also open targets of political persecution under Aquino’s Oplan Bantay Laya.

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