‘AFP Modernization Program’ to bankroll human rights violations under Aquino

ANAKPAWIS Rep. Rafael Mariano today criticized President Benigno Aquino III’s signing into law of the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Act that will extend the program for another 15 years.

“The President chose to enact the AFP Modernization Law a day after the commemoration of International Human Rights Day wherein the AFP is charged with military atrocities and grave abuses against civilians, including extra-judicial killings, enforced disapperances, abductions, harrassment, militarization and many forms of human rights violations.”

Republic Act (RA) 10349 amends RA 7898 or the AFP Modernization Act.The AFP modernization program will have a budget of P75 million for the first five years of implementation.

Mariano said, “the AFP modernization program will finance the violation of civil and political rights under the Aquino administration.”

“This modernization program of the AFP aimed at boosting the AFP’s external defense capability is in accordance with the United States government’s focus on the Asia-Pacific region, under the guise of the Philippines’ growing rift with China over the West Philippine Sea territories.”

“Internally, this extended modernization program will enhance Operation Plan Bayanihan, the Aquino government’s dreaded counterinsurgency program that caused widespread damages and atrocities against the people. Oplan Bayanihan is the blueprint of the military operations causing widespread human rights violations throughout the country,” Mariano said.

Based on Karapatan’s 3rd quarter report, from July 2010 to November 2012, there were 124 documented cases of extra-judicial killings, with an alarming trend of anti-mining advocates and civilians victimized by summary executions. Torture, mutilation, rape of several victims and killings of minors were also recorded.

Almost 30,000 civilians were forced to evacuate their domicile due to intense militarization, indiscriminate firing, intimidation and harassment by military elements in many provinces nationwide.

“The AFP is also using civilian facilities such as schools, hospitals, religious and other public places for military operations,” said Mariano.

“The extended AFP Modernization Program will result to more human rights violations against the people,” the solon said.

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