EU asked to suspend if not stop aid to RP because of killings
The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged the influential European Parliament to suspend if not stop all its financial assistance and economic aid to the Philippines due to the failure of the government to stop extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations all over the country.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap was referring to the 61 million euros or $ 90.22 million leaders of the European Union had promised to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo beginning March last year.
“The European Resolution which called the attention of the Macapagal-Arroyo government about the government failure to investigate and prosecute members of state security forces implicated in hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of political activists must be followed by an indefinite suspension if not total halt of all European aid to the extrajudicial killing republic of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” said Hicap.
Last Monday, Ambassador Alistair McDonald, head of the delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines told reporters that the killings of Rebelyn Pitao and Eleazar Billanes could damage the reputation of the Philippines just as the government was exerting efforts to solve the problem of human rights violations.
McDonald said the reputation of the Philippines should again be tarnished by the brutal murder of Pitao, which was followed only a few days later by the Billanes in Koronadal. Pitao, a 20-year old teacher is the daughter of Leonicio Pitao, alias Commander Parago of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao, while Billanes is an environmental activist.
The European Parliament, the legislative body of the European Union adopted the resolution last March 12 and is it is expected to forward the resolution to Malacañang soon.
“The European Parliament and the European Union should follow the resolution with concrete and totally punishing actions like the indefinite suspension or total halt of all European aid to the Philippines. This is one way of effectively stopping the liquidation squad of the Arroyo government from pursuing its policy of political killings of leftwing activists and critics of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,” the Pamalakaya leader added.
Of the 61 million Euro aid to the Philippines, 36 million Euros are earmarked for delivery of basic social services like health, the European Union said. Some 12 million Euros will be used to support efforts to bring peace in Mindanao, while 13 million Euros will be alloted for trade development.
But Pamalakaya said predicted that 80 percent of the European funds or 48 million Euros will go either to the militarist project of the government or to corruption escapade of the Arroyo administration and allied politicians and only 20 percent will be used to some projects to show that the government really spent the funds for intended beneficiaries.
“It is public knowledge that moderation of greed is not even a cup of tea of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, which has been hounded by allegations and charges of high crimes of corruption. Based on the corrupt practices and track record of the present administration, 50 to 80 percent of government funds went to corruption since Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001 through the second edition of People Power,” the group said.
“To give 61 million Euros to the present regime currently battered with cases of corruption and plunder of government funds is like committing a political suicide. It is appropriate for the leaders of the European Union to listen to the Filipino people and subscribe to just demand for the EU to defer if not stop giving aid to President Arroyo,” Pamalakaya added.
Based on the human rights report provided by the human rights group Karapatan, about 991 political activists from 2001 up to 2008 were killed by alleged members of the Philippine military, and state security forces were also blamed for the enforced disappearances of 201 activists from 2001 to 2008. #