Tag Archives: Oplan Bantay Laya

Health group assails AFP witch-hunting

Contributed to The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- “The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on a witch-hunt in its desperate attempt to showcase any success of Oplan Bantay Laya!”

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) directly linked the illegal arrest and detention of 43 doctors and health workers to the Arroyo regime’s counter-insurgency campaign, which over the years have targeted civilians rather than armed groups.

“After blatantly disregarding the most fundamental tenets of due process, the AFP now has the gall to prop up false charges against those whose basic rights they have violated,” said Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, HEAD Secretary-General.

HEAD is reacting to reports of the AFP information office that the raid conducted last Saturday in Morong, Rizal is “the biggest arrests of communist rebels in memory”. The AFP further alleges that Dr. Alexis S. Montes is a member of a special unit of the New People’s Army formed to liquidate former AFP general, Jovito Palparan.

“The lies being peddled by the AFP cannot hide the atrocities they have committed,” declared Dr. Rivera. “The so-called ‘NPA training camp’ is a family rest house of a respected medical consultant that has been used many times for parties and training of health workers and even medical students from various schools.”

“Dr. Alex Montes of Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) is also a known surgeon and an elder of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). He received his medical degree from the University of the East College of Medicine (Class 1976) and has since been active in community service such that he was the UCCP national coordinator for health services for twenty years (1986-2006)!”

According to HEAD, the mild-mannered and soft-spoken Dr. Montes is a far cry from the communist assassin that the AFP paints him to be.

Aside from Dr. Montes, the AFP also arrested Dr. Merry Mia of the Council for Health and Development (CHD). The 34-year-old doctor finished medicine at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2001 and has been a community physician of the Council for Health and Development (CHD) since 2004. She is also the mother of two young boys, one of whom is only 11 months old.

The two doctors were actively involved during the relief operations after Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. As such, they headed the “First Responders Training for Life Support” aimed to enable communities, through health volunteers, to be able to respond in times of calamities.

“Yet instead of recognizing their contribution and sacrifice, these people are being vilified and demonized by the AFP,” added Dr. Rivera. “Military officers like Brigadier General Jorge Segovia, Colonel Aurelio Baladad, and Lieutenant Colonel Noel Detoyato are worse than criminals for the sheer number of laws they violated in conducting their illegal arrest and detention.”

“The arrogance being shown by the AFP is reflective of the utter lack of respect for basic human rights by the Arroyo regime,” concluded Dr. Rivera, “As the end of OBL II draws near, state security forces are hard-pressed to show results.”

“The only thing they have now is their crimes against the Filipino people.

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Fisherfolk clients of 43 arrested health workers to mount 5-vehicle caravan in Rizal to press release

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Rey Manangan and Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Regular fisherfolk clients of 43 doctors and health workers arrested by state security forces on Saturday in a resort in Morong, Rizal will stage a five-vehicle caravan to press for the immediate and unconditional release of whom they called “the people’s doctors and medical personnel”.

In a press statement, fisherfolk activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) will be joined by progressive party list group Anakpawis and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLMM) in a 5 jeep caravan along the lake towns of Morong, Teresa, Baras, Cardona, Binangonan, Angono and Taytay all in Rizal province.

“We are their regular clients who are not charge of any single cent since time immemorial. These are doctors and health workers who take care of people’s health and they are not terrorists or bomb makers as maliciously and categorically tagged by the terrorist people in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their criminal masters- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The five-vehicle caravan will start in Binangonan and will proceed to Morong, Barras, Teresa, Cardona, Angono and Taytay towns in Rizal. Aside from demanding the release of 43 medical personnel, Pamalakaya’s caravan will also highlight the demand of the lake people to stop all anti-fisherfolk and anti-environment projects across Laguna Lake, including the halt on demolition activities and the pullout of military troops in different areas of the lake.

The caravan will also campaign for Anakpawis party list and the senatorial bids of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Party list Rep. Liza Maza.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap asserted the arrest of 43 doctors and community based health workers is line with the legal offensive ordered by defense secretary and security adviser Gonzalez issued last week to commence the final staging of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 2.

“The the arrest of 43 medical volunteers was presided by Gonzalez’s order last week for all government units to heighten its legal offensive against members of militant groups as Oplan Bantay Laya 2 ends with the term of President Macapagal-Arroyo in June 30, 2010.

Hicap said Secretary Gonzalez and the national security gang in Malacanang had agreed to pursue and intensify the fabrication of trump up charges against leaders and members of militant organizations which the military branded as front organizations of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army.

“What happen in Morong, Rizal was a wholesale political abduction, political kidnapping, gross disrespect of people’s constitutional and basic human rights and all-out political persecution done in the name of a brutal, corrupt and evil regime of Mrs. Arroyo and her extrajudicial killing republic,” the Pamalakaya leader said.#

Health workers provide free medical services and medicines to the people. They are not terrorists as what the AFP want them to appear with the public

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Arrest of 43 medical workers linked to Gonzalez legal offensive vs. militant groups

By Akihira Tatchu, Pepsi La Loma and Sarsi Pimentel

Manila, Philippines-The arrest of 43 doctors and community based health workers is line with the legal offensive ordered by defense secretary and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez issued last week to commence the final staging of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 2.

The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the arrest of 43 medical volunteers was made a week after Gonzalez announced that Malacanang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines will heighten its legal offensive against members of militant groups as Oplan Bantay Laya 2 ends with the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in June 30, 2010.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Secretary Gonzalez and the national security gang in Malacanang had agreed to pursue and intensify the fabrication of trump up charges against leaders and members of militant organizations which the military branded as front organizations of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army.

“What happen in Morong, Rizal was a wholesale political abduction, political kidnapping, gross disrespect of people’s constitutional and basic human rights and all-out political persecution done in the name of a brutal, corrupt and evil regime of Mrs. Arroyo and her extrajudicial killing republic,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Hicap also asked the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to immediately undertake an investigation to what he called state-sponsored terrorism and gross violations of basic human rights.

“We strongly ask Commissioner Leila de Lima to personally lead the investigation and in soonest possible time file human rights and other appropriate criminal charges against Lt. Col. Noel Detoynato, military officials of the Army 2nd infantry division and the 300 soldiers who orchestrated this gruesome and Adolf Hitler like campaign,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Health volunteers from Council for Health and Development and Commed conducted free medical services among victims of typhoon Ondoy last year. No government doctors came to help these Ondoy victims

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Rural groups launched “Palparan sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso” campaign

Rural groups launched “Palparan sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso” campaign

Leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the peasant women federation Amihan and the Southern Tagalog-based Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) on Saturday announced the launching of “Palparan Sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso” campaign.

KMP vice chairperson and Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo the public launching of the campaign will officially begin on Monday and will extend up to the electoral campaign in 2010 elections next year.

For a start, Lacandazo said on Monday, farmers and fisherfolk activists camping-out by the gates of the House of Representatives will burn 100 paper bonds bearing the demonized face of recently proclaimed Bantay party list representative former Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan.

“The Palparan Sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso campaign is part of our protracted battle for justice. The campaign will constitute protest actions, signature campaign and lobbying inside the House of Representatives where we will convince other members of Congress to cross party lines and kick out this criminal and bogus party list representative from the Lower Chamber of Congress,” Lacandazo said.

“We will not allow this evil to continue his platform of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and state terrorism,” the KMP leader said.

Lacandazo said a signature campaign calling for the ouster of Palparan will be piloted in selected provinces of Southern Tagalog, which were tormented and terrorized by the former army general namely Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon, Batangas, Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental where controversial military general launched the brutal campaign against political activists.

She said two of the most noted victims of Palparan were human rights activist Eden Marcellana of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy of Kasama-TK. Both leaders were killed on April 2003 in Mindoro Oriental while leading a fact-finding mission on alleged atrocities committed by the military under the command of Palparan.

Citing a report from Karapatan, Lacandazo said 165 victims of the total 991 victims of extrajudicial killings came from the region.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said their move to expel Palparan from Congress has a fighting chance because last Feb., 40 congressmen crossed party lines and signed a resolution
opposing the appointment of Palparan to any government post.

Hicap was referring to House Resolution 999 in Congress that was filed at the time that the controversial retired military official will be assigned to either the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) or the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The resolution states that “Palparan’s possible appointment is another knee-jerk reaction to government’s failure to effectively address the drug problem.”

“We have a fighting chance. We will write and talk to friendly congressmen to join our cause against Palparan and support another resolution calling for the expulsion of a political criminal and terrorist at large. It is long a way to go, but painstaking work and our justice driven campaign will convince other lawmakers to junk Palparan and send him behind bars instead,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

The resolution, according to groups was initiated by Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, was signed by 40 others from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Nacionalista Party, Lakas-CMD Balane, Liberal Party, CIBAC, An Waray, Anak Mindanao, Kampi, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Partido Demokratiko-Sosyalista ng Pilipinas, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.

The measure cited as basis Palparan’s alleged involvement in the proliferation of extrajudicial killings in areas where he was assigned during his stint in the military, particularly in Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, and Central Luzon areas. #

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