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Photo credits: Inquirer Mindanao

Bayan pickets Año, slams AFP’s ’all-out war’

Photo credits: Inquirer Mindanao
Photo credits: Inquirer Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines – The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today joined various groups in hounding AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año to demand an end to heightened military and police operations that have seen nine activists killed and 19 others arrested in the last two weeks.
At a picket protest at the gates of the Ateneo de Manila campus in Quezon City this morning where Año was scheduled to speak at a forum, Bayan said Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s unilateral termination of the GRP-NDFP peace talks “has unleashed more fascist attacks by the AFP and PNP against activists and the civilian communities and organizations that they serve.”
Citing records from the Karapatan human rights alliance, Bayan said the nine activists killed since the breakdown of the peace talks on February 4 were on top of the 19 killed in the first six months of the Duterte administration.
“Even when the peace talks were still ongoing, the AFP was conducting military operations in some 500 civilian communities where the NPA was present. This effectively exposed the AFP ceasefire as a sham. There were extrajudicial killings and many human rights violations by AFP troops and AFP-supported para-military groups, eventually leading to clashes with the NPA,” said Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr.
Citing Año’s involvement in the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos and the dislocation of thousands of Lumad communities in Mindanao, Reyes said it was “hypocrisy of the highest order for Año to posture himself as a peace advocate when his record shows he is a fascist and a gross human rights violator.”
Bayan renewed its call for the continuation of the GRP-NDFP peace talks even as it demanded a stop to the AFP’s targeting of activists and civilian communities under its internal security operation plan ironically named Oplan Kapayapaan.
Bayan will be holding a protest March along EDSA on the anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising on February 25 to call for an end to the AFP’s “all out war” and for the continuation of the peace talks.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.