November 17, 2010
DAVAO CITY – Human rights group Karapatan says today that the peace and development teams of the Armed Forces of the Philippines now going around some parts of the city are meant to harass civilians and sow fear among the residents.
“The concept pf Peace and development teams in the barangay is a candy-wrapped presentation of militarizing communities or a sugar-coated-bullet kind of operation,” says Hanimay Suazo, acting deputy secretary-general of Karapatan.
Karapatan said that the presence of the 84th Infantry Battalion in Toril, Mintal and other groups of the military in the city “are wolves in sheeps’ clothing immersing in civilian communities.”
“Peace and development teams follow the framework of counter-insurgency plan that is meant to curb people’s dissent,” Suazo said.
“The census that they are carrying out includes asking information on the organizations of which they are members of. The military includes in the census whether the resident is a member of progressive and militant organizations or partylist,” Suazo added citing the experience of residents in Bago Oshiro, Davao City and Maco, Compostela Valley Province.
This according to Suazo is meant to “sow fear among the residents to not to join or stop joining legitimate progressive groups and to stop supporting progressive partylists that are up in advancing the rights and welfare of the oppressed people.”
“The peace and development teams in the communities are their way of probing the community of members of progressive groups which is a form of attack on the people’s freedom of association and the right to privacy,” Suazo said.
“We are urging the people in the community to be wary of the peace and development teams entering their communities and to take note of any form of harassment,” she added. (Bulatlat.com)
Karapatan Acting Deputy Secretary-General