“President Aquino presented himself as a leader, but has done nothing, but follow the whims of an imperialist power.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA –On the commemoration of International Human Rights Day, a Moro group joined calls to hold President Aquino accountable as his administration committed human rights violations in the Moro lands, even while his “tuwid na daan” dangled peace.
Under Aquino, Suara Bangsamoro documented 32 killings of Moro civilians, while at least 180 Moro political detainees remain in detention at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, 80 of whom were cleared of charges in an inquiry by the Department of Justice.
“We should draw a clear line between the truths and the lies, and make the government accountable for its crimes. Aquino presented himself as a leader, but has done nothing, but follow the whims of an imperialist power,” said Jerome Succor Aba, Suara Bangsamoro national spokesperson.
“He (Aquino) says he will bring peace in Mindanao, but allows militarization in the hinterlands as foreign corporations plunder our lands… He signs a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but does not bind his government with the agreements and leaves the peace process in disarray after the Mamasapano fiasco,”
Forty-four members of the police elite command Special Action Force (SAF) were killed early this year in a botched operation to arrest two suspected international terrorists wanted by the US government. At least 18 MILF men and five civilians were also killed in the operations.
The death of the government troops sparked anti-Moro hysteria, particularly among lawmakers, who took it out on the deliberations of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will be the governing law for the Bangsamoro political entity. The BBL has no chance to be passed this year, lawmakers said.
“For five years (the Aquino administration) has served nothing but the interests of imperialist powers, while it remained deaf and blind to the plight of its people. It has stood idly by as people lost their homes, as lands were plundered, and as lives were taken with utter impunity,” said Aba.
Aba also lambasted the suspected role of US troops in the Mamasapano encounter, as well as in covert operations, in which “civilians have been illegally arrested and have died in the hands of US military forces.”
American troops are allowed under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), but are banned from joining combat operations. In the past decade, activists have,however, documented cases of American soldiers seen during military operations. This year, a “tall Caucasian” was seen by witnesses as among the Mamasapano casualties.
“Aquino has said many things and yet has done nothing for the people, as his promises of peace and development remain but words on paper. Aquino talks of reforms and development, but presents nothing but a different version of the status quo — one that has always placed the people at a disadvantage, one that has cost us our rights and our lives, and one that has always been the heart of our struggle,” Aba said.