SF CHRP Blasts Philippine Military Over Murder of Child
Here is an excerpt from the latest press release from the San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP):
The San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP) has condemned the killing of 8-year-old Roque Antivo by the 71st Infantry Battalion (IB) in Barangay Antipan, Mabini in Compostela Valley. Antivo was killed last Wednesday by soldiers of Alpha Company while he and his 12-year-old brother and 13-year-old uncle were heading home to prepare dinner for their father who was harvesting corn with others in the field.
“This is an absolute travesty!” Exclaimed SF CHRP chair Rupert Estanislao. “While the children were shouting at the soldiers, ‘We are kids, we are kids!’ the troops continued to lay down heavy fire on these children until one was shot in the jaw and the other was laying limp and dying. This is pure and calculated cold blooded murder on the part of the AFP.”
The killing fell just a few days before the start of the Balikatan military exercises involving more than 4,000 U.S. troops and 4,000 AFP troops in order to help strengthen the “military capacity” of the AFP which in turn will be used to further implement the counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.
“This recent killing unmasks the polite talk and double-speak of the Aquino regime when it comes to Oplan Bayanihan,” explained Estanislao, “Far from being a program that is human rights centered it is actually a program that unleashes pure and unmitigated terror on the Filipino population. As Oplan Bayanihan is nearing the end of its first phase the AFP and the Aquino regime are stepping up military operations, martial law style imposed governments in the provinces, and the kidnappings and assassinations of national democratic activists and administration critics.”
Ever since the start of Oplan Bayanihan by the AFP in Southern Mindanao in June of 2010 there has been at least 17 extrajudicial killings involving government forces, one kidnapping by government forces, nine illegal arrests and 33 political prisoners. None of those targeted by the AFP have been involved in the NPA, instead they have been community organizers, church workers, tribal leaders, and human rights advocates.