Karapatan reminds Aquino: Same social ills that caused the ouster of two presidents perpetrated by your regimePress Release | Karapatan September 21, 2013
Government bureaucrats and their legions in and out of the bureaucracy live on people’s hard labor to load their bank accounts, build business empires, acquire expensive houses here and abroad, buy the most expensive luxury items to indulgence themselves, and to wine, dine, and dance.
Landlords, transnational mining companies, agri-business plantations rob peasants and indigenous peoples of their lands. Capitalists rake in profits by keeping workers’ wages at bare minimum. Private corporations, in cahoots with the government, forcibly evict urban poor dwellers and demolish their houses. The youth are kept out of school because of high education costs, and the sick die without proper medical treatment or even die without seeing a doctor.
The government’s armed forces and paramilitary groups tag civilians as communists. They threaten, harass, arrest, throw false charges against the civilians, detain, and torture them. The armed forces and paramilitary groups abduct civilians, and civilians either disappear or surface dead; armed forces bomb communities of civilians; civilians leave their homes and sources of livelihood to go to evacuation centers.
US and Philippine governments say US troops are here to protect the country from foreign intervention. Without regard for the country’s sovereignty, the President allows the US troops and its warships to enter the country freely. In exchange, the US government gives military aid to improve the fighting capability of Philippine troops to undertake counter-insurgency measures against the Filipino people.
Yes, the images are Marcosian. And, yes the images capture what is currently happening under the Aquino government. But, the reality is far more biting than these images. People’s lives are on the line, and the children’s future is at stake.
From Marcos through the Aquino government, this reality was never interrupted. The exact names of players may be different, but they are essentially the same. In fact, many survived from Marcos through BS Aquino, to name a few: Marcos-turned-Cory Aquino ally, Juan Ponce Enrile, presidential uncle Danding Cojuangco, business tycoon Lucio Tan who, under the BS Aquino presidency, got off the hook from cases on ill-gotten wealth. Needless to say, the Marcoses and other political dynasties are very much alive.
BS Aquino did not do anything substantial to change all these. He and his spinmeisters merely churned out PR spins, sound bites and surveys meant to condition public opinion.
But, the reality of skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, demolition and forced eviction of thousands of urban poor dwellers, deceptive land reform schemes such as the Hacienda Luisita case, the privatization of almost all public hospitals, high-cost of education, and continuing human rights violations far outweighs lies and spins.
As of August 30, Karapatan-documented cases of extrajudicial killings have gone up to 153, and frustrated extrajudicial killing to 168. There are now 449 political detainees; while documented victims of forced eviction and demolition are almost 13,000 and, forced evacuation nearing 32,000.
And, whatever effect these spins had on the people were finally wiped out when the 10-billion-peso pork barrel scam exploded. People are back on the streets protesting, not only against the scam, but against the pork barrel system, and corruption in general that is committed with impunity.
Widespread protest on the streets, in schools, in workplaces, and in urban and rural areas. In one voice the workers, peasants, women, youth and students, teachers, indigenous peoples, government employees, lawyers, doctors and other professionals, religious leaders and church people call for change, shouted “Enough is enough! Sobra na, tama na!”
BS Aquino should be reminded that such call reverberated and resulted to the ouster of two presidents of the Republic.
Today, as we commemorate the 41st year of the imposition of martial law, the people say “Never Again!” to the same rotten system — of corruption and plunder, injustice, subservience to US dictates, and violations of the people’s rights—perpetuated by the BS Aquino regime. ###
Members of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) together with the surviving victims of human rights violations during martial law and their relatives trooped to Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) Bridge to express their grievances and assailed the continued inaction of the Aquino administration in implementing the Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparation Act of 2013 otherwise known as RA 10368.
President Benigno Aquino III signed the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 into a law in February, in time for the 27th anniversary of EDSA People Power I Uprising.
“To date, after almost seven months, the law has not been implemented because since its signing, President Noynoy Aquino has not appointed members of the Human Rights Claims Board as stipulated in the law. The Human Rights Victims Claims Board shall process, evaluate and approve application for claims of reparation and recognition. Further, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) will also be made by the board. Thus, without the Human Rights Victims Claims Board and its implementing rules and regulations, the law becomes inutile,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of SELDA.
SELDA asks why and what it is taking the President so long in implementing the law. ‘We are afraid that one reason why President Aquino is taking his own sweet time to form the Board is for him to exclude SELDA – nominees from being members of the Board. We in SELDA also hope that Palace officials have not dipped their fingers into the P10 B fund for victims’ reparation, and would not go the way of the scandalous pork barrel system.”
“We can no longer take Noynoy Aquino’s foot-dragging on the law while almost every month or week, a martial law victim dies. “Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo.” It adds insult to injury of martial law victims and their relatives when the said law is not given the immediate and appropriate attention by the Aquino government.” Enriquez concluded. ###
Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-5616800