Monday, August 16, 2010

Activists slam extension of ‘Oplan Bantay Laya’

Activists slam extension of ‘Oplan Bantay Laya’*

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan on Monday scored the military's decision to extend its counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bantay Laya, saying that it might be a signal of the Aquino administration's less than firm commitment to human rights.

“This is really a very disappointing development. The extension of Bantay Laya places a huge question on the Aquino's administration’s commitment to human rights,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement.

Reyes said the Bantay Laya was nothing but bad news for activists because the plan lumped unarmed activists with armed ones, and considered legal militant groups as fronts for the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Assurances that human rights will be respected by military men are inadequate, according to Reyes.

“It will take more than a handbook on human rights to undo the vile indoctrination done by the likes of Norberto Gonzales and Fr. Romeo Intengan who provided the ideological justification for the extrajudicial killings. It will take more than a token commitment to human rights to reverse the thrusts of Oplan Bantay Laya, which includes the killings of unarmed activists,” he said.