Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Militarization in Samar confirms "counterinsurgency" purpose of MCC assistance-NDF

Militarization in Samar confirms "counterinsurgency" purpose of MCC assistance*

NDF-Eastern Visayas
October 13, 2010

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today slammed 8th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Mario Chan for launching widespread military operations under the extended Oplan Bantay Laya, and for coercing the local government in Western Samar to support the Aquino government's "counterinsurgency" campaign. "It is clear Gen. Chan is asserting military supremacy in making the inappropriate and insulting demand to the Western Samar provincial government to increase and expand the "mobility corridors" so the 8th ID troops could pursue the New People's Army," said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. "This proves the government's so-called development projects, especially under the aegis of the Millenium Challenge Corporation, are not really beneficial to the people but in support of the "counterinsurgency" campaign. It is in fact the military that is calling the shots, and the militarist solution to social unrest lurks behind the US-funded Samar Road and other alleged development projects. While pretending to aid the people of Samar, the more than $200 million MCC development assistance is actually serving as the Trojan horse of militarization."

Fr. Salas also said the ongoing militarization in Northern and Western Samar belie the Aquino government's promises of peace and development. "Human rights violations continue under the extended Oplan Bantay Laya, and are bound to mount after January 2011 when the Aquino government pursues a new scheme in the mold of the US Counterinsurgency Guide. Gen. Chan's pronouncements the military ushers in peace and development are thus nothing more than sugarcoating militarization. Since August in fact, wide areas of the countryside in northern, western and eastern Samar are now warzones where the military violates human rights and international humanitarian law with impunity. These include areas in the Western Samar towns of Jiabong, Motiong, San Jorge, Catbalogan, Gandara, Paranas, San Jose de Buan and Matuguinao, on to Las Navas and other Northern Samar towns, as well as Jipapad in Eastern Samar. The 8th ID troops encamp in civilian communities, putting these in danger, in gross violation of international humanitarian law. Troops from the 52nd IB, 63rd IB, 34th IB, Scout Rangers and other military and paramilitary units have also been accused by civilians of summary executions, torture, harassment, indiscriminate firing, robbery, destruction of property and other violations."

The NDF-EV spokesperson called on the local government, Church, media, human rights advocates and other sectors to expose and oppose the militarization of Samar and to reject the US Counterinsurgency Guide and its MCC component. "The victims of human rights violations must stand up and demand justice and redress for the decade-long ordeal caused by Oplan Bantay Laya. The people must unite, expose and oppose the militarist and fascist solutions being railroaded by the Aquino government as directed by the US COIN Guide. If it wants to show its genuine concern for the people, civilian authority must confront and reject the fascist imposition of military supremacy. The path to genuine peace and development is not that made by the few and by the interests of US imperialism; it is made by the people's struggle for justice, national freedom and democracy."

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