On March 25, William Bugatti, a 43 year old human rights worker for Karapatan, one of the Philippines main human rights organizations, was shot to death. He was the 12th activist killed so far this year. On March 15 Romeo Capalla, 65, chairperson of the Panay Fair Trade Center, was shot to death. On March 2 Freddie Ligiwi, his father and his brother Edie disappeared, they were found March 8 in a shallow grave. Freddie had been a member of Anakbayan, a left wing organization. Women have also been targeted in the killings. Elisa Lascona Tulid, 37, a land rights activist was killed October 19, 2013 in front of her husband and 4 year old daughter.
The story of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines has been going on since the beginning of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroya presidency which ran from 2001 to 2010. During her presidency there were 1,206 extra-judicial killings. So far in the Aquino presidency there have been 188 extra-judicial killings and dozens of forced disappearances.
In the first few months of 2014 the Aquino government/military began arresting and jailing left wing activists on fictitious charges. So far 43 have been imprisoned in this way. The Philippine government is moving against its political opponents using violence and lies, showing with clarity that they have no legitimacy.
While the Philippine military bears a great deal of the responsibility for the crimes committed in the extra-judicial killings a great deal must also go to the U.S. which supplies and trains the AFP through IMET (International Military
Education and Training) program and its JCET (Joint Combined Exchange Training) program. The U.S. holds similar joint military and training exercises in in Indonesia where there are ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua by the Indonesian military. I believe The U.S. should alter its conduct and cease all weapons supplies and joint activities and training until all human rights abuse conduct can be proven to have ended.
For ongoing updates about the Philippines go to bulatlat.com