Exodus for Justice and Peace.
May 19, 2009
Church advocates decried the military’s blanket dismissal of the recommendations by the International Solidarity Mission to stop the human rights abuses in the region. They also raised alarm that the military has merely set aside the Order of Battle containing names of civilians and legal organizations as exclusive to the military.
The Exodus for Justice and Peace maintains the results of the three-day ocular visit of the International Solidarity Mission in Mindanao as anything but imagined or manufactured.
“The ISM confirmed the presence of military garrison in New Bataan poblacion and forced recruitment of civilians to the Barangay Defense System, the trauma of victims of human rights abuses, the failure of government officials to protect its constituents and the weakness of police authorities and the judicial courts to bring to the bar of justice suspects of the extra-judicial killings in the region,” EJP spokesperson Rev. Amancio Benegian said.
He added that “the more than 300 delegates did not conspire to concoct any of the statements and testimonies of the victims and their families. We did not imagine nor fabricate what we saw in the conflict areas.”
“Certainly, the three days were enough for us to conclude that human rights have been violated, that a martial law is being implemented among peasants and workers in the far-flung areas, and that in the urban centers, any civilian is a sitting duck. Anytime, anywhere, armed elements and minions of the military’s intelligence, can strike hapless and unarmed leaders and personalities,” Benegian said.
He also noted that by saying that the military’s Order of Battle is not for public consumption, “the 10th ID appears to make it sound like that they are the ones running the show, in control of the lives of ordinary civilians, and to hold sway over when and when not to protect the civil and political rights of the people,” Rev. Benegian said.