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“Child rights group lambasted Aquino for using taxpayer’s money to fund perpetrators of child rights violations”

Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) expressed utmost concern over deliberate attacks of elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against anti-mining leaders and indigenous peoples in Mindanao. Elements of the AFP recently killed a tribal chieftain Anting Freay and his 16-year old son Victor last August 23 in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

According to reports from human rights group KARAPATAN-SOCSKSARGEN, in the early morning of August 23, Anting went out to check why the dogs were barking and as he opened the door, elements of 39th Infantry Battalion and Task Force Kitaco sprayed the house with bullets, killing him instantly. His wife carrying their two children was also fired at but was able to escape. Unfortunately, Anting’s 16-year old son who ran back to the house to help his father was shot 18 times, blowing out his intestines.
“A single bullet which killed a child is already a grave rights violation but to pepper his body with eighteen bullets is sadistically inhumane and atrocious. We are saddened at the same time enraged over this incident. Not only did the AFP took the lives of a child and his father, they also left a life-long scar to the survivors. Moreover, incidents such as this wreaked terror to the affected communities,” CRC Executive Director Jacquiline Ruiz said.

The killing of Victor sets the record to 17 children killed by the AFP and its associates under the Aquino administration.
Anting, a 60 year old Chieftain of the Blaan tribe, was known for his firm opposition to the operation of Xtrata-SMI Mining Corporation in South Cotabato. However, like what happened to those who oppose mining activities, they were faced by the “barrels of guns” of the AFP, who serve as protectors of mining companies, under the scheme of “Investment Defense Force” of Oplan Bayanihan.

Last year, the wife and two sons of tribal leader Daguil Capion, were massacred by elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion. Capion declared a “Pangayaw” (tribal war) against the Xtrata-SMI Mining Corporation as they displace Blaan Communities. The killings of the Capions remain unsolved and perpetrators remain at large.

“Amidst the issue of the PORK BARREL misuse and abuse, billions of pesos of people’s money were stolen instead of directly providing free and apt social services to the people, the government also irresponsibly appropriates millions of pesos to upgrade and modernize the military force. Millions of our money have been given to the AFP and they continue to terrorize and violate human rights of communities and individuals; displacement, killings, abduction, branding of children as child soldiers, etc.,” Ruiz added.
“As staunch advocates of children’s rights, we are calling for the support of the Filipino people to jointly condemn the Aquino administration for the continuing human rights violations using our money, the people’s money. We also enjoin the call of church people and human rights defenders to scrap Oplan Bayanihan and punish the perpetrators,” Ruiz ended. ###