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Blood-tainted AFP deserves not a single cent from nation’s wealth- NGO

Amid Congress deliberation of the 2015 proposed national budget, a child rights group urged the House of Representatives to withhold from appropriating budget to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as the latter remain responsible for the spate of killings and gross human rights violations, wherein children are not even spared.

“The blood-tainted AFP deserves not a single cent from people’s hard-earned money. As child rights advocates and taxpayers, we don’t want our taxes to be used to fund the state forces marred with countless human rights violations,” said Jacquiline Ruiz, executive director of Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC).
According to Ruiz, the 100 billion proposed budget for the Department of National Defense (DND), is a budget to fund the operations of “butchers and the likes of Palparan” in the AFP which will only lead to the continuing prevalence of terror and impunity in the Philippines.

In particular, Ruiz cited some of the recent cases of state sponsored violence including the killing and abduction of children in Maguindanao. “Last June 7, the four-month-old baby of Mohammad Panigas succumbed to death after he was hit by a bullet fired by a military element belonging to the 22nd Mechanized Brigade, Philippine Army who fired at his house in Barangay Dapiawan, Datu Saudi, Maguindanao province. A month after, in July 3, a 14-year-old boy and his father were abducted by members of the 45th Infantry Battalion at a checkpoint in Brgy. Meta, Datu Unsay, Maguindanao,” Ruiz detailed.

Ruiz also questioned the government allocations to agencies and programs implementing the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan including the 1.7 billion for the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (PAMANA) and Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services: Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KALAHI-CIDSS: KKB) amounting to 18 million under Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). “Instead of putting a large chunk of the nation’s resource to Opbay, the Aquino government should focus in providing free and appropriate social services to people like health and education,” opined Ruiz.

 CRC is an organization active in providing psychosocial intervention to children victims and children of victims of human rights violations. CRC is set to join other human rights organizations in a protest action on September 9 during the DND budget deliberations in the House of Representatives to further reiterate their call.###