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Child rights groups condemn Alamara and the AFP as vicious violators of human rights!

The Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns together with one of its member organizations, Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) and human rights and church based organizations that joined the mercy mission in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, strongly condemned the atrocious acts made by the paramilitary forces Alamara and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which caused the derailment of the mission.

 

The two (2) child rights groups said that the reported movement of the armed paramilitary members which posed great threat to the mission and its participants, is one of the shameless vicious ways of the AFP to prevent the truth from coming out.

 

Salinlahi Secretary General Kharlo Manano mentioned that they received reports while they were on their way to Barangay Gupitan. “The Alamara group was in an ambush position, threatening to kill anyone who passes the community. That was a big threat to the security of the mission contingent but the mission leaders tried every effort possible to continue with our objectives to provide food and other needs and document cases of human rights violations in Kapalong.”

 

According to the Salinlahi, it was the second attempt of human rights organizations, led by Karapatan Southern Mindanao to conduct a mission just this month. The first one was also halted due to the Alamara presence. “It was a clear case of concealing the truth. It was a desperate move of the AFP who funds the Alamara group. They want to sow fear and terror, not just with the community members in affected areas but also to organizations and individuals who want to provide assistance and expose the violations of human rights perpetrated by no less than the state armed forces,” added Manano.

 

Recently, Alamara has declared a pangayaw (tribal war) against the New People’s Army. “However, just like the AFP, the Alamara has been pointing their guns towards civilians. The Alamara group is being used by the Aquino government’s counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bayanihan and like the armed forces, are notorious for terrorizing and harassing organizations and community members who have been red-tagged in the first place,” explained Manano.

 

CRC Information and Publicity Coordinator, Sarah Espineda, who also joined the mission, meanwhile cited reported cases of state perpetrated child rights violations in the course of military occupation and operation in the aforementioned Barangay. “In July 2014 alone, elements of the 60th Infantry Battalion have been sowing terror among the residents and violations include hamletting, illegal arrests, military encampment in schools and churches and destruction of properties. Children were also used as guides by the soldiers in their combat patrol operation,” elaborated Espineda.

 

Salinlahi and CRC representatives are supposed to document cases of children’s rights violations in the area.

 

Manano and Espineda appealed that the Alamara group should be disarmed and that the local government should take a firm stand for the mission to reach victims of human rights violations and for their real situation to be known to the wider public. “More than continuing with the mission, we are demanding the pull out of paramilitary and military troops in rural areas not just in Mindanao but all over the country. These atrocities of the Aquino government through the AFP should stop so that children can go back to school and community members can go back to their normal lives. In addition to this, Oplan Bayanihan should be put to an end as it is proven to cause fear, terror and multitude of violations to people,including children,” ended Manano.###