October 20, 2011
In view of the recent killing of anti-mining advocate and Italian missionary Father Fausto Tentorio, ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio today pointed out that President Aquino’s approval of a military proposal to deploy special militia to provide security for mining firms only perpetuates the growing number of extra-judicial killings (EJK) among activists in the country.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier proposed that mining firms should ‘fund and organize’ so-called Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) units to protect them from rebel attacks.
CAFGUs (Civilian Armed Forces Geographic Units) are civilian militias employed, organized, and armed by the AFP while the SCAA units shall be employed by the private mining companies.
According to the AFP, these privately-funded special militias shall include ten (10) militiamen so as to enhance security in business areas, particularly private mining firms. The SCAA units shall be directed by one non-commissioned officer or enlisted personnel to ensure that no human rights violation will be committed by the militiamen.
“With President Aquino approving such a proposal, extra-judicial killings of activists will continue to take place,” said Tinio.
He noted that the President was turning a blind eye to the track record of human rights violations involving paramilitaries. “It is a known fact that paramilitaries are consistently reported as perpetrators of various human rights violations, most especially in far-flung areas. Have we forgotten that the Ampatuan massacre was committed using special militias armed by the government itself?” stressed Tinio.
“Fr. Tentorio, or ‘Fr. Pops’ to the local peoples and deprived farmers he dearly served for nearly 30 years, remained firm in his anti-mining and anti-militarization advocacies until his very last breath. It is not very difficult to think that his murder could be linked with PNoy’s heightened counter-insurgency policy in rural areas, where staunch human rights advocates like Fr. Tentorio are becoming victims of extrajudicial killings as they are maliciously accused as sympathizers of the New People’s Army,” he added.
The ACT Teachers solon called on Aquino administration to scrap his policy of allowing special militias to secure mining companies.#
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)