Fact Finding Mission
set out this week in Samar
TACLOBAN CITY –
Human Rights Alliance, Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas, together with UGOP
Waraynon, is set out to conduct a National Solidarity Mission (a Fact
Finding Mission, Relief Operations and Medical Mission) in Brgy. Bay-ang,
San Jorge, Samar this coming January 29 to
February 1, 2009.
Besides the said barrio, the group also expects farmers from nearby
barrios to participate in the said mission.
According to Lawyer
Kathrina Castillo, Secretary General of Katungod-SB, their group
together with other sectors wants to extend relief and medical support
to the farmers in Samar who are affected by massive militarization by
the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“We chose the
particular area for the mission to answer the plight of the farmers in
those interior barrios because of massive militarization and gross
human rights violations. Brgy. Bay-ang and its neighboring barrios
have evacuated more than once since 2005 which caused economic
disruption and trauma to the residents. In addition, many incidents of
human rights violations have not yet been documented by any group,
even the authorities, which we want to investigate,” Castillo said.
“We are strong in our
statements of condemnation against the brutalities of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines not to “taint their name and reputation”, as they
always allege, but to be the voice of those who have been victims of
their atrocities who are afraid to speak. We have been in the
forefront of human rights advocacy in the region and we are firm in
our contention that the AFP is the number one human rights violators
of the people, contrary to what is expected of them as the ‘supposed
to be’ protectors of the people and the integrity of the Philippine
territory,” Castillo stressed.
She further added, “We
want to gather data to confirm and prove that the counter-insurgency
campaign Oplan Bantay Laya II that the Arroyo regime and the AFP is
pursuing is not really aimed at crushing the so-called insurgents but
really targets ordinary civilians, especially farmers in fur-flung
The group enjoins all
human rights advocates and civil libertarians to join the mission
and/or give any kind of support: material, morale, and spiritual
support for the said activity.