Progressive organizations based in Cebu City decried the overkill in the security preparations for the coming ASEAN Summit. “Frantic preparations for the upcoming ASEAN Summit in Cebu have thrown the provincial government in a militarist state of panic,” said lawyer Alfonso Cinco, chairperson of Karapatan-Cebu.
BY EMILY VITAL
Progressive organizations based in Cebu City decried the overkill in the security preparations for the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
In a statement, lawyer Alfonso Cinco, chairperson of Karapatan-Cebu, said over the weekend, “Frantic preparations for the upcoming ASEAN Summit in Cebu have thrown the provincial government in a militarist state of panic.”
In October, elements of the 46th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army, 7th Marine Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Tactical Operations Wing and Naval Forces Central were deployed in Cebu to augment the security for the ASEAN. The units reinforced the 78th, 12th, and 11th IB of the Central Command based in Cebu.
A total of 4,500 soldiers will secure the ASEAN.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will mobilize 10,000 policemen for the same event. A report from the Philippine News Agency said that more than 1,000 9mm pistols from Camp Crame were given to the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO) for use by the rookie policemen who will help secure the ASEAN.
Various statements from Karapatan-Central Visayas underscored cases of harassment in the communities of peasant, fisherfolk and uban poor. Perpetrators of such human rights abuses warned the local residents against joining anti-ASEAN rallies.
Lt. Col. Oscar Lasangue of the AFP 3rd Civil Relations Group openly tagged 15 communities near the ASEAN Summit sites as alleged targets of infiltration by “communists fronts.” He did not name the communities.
In Bgy. Bangbang, Cordova, leaders and members of the Panaghiusa sa Mananagat sa Timog-Amihan Cordova (PAMATIA-Co), a local organization of fisherfolk, were harassed by the military. PAMATIA-Co spokesperson Wilbert Dimol was among those who were interrogated and accused of working with the New People’s Army (NPA) to disrupt the ASEAN Summit.
Elements of the 46th IB led by S/Sgt. Eugene Bonjoc reportedly coerced residents into attending meetings called by the military. In the meetings, local fisherfolk organizations were tagged as NPA fronts.
Soldiers from the 46th and 78th IB also harassed peasants in Brgys. Vito and Cadulawan in Minglanilla. At least seven members of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Minglanilla (NAMAMI) have executed affidavits against a certain Sergeant Delara and other soldiers.
Agents of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) led by 2Lt. Noli Cariazo carried out operations in Brgy. Labogon in Mandaue City and Brgy. Pasil in Cebu City. Initial reports showed that ISAFP agents interrogated members of people’s organizations and warned them against attending rallies.
Meanwhile, the Cebu Provincial Board is pushing for the implementation of a curfew.
Last week, the 7th Marine Batalion Landing Team lined up for viewing their newly-polished canons and armor ostensibly for securing the ASEAN Summit.
Karapatan-CV said the Marines’ action is “aimed at threatening activists who have been protesting the series of military harassment of their communities since last month.”
Earlier, in September, Sharon Abangan, a member of PAMANA-Sugbo, and his companion, Gerard Lavadia, were abducted and held incommunicado by the Cebu Provincial Anti-Insurgency Task Force. They were later presented to the media as rebels extorting money from companies to fund an anti-ASEAN international conference. (Bulatlat.com)