Solons condemn P100k bounty offer for NPA rebels
Progressive lawmakers condemned on Thursday the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) bounty for the capture or killing of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, saying it might result in an increase of human rights violations in the country.
“Kinukundena po natin ang anumang panukala na magpatong ng P100,000 para doon sa bawat NPA na mapapatay sa kanilang gyerang pinagpapatuloy [We condemn the P100,000 bounty for each NPA killed by the AFP],” said Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao in a press conference.
“Kung si former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ay mayroong General Jovito Palparan, si Pangulong Duterte ngayon ay mayroong General [Eduardo] Año. Ano po ang common denominator sa kanila? Pareho po itong tusong berdugo,” Casilao added.
(If former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had General Jovito Palparan, President Duterte has General Ano. What is their common denominator? They are both executioners.)
AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año on Wednesday offered a P100,000-bounty for each NPA and extremist fighter captured, dead or alive.
Casilao warned that such reward offer will increase human rights violations as it will blur the line between armed rebels and legitimate political dissenters and activists.
The lawmaker said that 74 peasants and indigenous peoples activists have already been killed since Duterte lifted the ceasefire with the NPA in February.
“Dinadamay kahit na yung mga lehitimong nakikipaglaban; yung mga political dissenters, political activists (They implicate even those who legitimately struggle for change; the political dissenters, political activists,” he said.
In a separate statement, Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Zarate said that the bounty offer is an “invitation for [an] AFP killing spree.”
“This is condemnable as it is gravely dangerous. It is tantamount to sanctioning murder for a fee and an open travesty of the rule of law,” Zarate said.
The lawmaker said that the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will just use the bounty offer as “another money-making scheme” as anyone can be tagged or killed as a rebel or terrorist just to get the reward.
“In the past administrations, several instances of persons charged in court or killed and were falsely presented as rebels so that the military can thereafter collect the corresponding bounty,” he said.
“We have seen this before and it did not solve the problem of rebellion but only fattened the pockets of corrupt AFP and police officials and personnel,” he added. JE
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