MANILA, Sept. 20, 2012—Catholic bishops and priests in Visayas called on President Benigno Aquino III to “meaningfully honor” his parents’ struggle against the Martial Law by stopping human rights violations under his administration.
In a statement released for tomorrow’s 41st commemoration of the Martial Law declaration, the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group said that despite Aquino’s insistence on “straight path”, human rights abuses continue to characterize his government.
“We ask the Aquino Government to denounce Martial Law through doing all it can to stop impunity and stop all human rights violations,” part of the statement, signed by VCDG head convenor and Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, read.
The group noted that 99 extra-judicial killings, 11 enforced disappearances, 60 frustrated extra-judicial killings have been recorded since 2010.
They said the two-year old Aquino presidency also fails to curb the growing cases of illegal arrests and detention and forced evictions of informal settlers in the country particularly in Metro Manila.
In Cebu, they claimed, violent demolition and eviction of urban poor communities have continued; and more than 30,000 households in Metro Cebu are facing demolition.
There are also farmers’ leaders who have asked helped from Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma as they are being harassed for asserting genuine agrarian reform.
Alminaza said fisherfolks in Cordova, Cebu and other areas in the province are being displaced from their livelihood due to reclamation projects for ports, golf courses, and others.
“Yet amidst increasing human rights violations, we are dismayed with the continuing impunity of perpetrators. Impunity or exemption from punishment of perpetrators has become so common that it has become just another matter of routine. Impunity denies the victims their right to justice and redress,” he said.
The bishop cited retired army general Jovito Palparan, who was charged for disappearance of two University of the Philippines students in 2006, which “continues to elude the law.”
“Many other government military officials and personnel accused of perpetrating human rights violation continue to enjoy impunity under the current dispensation,” Alminaza said. [CBCPNews]