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Posts Tagged ‘militarization’

Anti-VFA caravan update
8 am February 24, 2009
No. of vehicles: 56
Participants: 1120

References: Prof.  Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN, 09086198971
Jariz Vida, secretary general, BAYAN Muna- Camarines Sur

Military harassment against anti-VFA caravan intensifies!
Local BM leader’s life threatened

The military harassment against the anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan has been intensifying since last night, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) even using dump trucks and fire trucks to block the caravan. Now, the blocking soldiers are in full battle gear and they even fielded operatives to specifically harass and threaten Jariz Vida, secretary general of BAYAN Muna-Camarines Sur.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “the AFP is really getting desperate to sabotage our caravan, now they are resorting to sinister tactics to frighten the participants. In Brgy. Sioton, Magallanes,  Sorsogon, 20 elements of the 3rd and 7th Scout Ranger Company forcibly took our coal for cooking and threw it on the road. They also tried to confiscate our rice. They also threatened a driver not to join the caravan anymore and just to go home,”

“Last night around 6pm the military has deployed at least 50 police and soldiers in full battle gear and they even sabotaged the program by not allowing it to start until 9 pm and surrounded the south contingent in Rizal Park, Sorsogon City,” added Bisuña.

“They also fielded intelligence agents to infiltrate our ranks, but they were unsuccessful in Sorsogon. While in the north wing around 10 pm last night three operatives of the Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB) in separate motorcycles chased the jeepney Jariz Vida is occupying and they tried to get him. Fortunately he was able to get away,” said the professor.

Meanwhile Jariz Vida, secretary general of BAYAN Muna- Camarines Sur, “the MIB has been trying to abduct or kill me since April 2006 when they tried to shoot me in Naga City. They failed then and they thought that they can get me now. If anything happens to me then we have nobody to blame but them. Nothing will stop me though from continuing to fight for our rights and the betterment of Bicolanos.”

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Militarization in Bikol intensifies due to Balikatan exercises
Army checkpoints all over the region as anti-VFA caravan kicks off

As the anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan starts today the region has experienced increased militarization by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) particularly in the areas where the Balikatan exercises are to be conducted.

Military checkpoints have now sprouted all over the region to delay or stop the caravan. Numerous checkpoints were set up in Sipocot, Libmanan, Pamplona, Pili, and Nabua, Camarines Sur as well as Irosin and Cumadcad, Sorsogon. The military has gone into red alert for the caravan and there have been sightings of US troops in Pili, Camarines Sur.

According to Professor Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “Military presence and activity has definitely increased in Bikol especially in Albay, as we start our caravan. The AFP has even killed a 1 year old girl and injured her family in their clearing operations for Balikatan and to discourage people in joining and supporting our caravan,”

“It is as we feared, the AFP and the PNP has now unleashed their operatives to sabotage the anti-VFA caravan.”

“In Albay alone they have militarized all the coastal communities facing the Pacific Ocean. The AFP has also called for barrio meetings for Balikatan and deployed soldiers in Barangays Bongabong, Baranghawon in Tabaco City and Brgys. Joroan, Bano and Nagas in Tiwi, as well as Brgys San Roque, Rawis, Manito, Homapon up to Taysan in Legazpi City. They will also place a military detachment in Brgy. Calayucay in Sto. Domingo,” said Bisuña.

“The military has even entered universities to garner support for Balikatan like in Aquinas and Bicol University. Fortunately, most of the students and faculty saw through their lies and are against Balikatan. The military has also implemented a curfew in some barangays in Legazpi City like San Roque, saying that because it is near the naval facility. In the town of Santo Domingo all the barangay captains were summoned by the Army to support the Balikatan exercises,” added the patriotic professor.

Meanwhile Joel Ascutia, chairman of CONDOR-PISTON-Bikol said, “A certain policeman named Batumbakal went to the jeepney terminals in Guinobatan and Jovellar, Albay and specifically asked for our members. He said that they were ordered by the military to do this,”

“This is a direct harassment on our ranks and a violation of our right to livelihood as well as our freedom of expression. But we have news to the military we will still participate in the caravan and we are already mulling to file charges against them,” said Ascutia.

Bisuña further says, “The worst the AFP has done so far is the killing of Rafaela Polborido, 1 year and 4 months old and the injury of her family by a grenade launched by elements of the 901st Infantry Brigade in Brgy Balanac, Ligao City, Albay.

“It is very ironic that Brgy. Balanac where the human rights violations are being done by the military is just adjacent to Brgy. Paulba were a so-called medical mission is to be done by the US troops. Are they ensuring that more people would come to the medical mission by injuring and terrorizing them first?”

“We will not allow these desperate moves of the AFP and the PNP to stop the anti-VFA caravan. By doing this they only emboldened us more and showed the righteousness of our call to junk the VFA, the MDT and the Balikatan exercises,” ended Bisuña.

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