Labor Rights Group Raises Alarm Over Militarization of Bureaucracy
The labor rights organization, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) raised serious alarm over President Duterte’s appointment of military generals in his cabinet, stating that it is an ominous sign for already deteriorating human rights in the country and an increased tendency for militarist solution to country’s ills.
“This country especially the workers is witness to the failure of militarist governance to addressing the country’s problems but it still feel and see the horror it brought into this divided and impoverished people. We are alarmed that these appointments will take back further the hard-won gains of our struggle for human rights and freedom,” said Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director.
This week, President Duterte appointed former AFP chief Roy Cimatu as Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, in place of the CA-rejected, environment advocate Gina Lopez. Protection of environment and natural resources is one of the most highly contested work areas. In fact in 2105, Global Witness reported that 33 environment and mining activists were murdered, making the Philippines the deadliest country for environment advocates in the world. In the first seven months of this administration, 12 environment advocates were extra-judicially killed by alleged state security forces. The appointment of a general who claims `to be a lover of the environment’ as a credential to be in that plum post sends shivers to many human rights defenders and those who have been longing for peace.
Ex-AFP Chief Roy Cimatu was one of the generals who led the Arroyo administration’s notorious Oplan Bantay Laya counter insurgency program which left more than a 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations. He was also implicated in the corruption controversy that hounded the AFP in 2011. He was tagged as one of the “pabaon generals” who allegedly received millions after their retirement. He was accused of receiving P80 million as send-off bonus.
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