Thursday, June 22, 2006

Channel P1billion AFP Fund to Schools, Medicines, and Peace Talks, Ka Bel Challenges GMA

NEWS RELEASE
June 22, 2006
From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006


"Socio-economic development' component of AFP's all-out war is only a deodorizer for bloodbath."

Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran today challenged the Palace and the AFP "to prove their sincerity in achieving a just and lasting peace by rechannelling the controversial P1 billion counter-insurgency fund to basic social services, such as education and health, and to the peace talks with the CPP-NPA".

"The government should be channeling such funds to augmenting grossly inadequate basic social services, instead of funding murderous counter-insurgency campaigns in the countryside. The Arroyo administration should be castigated by all societal sectors for splurging on the military allotments while chronically neglecting and scrimping on the budget for health and education. This shows that the President is only interested in protecting herself rather than the nation's interest and welfare," Beltran said while confined at the Philippine Heart Center.

"The people's money would be better spent on laying the groundwork for the resumption of peace talks with the CPP-NPA rather than an all-out counter-insurgency bid. Yet the Arroyo administration seems to favor wielding the bloody sword of war over going back to the negotiating table," Beltran said.

Beltran also criticized AFP Chief Generoso Senga's claim that criticisms of the counter-insurgency fund were "unfair".

"Senga should quit denying the obvious and call a spade a spade. He is evading well-founded and historical observations that the military counter-insurgency fund will only increase the number of civilians killed, tortured, and harassed and the extra-judicial killings of activists who are operating well within the law. He is lamely and illogically trying to justify a bloodbath by saying that the AFP will be having all these small livelihood projects anyway," Beltran said.

"The 'socio-economic development' component of this counter-insurgency campaign is only a deodorizer for the stench of blood and tears that is sure to come if the military war dogs go on such a killing spree in the provinces. These small-scale projects will not fundamentally alter the causes of widespread poverty, and can never compensate for the human rights violations by the military," Beltran said.

Beltran said he was wary of such "socio-economic development projects, especially those bearing the seal of approval from the Palace".

"Frankly speaking, we have witnessed how the Arroyo administration has only used such Palace-approved allotments as a convenient piggybank for Pres. Arroyo's campaigns at shameless self-promotion. The 2007 elections are nearing, and President Arroyo will be needing subtle and not-so-subtle ways to promote herself, her allies and her cohorts in their bid to extend their abominable presence in governance," Beltran said.

"This socio-economic development component of the P1 bilion military allocation might only end up as another Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) fertilizer fund scam or another OWWA Philhealth fund anomaly," Beltran said. ###

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