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Bautista, AFP are no 'green warriors'--indigenous peoples

“The AFP's hands are stained with the blood of indigenous peoples and environment activists,” Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan (KAMP) said. “On the contrary, they are the muscle and the hired guns of mining corporations, logging, and other environmentally-destructive projects. Bautista and the AFP are far from being 'green warriors.'”

The indigenous peoples' group reacted at the pronouncements of newly-appointed Department of National Defense chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista last Thursday, who said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) may be regarded as 'green warriors,' pertaining to the efforts of the military to assist in the disaster-stricken Mindanao after typhoon Pablo.

“This is ironic coming from the mouth of the architect of Oplan Bayanihan, the blueprint of violence against indigenous peoples and environment defenders,” Malayao added. Oplan Bayanihan, or Internal Security Plan Bayanihan is the Aquino government's counter-insurgency plan, which boasts of a 'rights-based approach' to 'winning the peace.'

“This is yet another ploy of the Aquino government and its armed forces to mask their brutality. Bautista is well-known for his deftness at deceit and manipulation, mirrored by his expert strokes in the crafting of the Oplan Bayanihan,” Malayao said. “To dub these cruel killers as 'green warriors' is insulting to those who died defending the land and environment, which were killer by these so-called these State forces themselves,” Malayao added.

According to KAMP data, 32 indigenous peoples have been slain during the Aquino presidency, a bulk of which are indigenous people's leaders in mine-affected areas. Juvy Capion,a Blaan woman and leader against the entry of SMI-Xstrata in their ancestral territories, is one of the recent cases of large-scale-mining-related violence. Capion and her two sons were killed by members of the 27th Infantry Battalion last October 2012.

KAMP says that the disaster in Mindanao is largely caused by large-scale mining and logging. Six large-scale mining projects and 14 logging concessions exists in the disaster-stricken area.

“The AFP is the behind man-made disasters that are a worse deluge to all Filipinos, especially indigenous peoples. How could the AFP be a 'green warrior' when it kills of the defenders of the environment?” Malayao claimed. ###