Sabi ni Mong Palatino of Kabataan:
MILITANT youth organizations yesterday said the military has "invaded" not only urban poor communities but also universities in Metro Manila.
"The deployment of troops in schools is intended to instil fear and intimidate student councils, publications and organizations that are critical of the Arroyo administration and support progressive party-list groups and organizations," said Raymond Palatino, president and nominee of the Kabataan party-list group.
The military has deployed at least 240 soldiers in 27 of the 1,965 barangays in Metro Manila. Amid objections from several sectors, the military said more barangays are requesting that soldiers be deployed.
Palatino said the Armed Forces branded youth organizations as "communist fronts." This was during a forum held Monday at the Philippine Normal University (PNU).
He said the AFP requested the PNU administration to hold the forum as "communist (youth) groups had infiltrated the school."
Palatino said the groups that were tagged as "communist fronts" were Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines and the National Union of Students of the Philippines.
He said a similar forum titled "Caravan for Peace and Unity" was held at the Philippine Christian University (PCU) last week.
Palatino said in both forums, the military presented its "Knowing Your Enemy" documentary.
IMO, any accredited Partylist groups must be able to campaign freely without intimidation from Military.
Napansin rin ito ni MLQ3:
Certainly, as today’s Inquirer editorial and the Manila Times editorial point out, if the military has been active in squatter colonies since November, it has to be asked if this is a really valid counterinsurgency effort, since it involves frightening people into not voting a certain way. It seems the government is alarmed by the strength in the surveys of radical party list groups. The question is whether the armed forces have any business telling voters -at the point of a gun- whom to vote for, when they are supposed to be neutral during elections.
I wouldn't be surprised too if the admin will use the same tactics to intimidate voters into voting vs. other Opposition and anti-arroyo candidates. Umpisa pa lang, gagohan na ano?
From Ernie Maceda:
Officers of the Philippine Army have started to conduct seminars not only in 27 barangays of Metro Manila but also in universities and colleges. That’s a big mistake because there are now hundreds of student-witnesses and videotapes of the officers campaigning against Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis and other militant party-list groups.
What is reprehensible about this is the misuse of the officers and soldiers in an urban area such as Metro Manila. Recall that when GMA declared an all-out war against the NPA, they recalled 1,500 officers and men from Mindanao and reassigned them to the Southern Luzon Command to fight the NPAs from Southern Tagalog to Bicol provinces. The Defense Secretary Nonong Cruz announced they were training an additional 1,500 men to complete the augmentation force for the Southern Luzon anti-insurgency campaign.
Now, they are using three battalions in Metro Manila to give lectures against the NPAs and its front organizations. They should be sent to the Bondoc Peninsula, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon as well as Mindoro and go after the NPA regulars. They are wasting their time in Metro Manila.
With Mayors Lito Atienza and Sonny Belmonte not complaining, that’s an admission that they have peace and order problem in their cities.