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Human rights group says chilling effect on Pres. Duterte’s shoot-to-kill order against rebels

TACLOBAN CITY- A human rights group based in the city expressed their fear on the recent declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte to shoot-to-kill any members of the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA).
Joshua Sagdullas, spokesperson of Bayan-Eastern Visayas, said that this directive has a chilling effect not only among the identified targets but even among activities and members of legal organizations.
“To say the least, we are raising the alarm for all activists, community organizers and protesters in the country in lieu of Duterte’s recent shoot to kill order,” Sagdullas said.
“Although Duterte’s exact statements were directed at the revolutionary New People’s Army, history has shown us that generic and passing statements such as these are blown out of proportion by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police and are meant to include legal organizations and activists who in recent days have been tagged as no less than conspirators to acts of terrorism,” he added.
Thus, Sagdullas said, “manhunt” could be conducted against anyone who speaks and stands against the administration of Mr. Duterte.
Last November 29, the President issued a directive to all soldiers and police personnel to shoot and kill NPA members.
The order of the President came in the light of his recent declaration to stop the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) claiming that the NPA, armed wing of the group, continue to stage ambuscades against government troops despite of the talks.
This claim, however, is being denied by the CPP-NDF leaders.
Eastern Visayas remain to have an active insurgency problem, particularly in the Samar provinces.
(JOEY A. GABIETA)

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