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DILGâs Eduardo Año: I donât believe in EJK

“I don’t believe in EJKs. It’s not a policy of the government and we will make sure that the rights of every individual are respected and recognized,” Año, retired Armed Forces chief, said after leading his first flag-raising ceremony as DILG chief. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

DILG’s Eduardo Año: I don’t believe in EJK

Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Professing firm adherence to human rights, interior and local government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año said extrajudicial killings (EJKs) will have no place under his leadership.

“I don’t believe in EJKs. It’s not a policy of the government and we will make sure that the rights of every individual are respected and recognized,” Año, retired Armed Forces chief, said after leading his first flag-raising ceremony as DILG chief.

He also allayed fears that his presence at the DILG would “militarize” the department, which has jurisdiction over the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

“Look at the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). When I was the COS (chief of staff) and commanding general of the Army I only had one policy and it’s always the premium on human rights of every Filipino,” he said. “What they’re saying during the Marawi City crisis, so many apprehensions, but look no violation of human rights happened.”

He also vowed to work on improving the image of the PNP as some of its members have been linked to illegal drugs and EJKs.

Año said he would look into the training and values formation of the police and develop their commitment as public servants. “In totality there is one thing we’d like to develop in the minds of officials in the armed services – that we’re here to serve,” he said.

The former AFP chief said he has “big shoes” to fill, citing the huge accomplishment of his predecessor Catalino Cuy, recently named chief of the Dangerous Drugs Board.

“I acknowledge that I have big shoes to fill as my predecessor has accomplished much during his tenure, but I am up to the task, knowing that I have the support of the entire DILG workforce in doing my job,” he pointed out.

Año said he relies on the support of Team DILG in ensuring the success of President Duterte’s battle against illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, violent extremism/ terrorism and communist threats.

He said the new year should be a new beginning for the DILG, as he shared his vision of transforming the department into a “bastion of excellence” with the help of personnel.

Credited for leading the liberation of Marawi from extremists, Año said public servants should reflect on and internalize their opportunity to serve.

“This is our calling. Dapat ma-internalize sa bawat member ng armed services na mas masarap pakiramdam na gumawa ng maganda kesa matukso ka (Every member of the armed service should realize that it feels better to do something good than succumb to temptation),” Año told reporters after formally assuming his new job.

Outside DILG headquarters, human rights advocate group Hustisya yesterday denounced Año’s appointment to the helm of the DILG.

The group said Año has had a “bloody record” of human rights violations during his stint with the AFP.

“Año will be the main implementor of a more brutal campaign in the war on drugs and the arrest and crackdown of activists and progressives as part of the counter-insurgency program,” Hustisya chair Evangeline Hernandez said in a press statement.

“With Año at the helm of the DILG, the Duterte government is reinforcing the agency’s policy of pinning down civilians and ordinary Filipinos. It has not resolved the war on drugs. It continues to claim more victims,” Hernandez said.

The rights group said that instead of his appointment to the DILG, the government must hold Año accountable for the abduction and disappearance of political activist Jonas Burgos in 2007.

The group also tagged Año as behind the “massive militarization of communities and killings of lumads” in Mindanao during his term as the region’s military commander under the previous administration. – Elizabeth Marcelo

DILG EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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