Pansak read the petition and Phayao hold a piggy bank at the RTA HQ

Parents of crackdown victims urge military procurements halt amidst pandemic

Parents of two victims of the 2010 red-shirt crackdown have submitted a petition to the Army Commander to halt military procurement for 3 years, prohibit officers from benefitting from excessive welfare and income, and contribute more to the state’s efforts to control Covid-19 and meet the public’s needs.

Left to right: Pansak and Phayao read the petition, then submit it along with a blue piggy bank through an army officer

On 24 April, Phayao Akhad and Pansak Srithep, parents of two victims of the 2010 state-led crackdown on the Red Shirt protests, went to the Royal Thai Army Headquarters to submit a petition to army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong, calling for the military to give budget priority to Covid-19 control and relief policies. 

Pansak read out the petition, saying that the ongoing army procurements are hampering state attempts to control the pandemic and meet dire public needs at a time of no imminent military threat.

The petition calls for a 3-year halt to procurement and the return of the budget to the state to be reallocated for medical procurement and relief funds.

The petition also calls for military personnel to refrain from benefitting from excessive welfare and income, to halt needless expenditure, and to not violate the people's rights and freedoms more than necessary.

If any procurement is necessary, says the petition, the military must present its case before parliament.

The Thai military become the target for public frustration this week when it was revealed that the military was proceeding with procurements despite the government’s call for ministries to return a portion of their budget to the Treasury so that it could be reallocated toward resolving the public health crisis.

On 21 April, the Royal Thai Army (RTA) Ordnance Department published notification that it would purchase 50 Stryker armoured vehicles from the US for 4,500 million baht. Gen Apirat later postponed this but still has other 5,850m baht of procurements planned.

Army commander postpones 4,500m baht armoured car purchase

The Ministry of Defence was allocated a 2,300 billion baht budget in the 2020 fiscal year.

Source: 
https://prachatai.com/journal/2020/04/87355