Rebels indemnification ‘not enough’-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
AN OFFICIAL of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Davao Region said on Friday that the indemnification given by the New People's Army (NPA) to victims of the grenade explosion in Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District is not enough.
"Ang kantidad mura lang ug isa ka lechon (The amount is just equivalent to a piece of lechon)," lawyer Alberto Sipaco, CHR regional director, said in an interview aired over local radio dxAB.
But Sipaco failed to suggest an exact amount, which he thinks will best suffice the damage inflicted to 50 civilians injured in the grenade explosion owned by communist rebels.
The National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA), on Wednesday handed out P5,000 to each of the 50 victims as "compensation" over injuries they sustained in the September 1 grenade attack.
Sipaco said the incident was a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl).
Major Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division's Civil Military Operation Battalion (CMOBN), on Thursday also said the move of the NPA to pay the victims is one of its "reclined tactics" to introduce itself as pro-people and skip the public's wrath against them for perpetrating the attack on civilians.
He said the compensation will "never pay-off" the trauma and fear of the victims and other residents in Paquibato.
Obligado, like Sipaco, also compared the amount to one lechon and a sack of rice.
"Their (NDF-NPA) indemnification is nothing but an insult to the 50 victims. P5,000? That is only comparable to one lechon baboy and a sack of rice. And another thing, where did they get the money?" Obligado said.
Bishop Modesto Villasanta, convenor of the Exodus for Justice and Peace and the Third Party Facilitator, earlier said the cash assistance will serve as "indemnification" for the damage caused by the grenade blast.
Aside from the cash assistance for the victims, Villasanta said, the victims were also assessed by the medical and psychosocial teams of facilitators to check on their health conditions.
The NPA First Pulang Bagani Company earlier claimed responsibility for the incident.
In a press statement released on September 7, Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson for the NPA's Merardo Arce Command, said they are "standing firm for justice and truth and that their organization will conduct a disciplinary action on their members who were behind the incident."
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 22, 2012.