Team confirms human rights abuses by military-A A +A
Friday, May 16, 2014
A FACT-FINDING mission team composed of different progressive groups reported various human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by the military within the area-of-responsibility (AOR) of the 10th Infantry Division (10th ID) of the Philippine Army this year.
The probe team, composed of Karapatan, Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, KAMP, Gabriela Women's Party List, Kalikasan, Kilusang Mayo Uno and ACT Teachers Partylist, revealed during the press conference at the UCCP Haran in Madapo Hills, Davao City on Friday that the human rights violations occurred in some areas in Paquibato District, Davao City; Talaingod, Davao del Norte; Makilala, North Cotabato and Maco, Compostela Valley Province.
The team reported that they have recorded various human rights violation in barangays Lumiad, Pandaitan, Paradise Embac and Paquibato, noting that there were cases of threat, harassment, intimidation and physical assault.
The units allegedly involved in the violations were 69th Infantry Battalion (69th IB), 84th IB, 60th IB and the 1003rd Infantry Brigade all under 10th ID.
Cristina Palabay of Karapatan said, "We have interviewed the people in the area and some victims and they told us that the army were conducting house-to-house interviews on the civilians while they have set camp in the school in Barangay Lumiad and the barangay hall, health center and some houses in Barangay Pandaitan."
Over at Talaingod, probers revealed that the militarization in 17 communities in the area resulted in the evacuation of more than 1,000 families who fled to Davao City in March.
The team reported that in Sitio Lasakan, the schools were allegedly used for encampment while the grain mill and the indigenous church structure locally known as Panubaran were destroyed.
In Sitio Nalubas, school where the locals stashed their sacks of grains and other goods were pillaged while in Sitio Bogni, the two Panubarans there were used as military outpost.
Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers Party List said, "This is not only a violation of human rights. It is also a violation of the Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act as some victims were also children. As to the schools being used as encampment, the Department of Education should be addressed with this concern."
The team also noted that the same happened in Makilala, North Cotabato, claiming that despite the release of the Municipal Council Resolution barring the military to establish encampments within civilian communities, troopers from the 39th IB remained persistent.
The team also reported that it was able to validate the alleged aerial bombing in Magpet.
In Maco, Compostela Valley Province, the investigating team also cited that there were cases of extra-judicial killings of Lumad leaders and anti-mining activists.
Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate said, "These are condemnable acts of the government agents. That is why we are recommending more investigations of human rights violations in the congress. We will be delivering privilege speeches before the congress and since there will be a budget hearing soon, we will use these information so that the military could pay back whatever damages they have caused to the people."
Gabriela Women's Party List representative Luz Ilagan, meanwhile, re-echoed the statement of Zarate, adding that they have passed the House Resolution 1079, which calls for the investigation of the alleged militarization in Talaingod.
Palabay, on the other hand, added that they are already preparing the documents for the filing of charges against the military personnel that they accused of committing human rights violations.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 17, 2014.