Militant farmers cry vs human rights violations

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Monday, December 9, 2013

SOME farmers from the hinterland of Barangay Avocado in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental complained of human rights violations allegedly committed by government troops.

In a press conference held at the Promotion for Church Peoples Response (PCPR) office in Dumaguete City Monday morning, Diony Cabugnason said he and his co-farmers were harassed by soldiers belonging to the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Farmers cry human rights violations
DUMAGUETE. Some farmers, together with some militant officials, posed with their placards in a press conference Monday morning in connection with the International Human Rights Day celebration Tuesday. (Victor L. Camion)

Cabugnason, vice president of the Project Committee Management, said the troops conducted house-to-house and combat operations that disturb them.

He also said that the troops forced them to show a certain Jimlan Dela Cruz, among other names who are believed to be leaders of the rebel group New Peoples' Army (NPA).

He said that they were also accused of supporting the NPA.

Cabugnason clarified, however, that they were not mauled by the soldiers.

Another farmer, Ricardo Cadayday, also from Avocado village in Sta. Catalina, appealed to Governor Roel Degamo to help them by driving out the military detachment in the area so that they can live without fear.

Cadayday said that residents in the village are apprehensive of the possible encounter between the military and the NPA group if the detachment will remain in the area.

He admitted that they know some of the NPA members because the rebels ask them food and water sometimes. He said the farmers normally give food and water to the rebel group, as well as to the military troops.

Carlos Solano, president of the Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros, echoed the farmers? sentiments, saying human rights violations will not stop unless the military detachment is removed from the area.

For him, harassing the farmers and forcing them to admit that they are NPA supporters is in violation of their human rights.

Bayan Negros Oriental Secretary General Favian Magallanes agreed, as he appealed to the government to drive out the troopers from the hinterland area to also stop the human rights violations.

Asked for comment, however, 302nd Infantry Brigade Deputy Commander Colonel Christopher Estela refused to confirm the allegations, but assured they will conduct investigation.

Estela urged the media to get the side of the 79th Infantry Battalion, but Lieutenant Colonel Marion Sison of the said battalion failed to answer queries sent to him through text messages.

Local news

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