DAVAO CITY – The human rights group Karapatan Southern Mindanao dares the 10th Infantry Division to punish soldiers and CAFGU members caught on video abusing an old man in Mailta, Davao Occidental.
The video, uploaded on Facebook and on MindaNews, showed an old farmer on his knees while he was being poured water on the head by people identified by MindaNews as members of the Philippine Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion.
“We condemn in highest terms this inhumane humiliation and injuries inflicted by Corporal Batolbatol and three other soldiers. Their act show the very rotten nature and disrespect of human rights by the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Karapatan SMR Secretary-General Hanimay Suazo.
Suazo added that the soldiers caught on video “are not fit to carry their uniform and arms and call themselves protectors of the people. Which also goes the same with their higher ups who deny and hide their atrocities.”
Reacting on the statement from the 10th ID spokesman that justice will be given on the matter, she stressed that “the guilty should be placed behind bars. Only when they have been relieved of their duties and served punishment will true justice be served.”
Suazo feared that the 10th ID may resort to pressure and pay off the victims’ family to keep the latter from pursuing the case.
“We remember the rape victim by the 68th Infantry Battalion in Bukidnon was given thousands of pesos just to settle their atrocity. It is a meager amount compared to the trauma and indignity she encountered in her rapists’ hands,” exclaimed Suazo.
Suazo said these incidents exposes the reality of the AFP’s peace and development programs are a sham with abuses happening.
“Contrary to its claims of peace and development under Oplan Bayanihan, it is state brutality at its worst against elderly, children, and women. The AFP does not discern or choose who they want to victimize,” she said.
Suazo also asks the local government of Malita to act and protect the victims and other farmers from the military.