Military abuse of elderly in Malita scored

POURING WATER A military element from the 72nd IB is pictured here pouring water over the head of Kaido, an elderly farmer in Malita, Davao Occidental. Karapatan-SMR urged government units to take action and bring perpetrators to justice. (Screencap from video posted on MindaNews website)
POURING WATER A military element from the 72nd IB is pictured here pouring water over the head of Kaido, an elderly farmer in Malita, Davao Occidental. Karapatan-SMR urged government units to take action and bring perpetrators to justice. (Screencap from video posted on MindaNews website)

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.

 

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Pantukan probe confirms boy was a civilian, other military atrocities noted

RECONSTRUCTING A fellow miner recounts how Ronel Paas took cover in nearby ball-mill equipment before a bullet plunged his chest. Human rights group Karapatan-SMR claims that Paas was a small-scale miner and a civilian, contrary to the branding by the military that he was an NPA (Photo by Ilyas Rondag)
RECONSTRUCTING A fellow miner recounts how Ronel Paas took cover in nearby ball-mill equipment before a bullet plunged his chest. Human rights group Karapatan-SMR claims that Paas was a small-scale miner and a civilian, contrary to the branding by the military that he was an NPA (Photo by Ilyas Rondag)

The military is lying over the child-warrior story and is responsible for the killing of a miner in an operation in Pantukan, Compostela Valley. This was revealed by the national humanitarian mission after a two-day probe on the area.

The mission, composed of 100 participants coming from Davao, Manila and other parts of Davao Region, documented testimonies from villagers in Post Four, Barangay Napnapan accusing the 46th Infantry Battalion for the killing of small-scale miner Ronel Paas and the wounding of a 14-year old boy in the area.

“This is a clear testament that the people are resolved to bring justice will overwhelm the efforts of these military lapdogs to prevent the truth from being known,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, the lead group of the mission.

Suazo said the military covered up the incidents by claiming Paas and the boy were members of the revolutionary group New People’s Army.

She said the incident dampens the 30th EDSA People Power commemoration Thursday as ‘Martial Law’ style terror in the rural areas continue.

“It is saddening that as we commemorate the 30th year of EDSA People Power, this supposed occasion of celebrating freedom is eclipsed with denial of human rights by state forces. Militarization has only increased decades after the Martial Law, in the regime of a freedom fighter’s son,” Suazo lamented.

She said the mission uncovered the attacks against the community was due to their strong resistance against mining multinational St. Augustine Copper and Gold Ltd – Nadecor.

The group also assailed the burning of the Manobo evacuee shelter and student dormitory in UCCP Haran on Wednesday as incidents similar to Martial Law were communities come under attack.

Suazo also assailed the harassment of the military on the mission.  She said soldiers in civilian clothes were seen in the community, standing guard near houses and barangay offices.

“We were able to push through with our mission despite the glaring presence of military personnel, who were outrageously clad in civilian clothes and standing guard near civilian structures,” Suazo said.

She also condemned the harassment the mission convoy experienced going back to Davao, as they were held by three military checkpoints set up by the 46th IB, 71st IB, 57th IB and 72nd IB.

“We were held for more than five minutes at each checkpoint. We see no other motive for such checkpoints, except for the intent of the military to harass and intimidate the missioners, and further delay the finalization of the investigation. Only monsters hiding their own bloody trail would do such a thing,” Suazo claimed.

Karapatan urges the government and the next president to stop adopting the IPSP Bayanihan counterinsurgency as it drives off and attacks civilian farmers and lumads.

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