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World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Philippines

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7-year-old girl killed by a soldier; residents call for military pullout in ComVal

Saturday, September 10, 2011

7-year-old girl killed by a soldier; residents call for military pullout in ComVal

“Because of military deployment in civilian communities, the lives of the children are placed in great risk.” – Children’s Rehabilitation Center

MANILA – Almost midnight of September 3, seven-year old Sunshine Jabinez was peacefully sleeping inside the house she shared with her parents when a soldier went amok, fired his gun into the air and a bullet found its way into Sunshine. Her shocked parents immediately rushed Sunshine to the Pantukan District Hospital, but the child was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in the Southern Mindanao Region said a member of the the 71st Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces identified as Private First Class (Pfc) Baltazar M. Ramos fired his armalite indiscriminately after figuring in a heated altercation with a fellow soldier. Ramos was reportedly with several others drinking that night in a videoke bar.

According to reports, the fight began when one of Ramos’ drinking companions attempted to hit him with a bottle. Ramos then allegedly took his rifle from his patrol base and went after his attacker. The other soldiers attempted to pacify him and succeeded in removing the ammunition magazine, but one bullet apparently remained in the chamber. In the struggle Ramos accidentally pulled the trigger of his rifle and his bullet flew straight into the Jabinez family’s house and hit Sunshine.

Sunshine was a second grade elementary school student at Biasong Elementary School.

“Her parents only learned that their daughter was shot when they heard her cry ‘agay’ (ouch),” said Edessa Sandra A. Campos, CRC-SMR’s advocacy officer.

Campos condemned what she said was the military’s attempts to convince the public that they are deployed in civilian communities to further peace and development programs.

Children participate in a women’s day rally. (Photo courtesy of Children’s Rehabilitation Center / bulatlat.com)
“In reality, these peace and development teams of the 10th Infantry Division are no different from the division’s Re-engineered Special Operations Teams (RSOT) which are also deployed in communities. Because of military deployment in civilian communities, the lives of the children are placed in great risk.

Sunshine was killed because soldiers were deployed near where she lived,” she said.
The children’s rights advocate also condemned how the AFP also employs children in counter-insurgency operations, including to serve as guides to track down the members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
In 2007, elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion killed Grecil Buya, a Grade 2 student of Simsimen Elementary School, in an encounter with the NPA. The military asserted that Grecil was a NPA child soldier and at the time she was killed was carrying an M-16 rifle and firing at the military. Investigations and documentation showed otherwise.

Unfortunately, the perpetrators remain unpunished,” Campos lamented..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/10/7-year-old-girl-killed-by-a-soldier-residents-call-for-military-pullout-in-comval/


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