The Armed Forces of the Philippines claims that it has not committed a single human rights violation during the year, but human rights and people’s organizations, as well as victims and their relatives in Southern Tagalog say it is even getting worse.
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Karapatan Southern Tagalog is determined to do its share in exposing what it said are the lies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when in comes to human rights. In a series of activities this May, the group denounced the AFP as “an institution swimming in the blood of victims of human rights violations in Southern Tagalog and the rest of the Philippines.”
Last May 14, AFP officials were quoted in an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer saying that the AFP has a clean human rights slate from January to April this year and all other human rights violations cases filed at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) from July 2010 are mere accusations.
In an article written by Inquirer reporter Dona Pazzibugan, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Human Rights Office (AFPHRO) said, “No soldier has been accused of human rights violations this year.”
In the same report, the AFPHRO said 84 cases of alleged human rights abuses were filed against military personnel at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) since July 2010 when the Aquino administration took over. All of these complaints, however, were considered by the AFPHRO as “not having a leg to stand on based on its internal investigation.”
“The findings of the BOI revealed that all of the human rights violation cases tagging military personnel were only accusations and did not produce sufficient evidence against soldiers,” Pazzibugan quoted AFPHRO chief Colonel Domingo Tutaan as saying.
The official said the AFP’s clean human rights slate from January to April showed that its advocacy to educate and train soldiers to uphold human rights and international humanitarian law on warfare was working.
“The AFPHRO was very active in teaching soldiers in garrisons and in the field about human rights, international humanitarian law and pertinent laws such as the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 7438) and the rights of arrested or detained persons as well as the duties of arresting, detaining and investigating officers,” he said.
Karapatan-ST secretary-general Glendhyl Malabanan immediately reacted saying that for the AFP to make such a claim was ludicrous.
“The AFP should stop spreading its lies. Currently, there are an estimated eight battalions of the army, police and Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) stationed in 22 towns and 50 barangays in the southern part of Quezon,” she said. She pointed out that a such a high concentration of military forces in rural communities automatically translates to an escalation of human rights violations,” she said.
(Photo courtesy of ST Exposure / bulatlat.com)
Malabanan explained that Quezon, specifically South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula, can be considered as center of agricultural production where products such as coconut, corn, and grains abound..... MORE