DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Army denied the human rights group’s report that government troops were involved in the shooting incident of a farmer’s family in Mabini town Compostela Valley Province last Thursday.
Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, refuted the report made by the Karapatan Alliance for Human Rights which accused the military for indiscriminately firing at Arado’s residence in Kidaraan, Barangay Anitapan in Mabini last July 13.
Batchar said based on the report of the 46th Infantry Battalion the shooting incident by still unidentified gunmen happened around 7:30 pm.
The incident resulted to the death of Carolina Arado, 56 and wounded four other family members namely Charlito Arado, 59, husband of Carolina; Analisa Arado, 30, daughter-in-law of Carolina; and the two minors Arjun Arado, 12 and Junior Arado, 8, Batchar said.
Jay Apiag, spokesperson of Karapatan Southern Mindanao said Carolina is a member of Hugpong sa Mag-uuma sa Mabini (Humabin).
Apiag said Carolina is the sixth victim of extrajudicial killing in the region since Martial Law was implemented in Mindanao.
The Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns said Saturday they believe the victims were targeted by the military “due to their vocal opposition against the human rights violations committed by the military elements as well as the mining activities in the area.”
“The AFP is using the Martial law to harass and intimidate peasant and IP communities especially the leaders of progressive organizations in Mindanao. Martial law only proves human rights situation got worse with additional police power of the AFP and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus,” said Eule Rico Bonganay, Salinlahi Secretary General in a statement.
Batchhar said the troops of 46th IB “responded first at the said incident, facilitated the giving of first aid to the wounded while providing assitance to the purok leader for the immediate evacuation of the victims to the hospital.”
“We are strictly implementing observance of Human Rights (HR) and the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the rule of law,” Batchar added.
He said targeting civilians are not part of their operations.
He also challenged Karapatan to file charges against our soldiers to the courts of justice.
“We assure them of our full cooperation on any investigations that shall be undertaken by duly instituted authorities as a way of ensuring professionalism in our ranks,” he said.(davaotoday.com)