MANILA, Philippines – New cases of forced and fake surrenderees in Mindanao and death of a child due as a result of military operations were recently documented by an International Fact-Finding and Solidarity Mission (IFFSM) and the Commission on Human Rights.
“These cases are very alarming especially that it involved children,” Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, one of the Mission delegates said.
She added that “(N)ot only are they illegally being recorded and posed as NPA rebels, some are tortured and are turned into guides to locate alleged rebel camps.”
She said they recorded three new cases including that of an 18-year-old victim.
“The victims were apprehended by the 88th Infantry Battalion in a checkpoint for carrying a camouflaged hammock. They said that they bought it from a CAFGU for Php1,000 but they were accused of being NPA members,” said Brosas.
“They are miners and they bring hammocks to the mine site to rest in, but the military did not believe them. The military told them to dig their own grave if they will not admit that they are NPA members. They were detained and tied to the security post until a military vehicle came,” she narrated.
“The victims were interrogated by the military in civilian clothing while kicking and punching them in the neck, back, and other parts of their body. The military even threatened to stab them with a knife. As if the barbarity was not enough, the military covered their heads with plastic bags and was dunked in a drum of water. And these horrors happened repeatedly for days,” Brosas added.
She also cited the infant killings in Kalamansig town, Sultan Kudarat and in Liangga, Surigao del Sur.
She said two-year old Joshua Gantangan in Lianga suffered from trauma and stress due to the intense militarisation in the area.
“The atrocities and savagery of the state and its forces know no age,” Brosas said.
The fact-finding mission with CHR also recorded a case of a death of an 8-month old child in Liangga.
“The child suffered from a weak heart worsened by stress and trauma by consistent harassment and threats of military forces in their community. The parents of the child are farmers and are under surveillance by the AFP. Their house is watched daily by the military in full battle gear,” said Brosas.
The partylist solon said she will file a House resolution to investigate human rights violations perpetrated by state forces.
The lawmaker said that since the declaration of martial law in Mindanao the country is in humanitarian crisis.
“The harassment and militarisation of Lumad communities have to stop, and it has to stop now. It should start with the pulling out of military forces in communities and the lifting of martial law in Mindanao,” Brosas said.
The women’s partylist solon said forcing and coercing people to pose as NPA will not answer the decades-long armed struggle in the country.
“On the 20th year of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL), it is ironic that such brutal cases of disrespect for human lives and dignity are experienced by the Mindanaon people under a Mindanaon President,” Brosas said.
“Duterte should keep his dogs on a tight leash and abide by the rules agreed upon by GRP and NDFP under CAHRIHL,” said Brosas.
“If the Duterte administration is serious in bringing peace and harmony in Mindanao, GRP should go back to the negotiating panel and discuss and address the roots of armed conflict through comprehensive agreements on social, economic, and political reforms in order to lay the basis for just and lasting peace,” Brosas added. (davaotoday.com)