DAVAO CITY — Militant women’s group, Gabriela, held a protest action on Monday in front of the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters here to call for the surrender of a military personnel charged with rape in Bukidnon.
Gabriela said it “denounce(s) the intensifying militarization in the hinterlands especially in peasant and Lumad communities.”
The group linked militarization to the various cases of violence against women and children in the countryside particularly during military encampment in communities and schools.
Malaybalay Bukidnon Municipal Trial Court issued last April 8, a resolution citing ‘probable cause’ on the rape case filed by certain “Jessa” against Pfc. Benjie Blancada of the 84th IB assigned in Bukidnon.
The 16-year old victim from Sitio Maluos, Barangay Sinuda, Kitaotao has identified Blancada as her alleged rapist in the afternoon of November 17 last year. The victim also said that she is determined to put Blancada behind bars.
The military’s previous statements last year gave assurance that they will not tolerate their troops’ wrongdoings.
In a press statement on November 29, the 10th Infantry Division Commander, Major Gen. Eduardo M. Año said he has “already ordered the concerned unit for speedy investigation of the said incident.”
Mary Ann Sapar, secretary general of Gabriela Southern Mindanao said they are challenging Eastmincom commander Major General Aurelio Baladad to take action and “surface” Blancada.
“Take him to court,” Sapar told the Army chief.
“We are not convinced that Benjie Blancada went AWOL. We are pretty sure that the AFP is coddling Blancada and other rights violators,” Sapar said.
“We are wary and enraged that cases of rape and other sexual abuses continue to rise until military men remain in the communities,” Sapar said. (davaotoday.com)