DAVAO CITY—Human rights group Karapatan lambasted a military general for “sowing Palparan-style terror” in Kapalong town.
Over the weekend, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, in an emailed statement, said that human rights violations in Mindanao continue to rise even with the incarceration of what they call the “Butcher,” military retired general Jovito Palparan.
“Gen. Palparan may be in jail, but his trained dogs, Brig. Gen. Ricardo Visaya and Gen. Eduardo Año are sowing terror in Mindanao,” Palabay said.
Karapatan blamed 10th ID’s Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año of “hamletting” a village in Kapalong town, Davao del Norte.
Ret. Gen. Palparan was linked to various abuses allegedly committed by the military in the course of its counter-insurgency operations in Luzon and Visayas.
According to Karapatan, “hamletting” is the practice of placing a community in direct and strict military control. This includes, among others, imposition of curfew hours, listing of names per household, controlling the mobility of people in and out of the ‘hamlet’.
Karapatan said government forces allegedly encamped a public school and a church in Sitio Kapatagan, Brgy. Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte last July 18.
Elements of the 60th IB ransacked the house of Purok leader Mario Liban and took his stock of rice. The incident came after the New People’s Army released its prisoner of war Col. Rogelio Rosales in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, according to Karapatan.
The human rights group said that on July 20, additional 40 soldiers of the 60th IB arrived in Sitio Mangkay in Kapalong. “Helicopters landing on the fields to deliver supplies for the soldiers ruined the crops of the farmers. The soldiers harassed the tribal chief Datu Herminio Suminggil by forcing him to tell where the NPA fighters are.”
“The 60th IB arrested the couple Jerry and Tata Antonio in Sitio Mangkay and forced them to admit that they were involved in the NPA’s capture of Col. Rogelio Rosales,” Palabay said.
“The soldiers imposed curfew hours, allowing residents to get out of the community from 7a.m. to 11am only. This restrained the farmers to tend their fields, disrupting their livelihood.” Palabay added.
Karapatan reported that another incident took place on July 29 where government forces belonging to 60th IB “ordered the residents of Sitio Kapatagan to line up and threatened to strafe them as retaliation to the NPA.”
On the same day, Karapatan said, “soldiers used the children of the villages of Mangkay and Kapatagan as guides in their operation. Because of fear, the children agreed go with the soldiers.”
Local Karapatan organizers and advocates held an indignation rally last week to demand for a military pull-out.
“This activity of the LGU and AFP will not bring peace end development in the area instead it causes fear among children in going to school because of food blockade, harassment and intimidation of the Manobo communities” said Hanimay Suazo Karapatan-SMR Secretary General.
“We encountered the paramilitry group ALAMARA when their members blocked and intimidated the Fact Finding Mission Team we led last August 10-12,” Suazo said.
Karapatan-SMR reported that at least 500 Manobo children from 11 Sitios of Barangay Gupitan have been “victimized” by the military’s Peace and Development teams.
Meanwhile, Col. Harold Cabreros, commander of the Army’s 1003rd Brigade, in a phone interview, denied that military troops have committed human rights violations against the Lumads in Kapalong, saying “we [the military] don’t do that. Our presence in Kapalong is to promote peace and development in the area with the help of the local government of Kapalong.”(davaotoday.com)