1 Captain Rhyan Batchar

Army spokesman Capt. Rhyan Batchar during the press conference on Wednesday, April 6 in Davao City. (Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY— An 11-year old boy died after government troops fired shots in a village at Toril, Davao City on Friday, April 1.

An investigation conducted by the Army’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) revealed that the shooting incident happened at around 10:30 am at Sitio Mitundo, Barangay Baracatan was triggered as the government troops were conducting an operation against “armed lawless groups”.

Troops involved in the incident were part of the operations launched by 1003rd Infantry (Raptor) Brigade against the reported ALGs in Toril District. The BOI claims that the boy, Daniel Ferrer was with his uncle identified as Danny Pile when the incident happened.

“As the troops of 6th Scout Ranger Company were on security halt, the soldiers saw one man carrying a long firearm prompting the troops to fire shots towards them. One was able to jump for cover and run away leaving behind his firearm,” the Army said in a statement.

Pile was identified as the one who was carrying the long firearm.

Long ‘firearm’ was air gun

But the Army clarified that the reported “rifle” left by Pile turned out to be an air gun.

“Shots were fired and the area was searched where the firearm recovered was an air gun,” said 10th Infantry Division spokesperson, Captain Rhyan Batchar in a press conference held here on Wednesday, April 6.

He said that two sections of the Rangers’ Company composed of 28 persons were involved. The soldiers immediately brought the boy’s cadaver to a nearby detachment at Sitio Lawaon, Barangay Sibulan. The cadaver had been turned-over to boy’s family and was interred at the Angel Funeral Parlor in Toril District, Davao City.

Army’s apology

The army has offered their apology to the family. The BOI said that the troops figured in the incident has “failed to exercise due diligence to ascertain their target before firing their firearms contrary to the provision in (Internal Peace and Security Plan) Bayanihan (Rules of Engagement) on the Use of Force Against the Enemy which states that “identification of target must be by visual means.”

“The troops fired purely to protect themselves and secure their position from what they perceived at that time as (an) enemy threat; they did so without criminal intent,” the Army noted.

The BOI recommended the involved unit to “undergo retraining”, while “the parent unit of the troops involved to conduct a separate investigation to determine the administrative culpability of the soldiers involved.”

Batchar said the mother unit of the 6th Scout Ranger Company is the Special Operations Command (Socom) based in Luzon.

“The BOI was there to make a legal action and part of the legal action that the BOI made was the execution of desistance,” Batchar added, saying the parents of the boy signed the document of desistance.

Batchar, however, said the BOI “has already seen some culpabilities.”

“Meron pong nakitang violations talaga (violations were really seen) so more or less the soldiers will face administrative sanction.” He further said the findings of the BOI was submitted to the 10th ID Army commander Major General Rafael Valencia.

He added that the investigation of the BOI will not be prejudiced to any investigation that will be conducted by other competent authorities.

“We are welcoming other agencies who would like to conduct further investigations should there be a need… The desistance will not assure na wala pong ifa-file (The desistance will not assure that there will be no case filed),” Batchar said. (davaotoday.com)

comments powered by Disqus