City Council tells AFP to leave schools, barangay halls

Nov. 11, 2012

The recent moves of the Council, Librado-Yap said, would serve civilians “who want the soldiers to leave their communities because they can protect themselves.” 

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The City Council here passed resolutions at a special session held Friday telling the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to move its military detachments “away from all village halls and public buildings in the entire City.”

These came after reports reached the attention of some city councilors that village halls, gymnasiums and schools are being used by the military as their detachments, particularly in Paquibato District.

The councilors who passed the resolutions are First District Councilor Leah Librado-Yap and Second District Councilor Jimmy Dureza.

Librado-Yap’s resolution filed last October 20, but which failed to get the Council’s nod at first due to lack of quorum, sought to clear civilian structures of military occupation in three areas in Davao City’s Paquibato District namely in Barangay Lumiad, Mabuhay and Pandaitan.

Librado-Yap was acting on a report relayed to her by Dureza about military encampment of a village hall in Paquibato that disrupted village officials’ functions.

The coverage of Librado-Yap’s resolution was also expanded to include public buildings and similar civilian structures in the entire city as off limits to military use as proposed in a corollary resolution filed by Dureza last Friday.

Councilor Karlos Bello moved to include a phrase to Dureza’s resolution which stresses that “all buildings should be used based on the purpose they were built.”

The recent moves of the Council, Librado-Yap said, would serve civilians “who want the soldiers to leave their communities because they can protect themselves.”

“The AFP soldiers should undergo orientation on Carhrihl (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) and should impose discipline among their ranks especially in treating civilians,” Librado-Yap told

Carhrihl is the first agreement signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines among the substantive agenda for the peace negotiations.  One of its provisions states that military camps are prohibited within civilian population as well as the use of public facilities.

But in its 2012 midyear report or from January to June, human rights alliance Karapatan recorded that the use of public places and civilian facilities by the AFP troops victimized 859 individuals across Southern Mindanao region.

Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Neri Colmenares said that encamping in public facilities is in “violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).”

Colmenares, who was here for the two-day Congressional Inquiry on human rights abuses in Mindanao last November 8 and 9, said that the AFP is clearly aware of such law because they invoked it when four unarmed military personnel in Paquibato were killed by the New People’s Army.

He also shared that during their onsite hearing in Cebu, “The armed forces admitted that it’s wrong for troops to encamp in public buildings where civilians can be collateral damage.”  (John Rizle L. Saligumba/

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