Teen claims military beat him

Nov. 14, 2012

Alan said the soldiers also took the other belongings he was carrying. “They threw my shirts on the mud and trampled them. They even tore the malong (a native blanket) that I was bringing. They said it was proof that I was indeed an NPA,” Allan said.

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines An 18-year-old who alleged that elements of the 66th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army mauled him near their home in Purok 4, San Roque village in Nabunturan town, Compostela Valley province, filed a case before the Commission on Human Rights-XI (CHR) Tuesday.

In an interview with davaotoday.com, Allan and his mother Marivic (not their real names) told how it happened.

Allan said he was walking along the cornfields from their house towards a road on October 5 when he met 11 men clad in military uniform.

The men, he said, shouted at him to stop.  “They were accusing that I am an NPA (New People’s Army) and I am a commander,” Allan said.

He said one of the soldiers immediately approached him from the back and hit his nape with the butt of his firearm.

“They asked me why I brought fish and if I were to give it to the NPAs.  I answered it was for my younger siblings but they did not listen and instead forced me to drop on the ground,” Allan said.

The soldiers allegedly asked him where he came from and when he answered Mambing (a village in New Corella, Davao del Norte), they pointed an M203 on his head.

The soldiers, he said, even drew suspicion why he was carrying a speaker believing that this will be given to the NPAs.

Alan said the soldiers also took the other belongings he was carrying.  “They threw my shirts on the mud and trampled them.  They even tore the malong (a native blanket) that I was bringing.  They said it was proof that I was indeed an NPA,” Allan said.

The soldiers, he continued, beat him up and hit him with the muzzle of their guns.  “I couldn’t do anything.  I did not also run for fear,” Allan said.

The home of Allan is just about a kilometer uphill from where he met the soldiers.  He called out for her mother who ran towards where they were, pleading the soldiers to stop the beating.

“She embraced me as she was telling the soldiers to stop,” adding that it was only when other members of the family came out that the soldiers ran away, mocking him.

“I was already crying.  They called me a gay, making it appear that we were just having fun,” said Allan.

Allan recognized two of the men as members of the Citizen’s Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu), an adjunct of the military.

He identified one Cafgu member as a certain “William Evangelista,” from nearby San Isidro village, also in Nabunturan town.

He recognized Evangelista because both of them used to work together as abanteros (miners) in Bugac, a village in Nabunturan.

The incident not only caused physical harm on Allan but psychological trauma as well.

“I am still in shock.  I have recurring fevers for one week now because of the beating.  I couldn’t eat or sleep whenever I remember what they did to me,” Allan said.

In a press release, the 66th Infantry Battalion said that the filing of the case is “another cheap and desperate attempt to discredit the ongoing peace and development efforts of the government troops in Brgy. San Isidro, Nabunturan.”

In the same press release, the 66th IB said they have already constricted the NPAs in the area, citing this as the reason behind the human rights violations hurled against their troops.

The 66th IB even boasted of dealing blows to the “Front 33 of the New People’s Army SMRC” where they claimed the latter “suffered another debacle when they lost three high powered firearms in an encounter with government troops at Brgy. Mambing, New Corella, Davao del Norte.”

The army also said that in a meeting with village official, the victims demanded 3,000 pesos (USD 72.73) to pay for damages which they said they did not pay because they “did not commit any of the allegations.”

Meanwhile, Allan’s mother, Marivic decried the soldiers’ denial of the incident in the said meeting.  “They were even saying that perhaps it was Allan himself who tore his malong.  It’s ridiculous,” said Marivic.

Allan meanwhile says they have no reason to make-up stories, adding that they would not have gone that far in filing a case before the CHR if they were just inventing the story, as alleged by the military.

The alliance of human rights advocates, Karapatan in Southern Mindanao Region, has condemned the latest atrocity committed by members of the armed forces against civilians in the course of their counter-insurgency, Oplan Bayanihan, program.

“Mauling hapless civilians like what happened to Allan is proof that the military is saying one thing but doing another,” Pastor Jurie Jaime, Spokesperson Karapatan-SMR said.

Jaime reiterated that the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl) is clear on the protection of civilians.

Carhrihl, the first agreement signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in the peace negotiations, necessitates the application of principles of human rights and international humanitarian law in the face of armed conflict.

But Jaime said the military is clearly doing otherwise.

In fact, he said, the recent resolution of the Davao City Council requiring the military to pull out their detachments from civilian structures has added up to the military’s record of civilian abuses.

The City Council of Davao passed the resolution after finding out that the military had used village halls and public buildings in some areas in Davao City’s Paquibato District as their detachments.

The CHR has assured they will act on the complaint based on the affidavits filed by the victims in their office.  (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)

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