DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Militant farmer's group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Southern Mindanao Region, lambasted Thursday the 10th Infantry Battalion after army officials denied human rights abuses committed by soldiers from the 3rd Special forces against residents of Paquibato District in Davao City.
“We are holding copies of affidavits sworn in by at least six victims of physical injuries, harassment, grave threats and intimidation committed by the military since January this year.
The military is blatantly lying to the public about its crimes against the people. While it tries to save face, the people, the victims themselves are speaking up, demanding justice over the crimes committed against them” Tony Salubre, KMP - SMR Spokerperson said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
Salubre said of the victims who approached the help of farmer and human rights groups, four members of the Paquibato District Peasant Alliance (PADIPA) have been subject to physical injuries on January 27 this year while the 10th ID was holding a massive military operation. The victims are residents of Sitio 5 in the village of Mapula.
On a separate incident on January 29, three residents from the villages of Panialum and Paquibato, including a local church leader, were similarly mauled by unidentified elements from the same military unit.
Salubre stressed that no less than Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, himself, chided the military and asked them to leave the area for mauling residents of Panilaum. He said that after the condemnation of the abuses by the local government and rights groups, human rights abuses in the area even worsened.
KMP said that residents of Paquibato complained in writing that on February 7, one resident was subject to strafing by elements of the military while on February 12, two farmers were then again mauled.
“There is no justification for the military's crimes committed against civilians. The military must be held accountable for the cycle of abuses, white washing and escapism that they implement as part of their bloody counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya 2 of which civilians are mainly targeted,” Salubre said.
KMP calls for the Commission on Human Rights and the Davao City local government to hold an immediate investigation of the victims' complaints, challenging the two agencies to act on the long acute problem of “denial of justice” for victims of human rights violations committed by the Philippine Armed Forces.