“We call on the BS Aquino government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to immediately convene the GPH-NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) and immediately investigate the war crimes committed by the 41st Infantry Battalion during its military operation last Sept. 4 to 6,” Karapatan secretary general, Cristina Palabay said.
Karapatan, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance joined families of victims of war crimes in Lacub, Abra in filing complaints today at the GPH section of the JMC in Quezon City. The JMC was created in 2004 by both panels to monitor and investigate violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). CARHRIHL was signed by the GPH and NDFP in 1998.
“War is already bloody and costly as it is. That is why international humanitarian law exists—to make armed conflicts respectful to both civilians and fighters. Yet, the Armed Forces of the Philippines keeps on violating human rights and international humanitarian law,” Palabay said while citing the results of the autopsy conducted on the remains of the killed members of the New People’s Army during the Sept. 4-6 military operations in Lacub.
“Recca Monte’s skull was like a crushed eggshell; her leg bones were also crushed but sustained no gunshot wound” Palabay said. Monte, 33, an NPA fighter was one the seven NPA’s who was killed during the military operation in Lacub, Abra. “Arnold Jaramillo’s body, suffered multiple gunshot wounds with one shot in close range,” Palabay said.
“Even civilians were not spared with the soldiers’ violence,” Palabay said. Engr. Fidela Salvador of Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDis-RDs) who happens to be in Lacub doing evaluation of projects was killed during the military operations. Noel Viste, a resident of Lacub was also killed during the operations after being part of the group of civilians that was used as human shields by the soldiers.
“This is the kind of military the Philippine Government has—savages,” Palabay said. “With the worsening economic and political situation in the country, the same root causes of the armed conflict, the civil war in the Philippines will intensify. Thus, we fear more human rights violations and war crimes perpetrated by Philippine Army will also intensify,” Palabay said. “We call for both parties, the GPH and the NDFP to sit down at the negotiating table and substantially address the root causes of the civil war,” Palabay said.
“Who wouldn’t want the war to end and spare the lives of many? But if the root causes of this war continues, the poverty, puppetry, the repression, the violence and savagery, Filipinos will always find all the ways to fight back,” Palabay ended.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.