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Senate, Police reports on Mamasapano downplay civilian casualties — Karapatan

“The reports of both the PNP Board of Inquiry and the Senate on the Mamasapano carnage side-tracked the seven civilian casualties during the Mamasapano carnage and the hundreds of residents who were displaced during the operation. They, too, were victims of the US-Aquino’s botched Oplan Wolverine/Exodus. They, too, should figure in in BS Aquino’s accountability,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

From the initial 1,500 residents who fled their homes in the aftermath of the Mamasapano botched operation, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART) now counts at least 72,585 persons displaced from the 11 municipalities where Aquino’s follow-up operations, tagged as all-out war, is going on since February 25. Most of them left their homes and are now cramped in evacuation centers — sick, hungry, and traumatized.

The findings of the peace mission conducted by the People’s Council for National Unity, Reforms and Peace (PCNURP) said a 42 year old, 3-month pregnant mother with 10 children “expressed uncertainty of life if the war continues.” The woman said “one of her children collapsed in the middle of the volley of fires because of fear and could not talk anymore.”

Boyong Unggala, a 36-year-old farmer from Barangay Madia, was hit by a stray bullet on his forehead while sitting in the balcony. The military strafed the house where he was temporarily staying. Farhannah Abdulkahar, 25, and a resident of Brgy. Dapiawan, Datu Saudi, also evacuated when their houses was indiscriminately fired. Her left leg was hit by stray bullet.

“For almost two months now, the residents in Mamasapano and the neighboring communities are on the run to save their lives as the military bombarded their communities. But their condition in the evacuation centers is not much different,” said Palabay. She cited the peace mission’s report that even those who participated in the peace mission at Brgy. Dapiawan experienced the “gun fires and loud explosions from mortar shelling” on March 11.

“Another team assigned in Brgy. Madia was alarmed when during the psychosocial activity for children and adults and documentation, three 6×6 trucks loaded with elements of the 8th Mechanized Battalion and two military tanks arrived in an open space beside the barangay hall near the evacuation center and without any notice to the civilians and barangay officials present in the area, immediately mounted two 81mm mortars,” the peace mission report stated.

Palabay said, “Aquino’s all-out war should be immediately stopped. It is nothing but a diversionary and face-saving tactic and does not help in ferreting out the truth on the Mamasapano fiasco. It has only added up to Aquino’s dismal human rights record as numerous human rights violations were documented by the peace mission.”

Among those documented cases include forced evacuation and divestment of properties due to indiscriminate firing, shelling of mortar (81mm & 105mm howitzer) and aerial bombing by OV10 Bronco planes; destruction of properties; frustrated extra judicial killings; harassment and intimidation of civilians; military encampment in public and religious structures. The military operation has also disrupted the classes of pupils and students in the communities.

The peace mission was held on March 10-13 through the initiative of the Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib Moro Human Rights Alliance with the findings of the People’s Council for National Unity, Reforms and Peace (PCNURP).

Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
Secretary General

Angge Santos
Media Liaison

[email protected]

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Floor 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.

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