By Francis Wakefield
The spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom) reiterated that it adheres to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Respect of Human Rights in all aspects of military endeavor following allegation of human rights violation committed by Army soldiers against two farmers in Compostela Valley in December of last year.
In a statement, Major Ezra Balagtey reiterated the position of the Eastern Mindanao Command that it does not condone any misbehavior of its soldiers particularly on these two aspects.
Balagtey said the organization strictly implements sanction and penalty on those who violate its values.
“In this allegation, we welcome any investigation by any legitimate investigating agency and further cooperate as this will provide opportunity for our unit and personnel to answer the allegation squarely and bring closure to this issue the soonest possible time,” Balagtey said.
“We will remain steadfast in our mandate to secure the communities and prevent terrorism to rule in our people’s midst,” he added.
Captain Jerry Lamosao, 10th Infantry Division spokesman, said allegations against their troops made by some group aligned with the CPP-NPA ideology have no basis.
He said they expect more of these after the 10th ID gained ground in its campaign against the CPP-NPA terrorist group.
“As for 10th ID, we will cooperate with the legal, responsive and concerned authorities… as for the complaint, our units will cooperate also in the investigation with the PNP,” Lamosao said.
“The 10th ID remains steadfast in adhering to the provisions of respect for human rights, Rules of engagement, IHL and Rule of Law.”
“We do not tolerate our troops who are committing violations. These will be sanctioned accordingly. But as to the alleged HR violation, complainants should file it with the proper and legal authorities. We are very willing to cooperate and find out the truth behind the allegations,” he added.
In an earlier statement, human rights group Karapatan, claimed that on November 28, 2017, Janry Mensis, 22, and “Jerry”, 16, were abducted in Tagum City by elements of the police after being falsely suspected as thieves.
After the PNP Tagum cleared the two, they were turned over to the 71st IBPA and were beaten continuously for being alleged members of the NPA. They were kept in an unmoving ambulance inside the military camp for eight days and were fed for only four days.
On December 6, 2017, they were brought to a mountainous area in Compostela Valley and were thrown in a pit.