The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division said yesterday that the findings of the Commission on Human Rights that shows that the Philippine Army in Negros Occidental posted a zero record in human rights violations in the first five months of 2012, should be respected.
Maj. Enrico Gil Ileto, Army regional spokesman, said that while we respect the sentiments of Karapatan-Negros and its allied organizations in questioning the CHR records, it should be respected and considered.
The Philippine Army also recorded zero complaint on human rights abuses last year, CHR records also showed and was attributed by Romeo Baldevarona, its provincial chief, to the human rights awareness programs being incorporated in the training of soldiers.
Militant groups in Negros Occidental slammed the CHR report, and said it ignored the continuing human rights abuses allegedly committed by government forces in the province. It cited the involvement of two Army soldiers in the killing of activist Benjie Bayles in Himamaylan City, among others.
Inspite of the CHR-Negros reports, Ileto said “We are with Karapatan and other independent organizations in the quest for justice.”
Ileto stressed that they are more than willing to cooperate with Karapatan, but encouraged them to present evidences to back their accusations against any member of the Philippine Army. He also assured them of immediate probes of their claims.
Ileto added it is embodied in their Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan that, as protectors of the people, they must always promote the protection of Human Rights and the adherence to the International Humanitarian Law. This is why they are continuously strengthening their Human Rights Office which has been replicated down to battalion level to address human rights issues and concerns.*GPB