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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, March 17, 2014
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Army claims ‘zero’ violations of
human rights in WVisayas

The strict implementation of the Internal Peace Security Plan “Bayanihan” in Negros and Panay, and adherence to the rule of law among soldiers of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division resulted in zero human rights violations in 2013, its spokesman, Maj. Rey Tiongson claimed recently, citing Commission on Human Rights records.

If the NPA Leonardo Panaligan Command is to be believed, however, the sustained and coordinated military operations of the 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades in central Negros since December last year have led to grave violations of human rights and of International Humanitarian Law, with ordinary civilians ending up as victims.

Tiongson said Army soldiers always uphold the rule of law, promote and protect human rights, and strictly adhere to the provisions of IHL as enshrined in the IPSP “Bayanihan.”

Rebel spokesman, JB Regalado said the raging military operations in the cities of Himamaylan and Kabankalan, that aimed to destroy NPA guerilla bases, failed to accomplish their objectives and instead, harmed those living in the hinterlands.

Tiongson also disputed Karapatan claims tagging the AFP personnel of being behind the killing of Romeo Capalla, brother of Davao Bishop Emeritus Antonio Capalla, on Saturday in Oton, Iloilo and dismissed it as preposterous.

He said the AFP has a strong conviction that it has nothing to hide and is open for investigation if Karapatan believes its personnel are behind the killing of Capalla.

Tiongson added that the AFP has, cooperated and will continue to do so with any investigating authority on the incident.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, said in a statement, that Capalla, a member of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, was shot in the head by an unidentified gunman, while he was assisting his mother-in-law board his vehicle, in front of the town public market.

Capalla was also a director of the nongovernmental Panay Fair Trade Center, that exports organic-certified muscovado sugar and banana chips and a member-organization of the International Federation of Alternative Trade.

Tiongson said the AFP in Western Visayas also condemned the killing of Capalla.

“This is an inhumane act and against the law, hence, this is not tolerated in the AFP”, he said.* GPB

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