A human rights group in Negros Oriental has accused the 79 th Infantry Battalion of committing human rights violations and using excessive firepower during an encounter with New People's Army rebels in Pamplona town last month.
Karapatan provincial chair Jose Luis Blanco said he considered the incident in Sitio Makasakasa, Barangay Balayong, Pamplona on April 3 a case of indiscriminate firing that resulted in damage to property, particularly to the house of Winefreda Rabor.
He said there was no need to use excessive firepower since the situation was already under the control of the Army. Residents in the area, including children, are still recovering from emotional stress, the group claimed.
Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the 302 nd Infantry Brigade, belied the claim of Karapatan, and said the NPAs were taking cover in the concrete walls of the house, and that necessary firepower was needed to flush them out after the more than one hour of negotiations for them to surrender had failed.
He added that the Army did not abandon its promise to help the Rabor family restore the damaged portion of their house.
Gov. Roel Degamo has directed the provincial social welfare office to coordinate with the 79 th IB on the repair of the house, and the availment of financial assistance from the provincial government.
The governor instructed PSWD officer Alice Lagarde to also extend burial assistance to the families of the two rebels killed during the encounter.*JG
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