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More children’s rights violation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines

By KATUNGOD-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS
March 29, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Last March 4, 2011 more than 30 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines conducted military operations in the hinterlands of Brgy. Carolina, Matuguinao, Samar. The residents of Brgy. Carolina heard gunfire for five minutes. Moments later, these soldiers burned down a house located just outside the barangay proper. Upon entering the Barangay, the soldiers forcibly summoned all the residents of the Barangay to the town plaza.

Residents who did not heed the summons were “visited” by the soldiers at their houses, and deliberately bombarded their houses with stones just for them to attend the meeting.

The soldiers even entered a house with four children inside. The children, with ages ranging from four to 12 years old, were left on their own because their father was picked up by the military to attend the town meeting. One soldier who acted as the team leader, interrogated the children. The children were asked if they have a gun. The children answered no and the team leader accused the children of lying. The eldest child then answered the team leader that if he does not believe them, he can search inside the house. That was the time that the soldiers left.

“The Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan of the AFP, on its text gives “primacy to human rights”. Does this incident show any iota of respect to human rights?” Katungod-SB-Karapatan through its Documentation Head Kathrina R. Castillo commented.

The Regional Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, Katungod-SB-Karapatan, condemns in the strongest possible terms this blatant and unforgiveable violation of children’s rights. Children are considered as “zones of peace” and at all times must be respected. This incident shows the ignorance of soldiers and the culture of disrespect and shroud of impunity arrogated by the soldiers to themselves as they obediently implement the counter-insurgency program devised by the US-Aquino III Regime.

“We call on all advocates of human rights in the Region to be one with us in condemning this disrespectful act of the military to the rights of our children. We must make effective measures to ensure the protection and the advancement of the rights of our children, as we ensure the attainment of the progressive future that we are all fighting for”, ended Castillo.