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Child rights group to BS Aquino: End atrocities, pull out military troops and respect children’s rights and welfare!

The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) hit the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over numerous human rights violations perpetrated by the elements of 60th IBPA under the command of General Eduardo Ano against civilians, especially children, in the course of military operations in Barangay Kapalong, Davao del Norte last July.

According to KARAPATAN, elements of the 60th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army have been sowing terror among the residents of the Brgy. Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte. On July 18, soldiers began to encamp in a school and a church in Sitio Kapatagan in the said barangay. “The community was also put into a hamlet wherein soldiers control the activities of the residents including the imposition of curfew hours and restraining the farmers to tend their farms. Cases of threat, harassment, destruction of property and forced surrender have also been documented,” said Jacquiline Ruiz, executive director of CRC, an organization providing psychosocial help to children victims of human rights violations.

Ruiz also cited that soldiers of the same battalion used children as guides during its operations last July 30. “The incident is very disheartening and has undoubtedly traumatized children. Children’s safety was already put into risk when soldiers occupied the community, and more so when they were used as guides during military operations,” added Ruiz.

Ruiz said that the incident has further belied the government’s claim of the improving human rights situation in the country, stressing that civilians, including children remain as direct targets of military operations under BS Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.

Since Aquino assumed presidency, CRC has documented various child rights violations committed by state forces including 18 cases of extra-judicial killings, 30 frustrated killings, 19 illegal arrests and detention, 19 cases of torture and 4 cases of rape and sexual harassment.

 

“As commander in chief of the AFP, we are demanding BS Aquino III to respect the rights and welfare of children through the immediate pull out of military troops in schools and communities and holding the military officers involved in the cases of children’s rights and human rights violations accountable. Ultimately, we demand to scrap the atrocious and deceptive Oplan Bayanihan,” Ruiz ended.###