AFP, number one IHL violator

This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

Consecutive cases of human rights violations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were recorded in Masbate, Isabela, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Sultan Kudarat over the past weeks. These were committed while the International Day of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) was being commemorated on August 12.

These cases add to the 954 violations by the Marcos Jr regime during its first year in power.

In Sultan Kudarat, the 37th IB killed Rowe Jhon Libot, a Lumad school volunteer teacher, on July 27 in Kalamansig town. Human rights groups are seeking an investigation into the killing of Libot which they consider as a violation of international humanitarian law and of rules of war applicable in armed conflict areas.

In Masbate, the 96th IB and 2nd IB on August 5 arrested farmers Nonoy and Bongbong Francisco, and Ome Malaque between Barangays Bonifacio and Simawa in Uson.

Dante Dionan was also arrested and mauled by soldiers in the same place on August 6. Letot Francisco’s house in Malapinggan, Barangay Sawmill, Mobo was ransacked and looted. On August 7, a yet unnamed civilian was riddled with bullets in Sitio Irong-irong at the boundary of barangays Mabuhay, Sawmill and Baang in Mobo town.

In Isabela, soldiers threatened and interrogated Ka Reolita Rivera, an elderly peasant leader, in Angadnan town on August 8. Rivera’s local association is in partnership with Danggayan Cagayan Valley, a regional association of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

In Negros Occidental, the 94th IB illegally arrested 60-year-old farmer Romeo Balsimo in Sitio Cunalom, Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City on August 7. He is being implicated in an NPA armed action in 2020 in a nearby area. In the last week of July, soldiers also manhandled his son Nono Balsimo.

In Negros Oriental, soldiers of the 62nd IB have been encamped in an elementary school in Sitio Agulang, Barangay Villegas, Guihulngan City since August 3. Elements of the CAFGU have also occupied the Kaimbaran Elementary School in Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City since August 5. Homes of residents are being relentlessly combed by soldiers.

Meanwhile, unidentified individuals repeatedly fired shots outside the house of peasant leader Alvin Dimaracut in Tarlac on August 6. Dimaracut is the new chairman of Makisama-Tinang, an organization demanding the immediate distribution of land in Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac to land reform beneficiaries.

AFP, number one IHL violator