Military ‘forced’ residents to sign inspection waiver

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

THE barangay captain of Lumiad in Paquibato District sought Tuesday the help of the City Council after the 69th Infantry Battalion (IB) under the 10th Infantry Division (ID) allegedly forced the residents to sign a document that certified them to have an involvement with the New People's Army (NPA).

Speaking before the members of the council during its privilege hour, Barangay Lumiad chief Celso Bughaw said 69th IB troops "forced" his constituents in three puroks to sign a certification, "voluntarily submitting themselves to clear their names in the list of active NPA members/supporters/sympathizer."

He said more than a hundred of his constituents already inked the document until one of his kagawads reported the action done by the military.


Bughaw claimed his kagawad was even "forced" to sign the paper and was subjected to a body check.

"The military failed to inform me about this. That's why I wonder why they did this to my constituents," he said, adding that this happened during the last week of February.

Second district Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said the complaint of Bughaw demands an investigation from the body.

"We need to fast track the investigation on this. This will serve as a lesson to the military to stop it," Dayanghirang said during the privilege hour.

First district Councilor Leah Librado-Yap, meanwhile, said the complaint is "not new" anymore since several complaints against the military were already lodged before the City Council.

She recalled the case of Barangay Paradise Embac, also in Paquibato District, where military troops were urged to move their encampment away from a school.

"I am amenable to the suggestion of Councilor Dayanghirang to talk to the people of Lumiad who are being subjected to several abuses (perpetrated by the military)," Librado-Yap said.

Meanwhile, 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Ernest Carolina said there was no intention from the 69th IB to coerce anybody to sign a document.

He said the certification clearly states that anyone who gave his/her testimonies and signed it was "treated well and was not forced to answer any questions against his/her will" and no physical contact was made against them.

"Yung hawak-hawak ni barangay captain na document an blangko, hindi para sa mga residente but para sa isang former NPA talaga na kusang nag surrender. It's a different document," Carolina told Sun.Star Davao in a phone interview.

Carolina said they will also investigate as to how and why the document circulated in three puroks.

"That's something for us to verify. We will look into kung sino ang nagsasabi ng totoo. We are also going to require the 69th IB explain kung may violation nga ba sa part nila. We have to look at both sides of the coin," he said. (ANC)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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