AFP dares communists to prove allegations of human rights violations

May 26, 2009 2:09 pm 

MANILA, May 26 — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday challenged the communist group to prove its allegations of human rights violations against military personnel as it denounced continuing attempts by the group to destroy and weaken the government.

Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, AFP-Civil Relations Services chief, said that while there were numerous allegations of human rights violations hurled against the military, nothing has been proved by the communist group.

“We are administering and these rebels are continuously fault-finding full time. These accusations of human rights violations, disappearances, nothing has been proved. It’s all propaganda, let it be in court. Public opinion obviously is swung to their direction,” said Pangilinan.

”Every rebel group will destroy and weaken whatever resolve, whatever strength the government has,” Pangilinan also said.

Pangilinan admitted the communist group has the upper hand in terms of propaganda as he cited the government’s policy of not engaging into such activity if only to win the war against insurgency being waged by the communist armed wing New People’s Army (NPA).

”We are lacking in propaganda war but it is not the duty of the government to engage in propaganda…the best approach to this is truth and reality,” said Pangilinan.

Pangilinan, however, stressed the military has continuing program to educate, not only its ranks, but also other sectors about human rights.

”There is a lot of room for improvement on appreciation of human rights, right now our line, we tell them we will not tell you what human rights to follow and not to follow, we will tell you why you should follow human rights, the reason why we must adhere to human rights,” said Pangilinan.

During Monday’s AFP command conference on internal security operations, the military cited continuing downtrend in the strength of all groups waging war against the government, including the NPA which manpower was reduced by more than 300 fighters during the first five months of the year.

President Arroyo has given the military until next year to render insurgency problem insignificant.

Pangilinan said the military remains on track in achieving the goal of downgrading the insurgency problem into “inconsequential” level by next year.

”When we say inconsequential, we don’t expect zero insurgents but we mean they no longer pose threat to national security,” he said. (PNA) DCT/MM

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