CHR: No human rights violation report in Guihulngan encounter

November 11, 2014 5:29 am 

DUMAGUETE CITY, Nov. 10 -– The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday said there was no report of human rights violation during the weekend encounter between government troops and suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

CHR-Negros Oriental lone special investigator Dr. Jess Cañete said he spoke to barangay officials and residents of Mani-ac and neighboring areas on Sunday, hours after two clashes erupted in that mountain village.

Initial talks with the residents there showed that so far, nobody is complaining of human rights violations although Cañete said it is still too early to tell. His office is open in the event of complaints in the near future.

One alleged NPA rebel was killed while a Philippine Army soldier was slightly wounded during the encounters that took place in the sub-villages of Magkaatip and Nabuswangan in Barangay Mani-ac where an abandoned camp, believed to be that of the NPA, was also discovered during pursuit operations.

Soldiers of the 11th Infantry Battalion based in Guihulngan City had engaged the armed men in 20 minutes of firefight before the rebels latter fled, leaving behind their dead companion who was not identified at press time.

Pfc. Jennifer Carbajosa, the wounded soldier, was hit in the forehead but is now in stable condition.

According to Cañete, his presence was requested there to ascertain that no human rights were violated and that the operations were legitimate and that, indeed, there was an armed engagement.

This is a protocol earlier agreed by the CHR, the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the province as part of government’s campaign to promote the respect of human rights, Cañete explained.

He said he also wanted to take a look at the dead “rebel” to see if there is a high probability the man died of “combat wounds” instead of just from an ordinary shooting spree.

On the legitimacy of the encounter, initially, the residents told the CHR investigator that the encounter was legitimate, with sporadic gunfire heard from different directions.

While the residents assured there were no human rights violated, they expressed fear of more armed clashes in the coming days as they considered evacuating.

However, the CHR chief and the Army officials urged them to remain in their homes as they were assured of their safety, Cañete said.

During previous clashes between suspected NPA rebels and Army troops in central Negros Oriental a few months back, reports of alleged human rights violations and evacuations were reported, which later led to the agreement of having the CHR present during similar operations.

Soldiers recovered from the encounter site a KG-9 sub-machine gun, personal belongings, medicines, training materials and “subversive documents.

Guihulngan residents had tipped off the 11th IB of the presence of armed men at a creek during the weekend, which resulted in the encounter.

Prior to this, the barangay chairman and his wife of Tinayunan Hill in Guihulngan City was executed allegedly by suspected NPA rebels while a para-military member was also killed in Barangay Linantuyan also of that northern city. (PNA)

LAP/JFP

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