Army division chief asks public to report soldiers' abuses

This is the first of three thrusts Mapagu outlined during his courtesy call on the City Council in its regular session this morning, the second being the “observance, promotion and protection of human rights” and the third as partner in peace and development.

“Never in my watch will I condone or tolerate a soldier’s misbehavior and abuses against the populace whom they have sworn to protect,” Mapagu said.

“In this light, I ask for your assistance to inform me or my staff of any soldierw ho will deviate from this norm. If found guilty, then they will be meted with appropriate sanctions as prescribed in the Articles of War,” he said, adding he does not want the image of the military tainted “because of a few hardheaded and recalcitrant soldiers who commit shenanigans in violation of our oath of office.”

Mapagu noted that only when people’s rights are protected “can they become better partners for peace and development.”

“If not, the people would always question the credibility as well as the legitimacy of our government since we cannot even protect the rights of the people,” he said.

Mapagu assured the public that each soldier “respects the right of other people, in the same way that he expects other people to respect his rights and that of his family.”

Mapagu vowed they will “extend our hands of peace to our brothers in the mountains so that they can come back to the fold of the law.”

He said eradicating insurgency cannot be attained through guns and bullets alone “but by winning the hearts and minds of the people.”

“It is in this context that we shall facilitated the delivery of essential services and the implementation of development projects in our area of responsibility by putting adequate number of troops to secure our communities, infrastructure, vital facilities and flagship projects,” Mapagu said.

Before assuming post in early February, Mapagu was Army Chief of Staff.

He said he deemed it necessary to present his thrusts and priorities as the chief of the Army’s youngest and biggest division.

The 10th ID has jurisdiction over the largest NPA fronts nationwide. (MindaNews)