DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 May) — Two farmers from Lupon town in Davao Oriental yesterday filed complaints at the Commission on Human Rights Region XI against the 28th Infantry Battalion for alleged unlawful arrest and detention from April 12 to 29.
Marlon Villarmino and Nestor Marquita said they were accused by the military to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Nanguna ra mi ni Marlon ato sa basakan gidakop mi sa mga military wala mi kabalo unsa ang amung sala, (Marlon and I were only working in the farm when the military arrested us and we didn’t know what our crime was)” Marquita said.
He said they were threatened to be killed if they would not admit as members of the NPA.
“Gi-backstroke mi, gipugos jud mi nila, napugos na lang mi ug sulti nga mga NPA mi aron dili mi patyon, (They hit us, they forced us to admit, and we were forced to say we were NPA so that we wouldn’t be killed)” he said.
“Gi-iingnan mi nila nga tagaan daw mi ug tabang, paes-kwelahon me basta mu-sulti lang me nga NPA, (They said they would help us and send us to school if we would admit to be NPAs)” he added.
Marquita said he was released from military custody after her mother went to their headquarters.
In previous reports, Captain Alex Alod, spokesperson of the 28th Infantry Battalion said that the two voluntarily executed affidavits that they were surrendering as rebels.
The 28th Infantry Battalion, which is under the command of Lt. Col. Leoplodo Imbang, was assigned in Davao Oriental as part of the new anti-insurgency strategy called “Bayanihan”.
Col. Leonido Bongcawil of the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade said in a report in US News Las Vegas that the program intends to share the vision of peace in the community.
“It’s no more militarization. It’s no more military operations. This is so because the armed forces would see to it that our program in maintaining peace, winning the heart, serving the people should be within the context of the program of our governor and the mayors. That is the very reason why the armed forces made this plan,” Bongcawil said.
Meanwhile, Imbang said they will pursue good relationship with the community by providing a “comfortable venue for both the…elected officials and the soldiers in peace building”. (MindaNews)