Soldiers attend human rights training

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/30 June) – Some 100 soldiers took time out from their field duties to attend a training on human rights in Makilala town in North Cotabato.

The soldiers belong to the 57th Infantry Battalion and special forces units, most of them assigned in areas considered highly-influenced by the New People’s Army.

Lt. Col. Noel dela Cruz, commander of the 57th IB, said they requested the training from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region 12 to update them on laws, agreements, and other state policies on human rights.

“This is an opportunity where our soldiers are taught on basic human rights.    This is part of our continuing education, especially on how soldiers should deal with the people in the community.   This is very important.   We should know as to when and how human rights are violated,” said dela Cruz.

The training held on Friday inside the 57th IB headquarters also taught soldiers on basic economic and political rights.

They also learned about the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), according to dela Cruz.

CARHRIHL was the first agreement entered into by the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in line with their on-and-off peace talks.

Dela Cruz claimed that their efforts to educate the soldiers on human rights, IHL, and the rule of Law paid off with zero human rights violations in the past months. He added he won’t tolerate human rights violations by his soldiers.

Atty. Cristina Hawtay-Jovero, regional director of CHR-12, said the training was in line with their project to protect internally displaced persons or evacuees, which is supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

CHR-12 also trained barangay workers, teachers, and other participants in Makilala last June 27 on human rights, IHL, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

The participants came from conflict-affected areas of Makilala. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)