Davao City councilor urges military to relocate posts in Paquibato

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 October) — Councilor Leah Librado-Yap proposed Tuesday a resolution urging the military to relocate their posts in Paquibato District here.

In a privilege speech at the regular session of the city council, Librado-Yap said that Councilor Jimmy Dureza told her that public buildings in the villages of Lumiad, Mabuhay and Pandaitan in Paquibato are being used as military posts.

Dureza said he saw for himself that barangay halls, including a daycare center in Pandaitan, are being occupied by the military during his visit in the area last October 20.

He clarified that he does not object the military presence, but he said they should be relocated far from populated areas to avoid endangering the lives of civilians.

The draft resolution urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines to relocate military detachments in Paquibato District, particularly those set up in barangay halls and all other public buildings in the three villages and for the military to refrain from using public structures as posts.

“The military has been forewarned against encampment and future attempts to set up military detachments or similar structures near schools and communities,” it said.

Mayor Sara Duterte earlier said that Lt. Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 69th Infantry Battalion, has been told several times to instruct his men to set their posts up away from populated areas.

The draft resolution stressed that the situation in the said villages of Paquibato is cause for alarm as the mere presence of armed men in uniform threatens and even endangers the lives of many people.

It added: “The situation is equally disturbing for non-residents knowing the danger that detachments pose to the communities should hostilities take place.”

Asked about what may happen should the city council approve the resolution, Duterte said Tuesday in a text message that a resolution is just an expression of a general sentiment. “It is not a law that is enforceable.”

She added: “My interest is why they single out Paquibato, when the entire Davao City is already occupied by military units. TFD (Task Force Davao) is embedded right here in the urban areas, why not call for a pullout for the entire city. (It) Makes their call suspicious.”

“We will abide with the resolution of the council,” Pasaporte said Tuesday in a text message.

Last month, at least 48 civilians were wounded when a grenade apparently meant for soldiers manning a detachment in Barangay Fatima, Paquibato landed instead inside a covered court beside the detachment.

The New People’s Army admitted responsibility for the incident and promised indemnification for the victims.  (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)