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PIA Press Release

No policy on controlling movements in Paquibato - Army

by RG Alama

Davao City (6 March) -- The 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army has said that they have no policy of controlling movements of residents in Paquibato particularly those belonging to the Indigenous People in the area.

During a press conference at Task Force Davao Headquarters in Quimpo Boulevard, this city, last Thursday (March 5) a local TV reporter said that they have videotapes of evidence where the initials of a certain soldier have been written at the back of the cedulas belonging to residents in the said area.

However Colonel Lysander A. Suerte, Chief-of-staff of the Army's 10th Infantry Division defended the soldier's actions of putting their initials on the cedulas since they are kind of initiatives on the ground. He said it is also better that the soldier initialed his name on the cedula so that he can be tracked down for his actions.

Major General Raymundo Ferrer, commanding general of the 10th ID said that the actions have not violated any law although it is not an Armed Forces policy to have soldiers put their initials on the backs of the cedulas.

He said it could be initiatives or methodologies developed on the ground by soldiers or the detachment in the area. Ferrer said that soldiers checking on the identities of residents could have countersigned the cedulas to acknowledged the holder as already been checked.

He said there are no restrictions of movements in the area, which has been subject of skirmishes between the Army and the New Peoples Army and some alleged atrocities committed against unarmed civilians.

In January 27 a group of farmers complained of being mauled by soldiers belonging to the 10th ID, while in January 29, a landmine explosion wounded seven soldiers in the area.

Last March 2, the joint committees of public peace, safety, and human rights of the City Council of Davao began a probe into the mauling incidents allegedly perpetrated by the soldiers. The 10th ID has urged the farmers to file a complaint before the Division headquarters for its appropriate sanction against the erring soldiers. (PIA) [top]

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