17,505 victims: Military hit for rights violations in Ilocos Sur

>> Saturday, February 25, 2017

VIGAN CITY -- The Ilocos Human Rights Alliance said that the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division’s announcement of launching “focused military operation” in Northern and Central Luzon in pursuit of the government's all-out war against the revolutionary movement will only result to more human rights violations.
The groups said in 2016, IHRA recorded 101 cases of human rights violations in Ilocos Sur with 17,505 victims, most of which were perpetrated by the 81st Infantry Battalion.
“With the government's all-out war policy, the unit's operating troops in Ilocos will no doubt release their pent-up itch to terrorize peasant communities and harass political activists,” said the group.
The division took over from the 5th ID its area of operations in the Ilocos region in 2010. Its 81st Infantry Battalion currently has jurisdiction over the Ilocos provinces and some parts of Abra.
Just a few months after the 81st IB's deployment in 2012, its troops were immediately involved in atrocities against farmers, said Zoilo Baladad, IHRA secretary general.
She added on Oct.29, 2012, soldiers from 81st IB figured in an operation in Cabuusan, Currimao, Ilocos Norte that fired upon five farmers killing Carlo Magbulos and critically wounding Ronald Sadaba.
She also criticized the 81st IB's occupation of eight barangays in Sta. Lucia and five in Salcedo during the effectivity of the AFP's unilateral ceasefire declaration and despite the protest of the residents.
Baladad added that in 2016, IHRA recorded 101 cases of human rights violations in Ilocos Sur with 17,505 victims, most of which were perpetrated by the 81st IB.
“With this kind of record, all-out war will only embolden members of the 81st IB to violate human rights and international humanitarian laws, and civilians will bear the brunt of this militarist policy,” said Baladad.
Military combat operations are currently taking place in Salcedo, Sta. Lucia, Sigay, Del Pilar and Quirino, all in the Second Congressional District of Ilocos Sur.
IHRA also took note of the division's statement on serving warrants to “identified personalities” of the revolutionary movement in coordination with the Philippine National Police.

According to IHRA, “it has always been the scheme of the military and the police to associate leaders and members of progressive and militant organizations with the CPP-NPA-NDFP and file trumped-up charges against them.” IHRA further warned that “contrary to its claim of protecting communities, the 7th ID's “focused operation” will result to more human rights violations against political activists and peasant communities.”


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