Group wants troops to stay out of Quezon

Farmers rally calling for sectoral unity.
Photo courtesy of Kasama-TK.

Mon for Tue / Feb 11 for Feb 12, 2013
Written by: Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter, BusinessMirror

HUMAN rights advocates expressed worries about the announcement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that it’s moving troops in the Bondoc Peninsula.
“Nakakabahala dahil alam naman natin ang rekord ng 76th IB hinggil sa paglabag ng karapatang pantao,” Glen Malabanan, Secretary General of human rights group Karapatan-Southern Tagalog, told BusinessMirror.
Malabanan reacted to the report that the AFP would maintain its presence in Quezon province despite the transfer of troops under the 76th Infantry (Victrix) Battalion of the 201st Brigade, which began moving towards Mindoro on Tuesday.
After staying for ten months in Bondoc Peninsula, the 76th IB will transfer to Mindoro and replace the 80th Infantry (Raging Tamarraw) Battalion, which is due to go on scheduled battalion retraining at Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, Cpt. Ramon V. Ibarrientos of the Philippine Army said in a statement.
But Malabanan said they fear the transfer would add more violations of human rights that he said has reached to 216 victims in 2012, particularly in South Quezon in Bondoc Peninsula.
Of the total victims of human rights violations documented in the area, 40 are women and 26 are children or minors while cases of threats and harassment already numbered to about 2,000, since 2001.
“The use and encampment of security forces in homes and public places already affected at least 3,000 residents,” Karapatan-ST said in a statement sent to BusinessMirror.
Sending-off ceremony of 76th Infantry
(Victrix) Battalion, 2ID, PA at H76IB
Brgy Ajos, Catanauan, Quezon, Feb.
5, 2013 prior to its deployment in the
island of Mindoro. Photo courtesy
of Philippine Army.
Malabanan said there's an estimated eight battalions composed of the Philippine Army, police and para-military groups deployed in 22 towns of the two districts.
"This huge number of government troops is unprecendented, not even experienced during the Martial Law period of the late-President Ferdinand Marcos," Malabanan said in Tagalog.
He noted that the militarization of Quezon came after several mining and exploration companies began putting up businesses in South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula.
Citing data from the Mine Geoscience Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Malabanan said the point of contention involves more than 240,000 hectares of land, which is 27 percent of the total size of land in Quezon, that are under mining applications.
And after government launched its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan in December 2010, Malabanan said 99 cases of extrajudicial killings occurred.
“Kaya [tuloy] ang [aming] panawagan na palayasin ang 76th IB, hindi ilipat sa ibang probinsya ng timog katagalugan o ibang rehiyon, dahil tiyak na marami ang magiging biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa isla ng Mindoro.”

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