CHR still verifying claims of rights violations in Mindanao
One year and seven months after martial law was declared in Mindanao, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is still verifying reports of alleged abuses by the military.
CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said they had not received reports of the military violating the rights of people at checkpoints in the South.
Earlier, police chief Oscar Albayalde said checkpoints had helped lessen criminal activities while putting terrorists in check.
The CHR official said the commission had received reports of alleged abuses against human rights defenders but did not say if any of the claims had been confirmed.
“May mga civil society na nire-report na may mga abuses na nangyayari,” she said over dzBB, adding, “Example yung mga pagpick-up sa mga supposed na human rights leaders, human right defenders sa mga lumad community.”
“Bina-validate natin yan and iniimbestigahan namin kasi hindi naman basta basta na sinabi, maniniwala ka na,” she said.
She said that while there had been no reports of violations by the military at checkpoints, they still remind soldiers to respect people’s rights when conducting searches and inspections.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in May 2017 to suppress ISIS-inspired Maute group terrorists in Marawi City.
As to the possible extension of martial law in Mindanao, Gana urged the government to first make a full assessment of the situation.
“Kailangan natin ng report from them (security forces in charge for the peace and order in Mindanao) kung ano talaga ang sitwasyon. Ang reason kung bakit nagkaroon ng martial law was the fact na may terorista that time,” she said.
“Pero ngayon, since tahimik naman doon at mukha namang maganda ang pamamalakad, I think we really need to assess if there’s a need for martial law,” the commissoner added.
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