Army backs CHR probe into ‘NPA killings’

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY — The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) has welcomed the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigation into the killings of eight civilians attributed to the New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Occidental since April.

“We welcome any investigation that will shed light on these incidents and help bring justice for the victims and their families,” Major General Marion Sison, 3ID commander, stated.

The 3ID is fully supporting CHR’s efforts to uncover the truth behind the recent killings in the province.

Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), condemned the series of NPA killings, expressing his deep concern over the deaths of innocent civilians in Negros.

“These acts of violence are not only abhorrent but also a gross violation of human rights and the principles of humanity,” Edralin said.

He added that such violence only serves to deepen the cycle of fear, mistrust, and hostility, further dividing and tearing apart the community.

“It is distressing to learn that innocent men, women, and children have fallen victim to these senseless acts, causing immeasurable pain and suffering to their families and communities,” he added.

The CHR-Bacolod recently initiated a motu proprio investigation into the alleged liquidation of eight civilians in the province from April to early May this year, seven of whom were reportedly labeled by the NPA as spies or “military agents.”

The Army reports that the NPA has claimed responsibility in their press releases for several killings: Danny Boy Bartolome of Sitio Paho, Camandag, La Castellana on April 11; village watchman Alexander Alquizar of Proper Lagaan, Calatrava on April 20; Myra Belando of Sitio Duga-anon, Barangay Oringao, Kabankalan City on April 21; Jun Habagat of Sitio Cagay, Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City on April 24; Albert Goles of Sitio Cuyawyaw, Barangay Inolingan, Moises Padilla town on April 24; Ritoy Pedro of Sitio Kamanggahan, Barangay Amontay, Binalbagan on April 28; Barangay tanod Donie Bacoli of Sitio Bactolon, Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City on May 3; and most recently, a person with a disability, Armando Binaloac in Barangay Puso, La Castellana on May 9.

The 3ID reaffirmed its commitment to working closely with the CHR to ensure the investigation is thorough, impartial, and transparent.

“By cooperating fully with the CHR probe, the military aims to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to accountability and respect for human rights,” Sison said.

Meanwhile, Edralin strongly urged the NPA remnants and all armed groups involved to immediately cease these indiscriminate acts of violence and instead engage in peaceful means to address their grievances. He stressed that the lives and well-being of innocent civilians must be protected and respected at all costs.

He stated that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes must be held accountable and brought to justice to ensure that these innocent lives have not been lost in vain.

“Let us stand united against violence,” he said, as he called on Negrenses to report the presence of NPA rebels in their community and let their voices resonate in demanding an end to the senseless killings of innocent civilians.

Earlier, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) noted that despite the NPA’s admission to the series of killings of civilians suspected as government assets, their investigation will be based on evidence and not the “mere claims” of any group, as they adhere to criminal procedure.

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