Abra Elders to File Case with JMC on Pananuman Right Violations

Lack of support

The people of Pananuman have been asking for help from the municipality of Tubo, Abra, but until now, they have not received any kind of support, besides the council resolution that reportedly asked for the military pullout.

Amid the military operations, the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) and the CHRA forwarded a letter of concern to the local government of Abra.

They also have tried asking support from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) but they have not heard or received any support from them. All they received is the reply that relief operations could not be conducted there because of military operations.

How villagers cope

“A dialog with the military was planned because we are hoping that there will be compensation,” said Atty. Mary Ann Bayang, Spokesperson of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Monitor.

“They (the villagers) cannot quantify the cost of damage,” she added.

Pananuman villagers have started bringing back order into their lives and are trying to rehabilitate their devastated farms. However, inadequate food supply in the coming months is real.

“We do not have enough rice now, that is why we are planting kamote (sweet potato) as a possible alternative,” Buyagan added.

To file cases

The residents claimed that they would submit the result of the fact-finding mission to the JMC.

“We want the rights of the civilians to be strictly observed by the warring parties and to exempt our village from their war,” said the elders.

The GRP and the NDFP came up with a Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which was signed on March 16, 1998. The Quezon City-based JMC monitors the implementation of the said agreement.

The said agreement states that “the civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack. They shall likewise be protected against indiscriminate aerial bombardment, strafing, artillery fire, mortar fire, arson, bulldozing and other similar forms of destroying lives and property, from use of explosives as well as the stockpiling near or in their midst, and the use of chemical and biological weapons.” Nordis/(Bulatlat.com)

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