THE Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division on Tuesday strongly denied the allegation made by a leftist group that some members of the Aeta community in San Marcelino, Zambales, were hurt and forced by military personnel to eat human waste.
Philippine Army’s 7ID Public Affairs Office chief Major Amado Gutierrez said there was no truth to the allegation made by leftist group SANDUGO that individuals, including members of the Aetas tribe, were abused by the military who arrested them.
On August 21, an encounter happened between troops and suspected members of the New People’s Army in Sitio Lumibao, Bgy. Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales, which resulted in the arrest of some alleged rebels.
“After po ng engkuwentro, mayroon po tayong na-intercept o naaresto na mga individuals na lumalabas mula doon sa encounter site. Siyam po sila. And then later on na-find out po natin na out of nine, lima po doon ay mga NPA. Tatlong lalaki at dalawang babae.
‘ Yung isang babae po ay menor de edad… ‘Yun pong remaining na apat, tatlo po doon ay minor, aged five, ten and 12, at saka po ‘yung tumatayo nilang nanay, ito ring supporter ng NPA,” Gutierrez said.
He said the firefight resulted in the killing of one soldier.
“Ito pong mga naaresto natin at na-rescue malapit sa encounter site, atin po silang inalagaan. At nang ibinababa po natin sila sa sentro ng San Marcelino, atin po silang ipinatingin sa doktor,” Gutierrez said.
“Actually nagko-conduct po kami ng investigation ngayon, at base sa result ng initial investigation, wala pong katotohanan ‘yung mga ibinibintang nila,” he added.
In a separate statement, group Sandugo claimed that on that day, a total of 659 families evacuated due to repeated bombings of Aeta communities in Sitio Lumibao by the Gutierrez stressed that the Philippine Army doesn’t tolerate maltreatment within and outside the organization, noting that soldiers have respect for human rights, even for the communist rebels.
He vowed that if it is proven that soldiers abused Aetas, they will be held liable for their actions.