Karapatan hit for spreading false claims vs. Army

The Philippine Army on Monday slammed the group Karapatan in the Caraga Region for falsely accusing the Community Support Teams (CSTs) of harassments of civilians in Sitio Emerald, Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

In a statement, 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) commander, Lt. Col. Joey B. Baybayan, said Karapatan Caraga only showed their deceptive tactics and link to the communist New People's Army (NPA) by maliciously spreading false news through their official Facebook account by accusing the Army of harassment of civilians in the area.

Karapatan Caraga's statement is a concrete proof that they are protectors of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) as they falsely accused the military of harassment instead of condemning the atrocious acts of the CNTs who harassed the civilians, Baybayan said.

In an urgent alert posted on their Facebook account last February 22, Karapatan Caraga accused the military, particularly the 9th Special Forces Company (9SFCom) of 3SFBn, and the forces of 75th and 36th Infantry Battalions of firing at the civilian community in Diatagon and the throwing of a grenade at the house of a certain Naldo Calipay in the same place last February 21.

Karapatan Caraga added that civilians were hurt during the said attack, to include the five year old son of Naldo Calipay and the 55 year old and 19 year old women that they did not identify.

Baybayan said the Facebook post of Karapatan Caraga contradicted the statement issued by the victims themselves who declared that they were hit by an M203 grenade launcher fired upon by NPA rebels who attacked the Army troopers last February 21.

The statement was signed by victims Andrea Gallergo, 55; Marimar Terse, 19; and Reynafe Calipay, 5, through his mother Marife Calipay on the same day.

The victims said they were aided by the forces of 9SFCom after the attack and brought them to Lianga District Hospital for medical treatment.

They added that they signed and issued the statement on their own free will without being forced or intimidated.

While Karapatan guise themselves as protectors of human rights, they cannot even denounce the human rights violations committed by the CNTs. Instead, they continue to cover up the CNT atrocities and discredit the Whole of Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) and the military. Isn't that an obvious indication of their deceitful nature? Baybayan asked.

The statement of Karapatan was also dismissed by Col. Allan Hambala, commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade of the Army.

The name Karapatan does not fit them but liars because they deprive the people and the nation of the truth by propagating false information as part of their propaganda strategy to gain popular support, Hambala said.

Karapatan, he added, is unfortunate this time as the people are already aware of their ill motives and deceptive strategies.

SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY

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