September 21, 2011
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Tanggol Bayi Spokesperson (09175003879)
When the bullets killed Sunshine
Women’s rights group condemns the killing of 7-year old child in Compostela Valley, demands for the immediate pull-out of military troops from communities
Women’s rights group Tanggol Bayi today condemned the recent killing of 7-year old Sunshine Jabinez in Brgy. Napnapan, Pantukan by drunken elements of the 71st Infantry Battalion under the 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last September 2, 2011.
According to the documentation by Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, Jabinez was shot by Private First Class (Pfc) Baltazar M. Ramos, a member of the 71st IB encamping in the said community, who fired his armalite indiscriminately in the direction of the house of Jabinez’s family after figuring in a heated altercation with a fellow soldier.
Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Tanggol Bayi, said the deployment, encampment and operations of the AFP in civilian communities put the lives of the residents at great risk and further heighten the vulnerability of women and children to military violence.
“Under Pres. Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, such operations are repackaged as Peace and Development Outreach Programs of the AFP which is nothing but a second rate copycat of its Re-Engineered Special Operations Teams meant to conduct extensive militarization in civilian communities. Such militarist schemes have only resulted to massive human rights violations, including this recent killing of Sunshine, and the perpetuation of impunity as the military continues to subjugate the civilians under their control and power,” she asserted.
Palabay called on the House of Representatives and the Senate to investigate the said incident and come out with a resolution for the immediate pull-out of military troops in the region as the continued deployment and operations in these areas are a threat to the lives and security of people, especially women and children.
“We also demand that the proposed budget of the Department of National Defense and the AFP be rechanelled to the budget for education, health and other social services, lest Congress allows these funds to be used for increased militarization and rights violations especially in the rural areas,” she added.
The woman leader likewise called for the immediate prosecution of Ramos and his colleagues in the 71st IBPA and, in a parallel vein, “we point out the accountability of Lt. Camilo Legayo of the said infantry battalion and Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia of the 10th IDPA in the massive deployment of military troops in the Southern Mindanao region.”