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AFP on reports of abusive soldiers: We are determined to hold them liable

/ 03:29 PM November 17, 2017

Soldiers walk in the frontline in Bangulo village in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the city had been “liberated from terrorists.” INQUIRER file photo / JEOFFREY MAITEM

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday stressed its commitment to adhere to human rights standards, in response to the report of Amnesty International that security forces committed abuses during the five-month Marawi siege.

“We are committed to adhere to the Law of Armed Conflict and respect human rights in the conduct of our operations,” AFP public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

READ: Amnesty International accuses military of carrying out abuses in Marawi

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While they have yet to see the report of Amnesty International, he said that the AFP also needs formal complaints to help them in the investigation and prosecution in observance of due process of law.

“Should there be infractions, we are determined to hold the violators liable,” Arevalo said.

In a separate press briefing in Malacañang, AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen Restituto Padilla said they will investigate those who are guilty of violating policies and regulations.

“Kung meron man po tayong mga naging insidente diyan, masasabi po natin na ito’y mga isolated incidents,” he said.

(If there are indeed any incidents, I can say there are isolated incidents.)

Padilla said that during the beginning of conflict in Marawi, the AFP leadership has reminded its troops to respect the rules of conflict, including international humanitarian law and human rights.

As to the Amnesty International’s calls for investigation on the “disproportionate air and ground attacks” in the city, Padilla brought up the challenges faced by the security forces during the siege.

“The proportionality by which we used force was in consideration of all the challenges that we faced which is one, the safety of civilians who may be trapped in the area, that’s primordial, the rescue of the civilians who were held hostage, second; and only third is the safety of our own troops who were in the main battle area addressing these armed groups,” he said. /jpv

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TAGS: Abuses, AFP, Amnesty International, Marawi
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