Makabayan hits PH Army for ‘desecrating’ remains of solon’s daughter
MANILA, Philippines — The House Makabayan bloc strongly condemned on Monday the Philippine Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) over its treatment of the remains of a solon’s daughter slain in an encounter between government soldiers and the New People’s Army (NPA).
In a statement, Makabayan accused the military of “blatantly” violating the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by “desecrating the remains” of Jevilyn Cullamat, daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, and for supposedly circulating photos of her “obviously artificially posed body as though she were still carrying a rifle, and with troops displaying her corpse alongside captured paraphernalia.”
“The soldiers did not only disrespect her remains but even used it like a trophy for propaganda purposes,” the lawmakers said.
The bloc then demanded that such photos be immediately taken down and those who were responsible for its circulation online be held accountable.
“Apparently, respect for human rights and dignity of the dead are not in the vocabulary of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines]. In the conduct of their anti-rebellion campaigns, they continue to violate with impunity the rights of our people, including the deadly practice of recklessly red-tagging and terrorist-tagging activists, artists, critics of the administration, religious persons, the political opposition and even ordinary citizens,” Makabayan said.
“The country’s more than five-decade armed conflict is aggravated by these human rights violations that mainly protect the status quo while utterly failing to address the roots of why people take up arms,” it added.
The bloc said that among the many reasons that fuel armed conflict are “landlessness,” lack of jobs, massive poverty, oppression, injustice and exploitation.
“These cannot be solved by more human rights violations, including McCarthyist witchhunting,” Makabayan added.
“These social issues can be addressed by the peace negotiations that we have been advocating to be resumed,” it further said.
The bloc said Jevilyn’s death is a “stark reminder” to the government that people continue to be engaged in the armed struggle because of the “continuous failure to address the root causes of the rebellion in our country.”
According to the Philippines Army, Jevilyn or “Ka Rep” allegedly served as a medic for the NPA.
The Philippine Army earlier said Jevilyn’s remains were immediately evacuated and her siblings and members of her family were notified of the passing prior to making her death public.
“The military provided security and transportation assistance to the Cullamat family and coordinated with the nearest mortuary for the proper handling of the cadaver,” the Army said.
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