Davao City Council asks military to move detachments away from population centers
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Sangguniang Panlungsod passed a resolution on Friday calling for the pullout of military detachments from civilian communities in the city and its outlying villages.
In a special session, members of the city council said the resolution was aimed at preventing civilians from being caught in the crossfire between government troops and New People’s Army rebels.
In September, at least 30 civilians were injured when a grenade thrown by NPA rebels missed a military detachment and exploded at the packed gymnasium in Paquibato District’s Barangay Fatima. The military detachment was set up just outside the gym.
The NPA, which subsequently indemnified the victims, said the incident would not have happened if soldiers had not set up camp there.
Councilor Jimmy Dureza said that during a visit last October 20 he noticed that soldiers had turned the second floor of the barangay hall in Pandaitan, also in the Paquibato District, into a military detachment. The building’s ground floor housed a daycare center where children were having lessons at the time, he added.
In the resolution, the city council asked the military to relocate detachments, especially those barangay halls and other public buildings, and to refrain from using civilian structures for military purposes.
“Such detachments have to be pulled out,” the resolution said, adding that such military structures were “detrimental to the lives of the residents and school children.”
Paquibato is among the hinterland districts of the city, where the NPA operates.
“The situation in Paquibato is cause for alarm since the mere presence of armed men in uniform threatens and even endangers the lives of many people, including communities nearby,” Councilor Leah Librado said. “The situation is disturbing even to non-residents like us, knowing that communities could be hit in the crossfire should hostilities take place.”
The resolution also warned the military against setting up any more military detachments or similar structures near schools and population centers.
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