Gutoc blames Military of human rights abuses. Cites few cases to justify her allegations. Alvarez denies. Asks her to address CHR.

Gutoc blames AFP.



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Adding to the misery and the chaos in the southern province of Mindanao, the true colors of people are emerging. Everyone is trying to play a part according to the side that they are on.
Still some voices are bolder than others. Most of these voices are biased and doctored so that they have the maximum impact. And, it is only the negative publicity of these voices that echoes worldwide.
Another prominent voice that tried to manipulate facts while magnifying the faults is that of Samir Gutoc. She is a Bangsamoro civil society leader who came out with a scathing attack on the government and the AFP.
Gutoc recounted what she called her suffering in Marawi City after the imposition of Martial Law. It is surprising that she only blames the administration and the Security Forces for all the ills.
She categorizes her travails as human rights violations. She blamed the administration for all the problems of Maranaons. It is shocking that in spite of her position, she failed to portray the genuine limitations of this nation.
Gutoc revealed the problems which the people are already aware of. She brought up the issue while Congress voted to extend the Martial Law till the yearend.
This took place in the special joint session on Saturday.
However, Speaker Alvarez did not accept the authenticity of this claim and stated that it differed from the truth.
It was true that shortcomings were present; no one can blame us since we are not a rich nation, he said. Our troops are battling the Maute who are well entrenched.
Hence, Alvarez called it a lone voice in the wilderness. It was not the general perception among the masses that saw the overall realities of the nation.
In her assault on the abuses by the military, she cited few instances that showed the violations of human rights. But, she conveniently forgot that it was the enemy of the most brutal kind that they were dealing with.
Besides, in such a large scale operations, one or two violations do not justify the blame of human rights violations.
In reply, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez gave his take after the 2nd session of the 17th Congress. He denied any widespread violations of human rights. In addition, he called upon all impartial observers to visit Mindanao and see for themselves the circumstances prevailing there.
Alvarez claimed that the residents of Mindanao were predominately in favor of extending Martial Law. Hence, it doesn’t make sense to ignore the feelings of the overwhelming majority who want extension of Martial Law.
Moreover, it should be the Commissioner of Human Rights (CHR) who should be inspecting such issues. The House of Representatives has not much of a role in such a matter, Alvarez claimed.
Therefore, he directed that all cases of human rights abuses should addressed to the CHR.
The government had earlier granted extension of Martial Law up 31st December 2017.
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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017