Fact finding team probes misencounter

A fact-finding team composed of representatives of the Alab Katipunan and the Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates is scheduled to hold a probe on the reported mis-encounter between Army soldiers and members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade in Brgy. Balabag, Escalante City, on June 16.

AK secretary general Ben Solilapsi said the result of their investigations will be submitted to the Joint Enforcement Monitoring Committee.

The reported mis-encounter between RPA-ABB members and soldiers of the 11th Infantry Battalion led to the death of Romulo Estacio, a worker at the farm of San Enrique Mayor Jilson Tubillara, and the injury of Noli Escalona, another employee of the mayor, and RPA-ABB member Arnel Costamares.

Eight RPA-ABB members who were arrested and disarmed, were later released by the police, but not the high-powered firearms and explosives taken from them.

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The mis-encounter was reportedly triggered by lack of coordination between the military and the RPA-ABB members who entered into peace agreement with the government in year 2000.

Solilapsi said the Local Monitoring Team under the supervision of JEMC will also conduct its own investigation.

A non-government organization calling itself Sulong CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) is now coordinating with NGO’s and people’s organizations, in monitoring human rights violations committed by the government and the New People’s Army in Negros.

Solilapsi said AK gave its commitment to help Sulong CARHRIHL in monitoring human rights violations in Negros Occidental.

Karen Tanada, convenor of Sulong CARHRIHL, yesterday met with representatives of various NGOs and POs in Negros Occidental to establish networking in their mission.