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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesWednesday, December 5, 2012
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The Armed Forces of the Philippines yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to defend, protect and promote human rights, as they marked the National Human Rights Consciousness Week from Dec. 4–10.

This was in reaction to accusations of human rights violations their members allegedly committed.

Provincial chief Romeo Baldevarona of the Commission on Human Rights reiterated at Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at Camp Major Nelson Gerona in Brgy. Minoyan, Murcia, the importance of observing the basic rights of individuals as Army soldiers do their mandated jobs, Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.

CHR records show a marked improvement in the adherence by Army soldiers to the rule of law and promotion of human rights in Negros Occidental, he said, citing the absence of complaints of human rights abuses last year.

Baldevarona attributed this to human rights awareness programs incorporated in the training of soldiers.

The week-long celebration, on the theme “My Voice Counts in Ending Impunity: I work for human rights-based governance,”’ aims to make the people aware of their basic human rights.

As part of the celebration, the AFP Human Rights Office will conduct activities to heighten the soldiers’ commitment and responsibilities as human rights advocates.

Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr., Human Rights Office chief, said the AFP remains firm and unyielding in its commitment as human rights advocates and they draw their strength from the desire and conviction that human rights must be adhered, respected and protected–so the country can truly attain a lasting peace and sustainable development.

AFP chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa, in a statement he issued, said the Philippine military assures the people that they will continue to defend and protect human dignity in all aspects of their operations.

“We hope that through active participation with other stakeholders and civil society organizations, our efforts to advocate human rights will continue to bear fruit,” Dellosa said.*GPB

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