Respect for human rights is always non-negotiable for the Philippine Army, its vice-commander, Maj. Gen. Renato David, said yesterday.
“We always tell our troops that respect for human rights and the international humanitarian law is paramount for every soldier to learn,” David, who visited the 303rd Infantry Brigade headquarters in Murcia, said.
He attributed the big reduction of human rights abuses among soldiers to the Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan,” and the Army Transformation Road Map, implemented in the past years.
In both strategies, David said “We always emphasize good governance and inculcate respect for human rights and the rule of law,”
Records of the Commission on Human Rights show that it recorded zero human rights violations of the Philippine Army in Negros Occidental last year, and in the six months of 2012.
The creation of the AFP Human Rights Office was also considered a milestone by the military in the promotion and protection of human rights among soldiers.
David, who is retiring on August 12 after serving the military for 37 years, also noted a marked improvement in the discipline of troops, compared to several decades ago.
“It is always our goal, not only as military officials, that we have to be good and do what we preach by abiding with the rule of law and respect for human rights, among them,” he added.
David, a younger brother of former AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo David, said the Philippine Army will pursue the peace talks in the regional level with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, if similar talks in the national level will not prosper.
“We are always positive for the outcome of peace talks,” he added.*GPB