Residents of Tayac in Siaton, Negros Oriental, are protesting the presence of soldiers belonging to the 79th Infantry Battalion in their community, Jose Luis Blanco of Karapatan Negros Oriental, claimed recently.
Blanco said members of the Kapunongan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmayng Maguuma sa Oriental Negros said that soldiers led by Rodel Arujo, came to sitio Salingkubong, in Barangay Tayac, on January 27 and stayed in the center of the sitio.
He also said complaints have reportedly reached Karapatan about incidents of soldiers allegedly engaging in “undisciplined and dangerous behavior,” like excessive drinking binges, and sometimes urging minors to drink with them.
Blanco said residents fear a repeat of an incident last year when 79thIB soldiers staying in Katubahan, Tayac, were raided by rebels. He also said it is also a violation of the International Humanitarian Law when soldiers continue to hide in civilian properties and stay in community centers.
He said KAUGMAON–KMP members called for the military to withdraw its forces from Salingkubong and adjacent barangays and that it is not true that the troops are dispatched to help the farmers.*RG
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