TAYTAY, Palawan — Locals officials of Paly Island have denied a human rights group’s claim that the military presence in their community has led to violations and harassment.
Juliet Largado, the barangay chairman of Paly, was reacting to a fact-finding mission report published recently by the group Tanggol Magsasaka accusing the military of “red-tagging” local community members and other forms of human rights violations.
Largado defended the presence of the marines in their area conducting security activities, stating it is part of the implementation of Executive Order 70 or the government’s anti-insurgency campaign.
“Hindi naman po totoo lahat ng sinasabi nila. Walang harassment na nangyayari doon. Doon lang nakatira ang mga marines sa Barangay Hall namin kasi wala nang matirahan na iba kaya kitang-kita sila doon,” Largado said.
Largado recalled that a group from Tanggol Mangsasaka came to Paly in February and interviewed local residents.
“Noong dumating po sila dito ay sinundo sila ng mga miyembro ng Pamalakaya. Nag-interview sila tapos nagtatanong din sila ng mga IRA naming kung tinutulungan daw ba kami ng gobyerno at ng munisipyo,” Largado said.
She also denied accusations that the presence of the Marines is affecting their livelihood.
“Hindi totoo ang mga sinasabi nila. Kung sabi nila na naapektuhan ang kabuhayan namin dahil sa presence ng military ay hindi totoo ‘yon. Maalon kasi ngayon kaya ang mga tao doon ay wala rin halos hanapbuhay,” she added.