Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) on Wednesday filed a resolution seeking a congressional inquiry on the military’s excessive use of force in North Cotabato and Bukidnon that resulted in human rights violations and massive displacement of families, a day after the high court upheld the Mindanao-wide martial law declaration.
In House Resolution No. 1113, GWP is urging the House Committee on Human Rights to launch an inquiry on the airstrikes, shelling, and burning of houses by members of the Philippine Army’s 39th and 72nd Infantry Battalion in North Cotabato and Bukidnon.
“Excessive use of force by the military in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, where there is no confirmed presence of the Maute group, should be probed as it has already resulted in gross rights violations based on the reports that we received from the communities,” GWP Rep. Arlene Brosas said.
“The SC decision upholding the martial law in Mindanao should not preclude a congressional investigation on this matter. The civilians in the affected areas are demanding accountability and seeking urgent help,” she added.
GWP said Barangays Salat and Tuael in President Roxas, North Cotabato, and Barangays Tangkulan and Anggaan in Damulog, Bukidnon experienced aerial bombardment, mortar shelling, and indiscriminate firing by the military on May 25.
HR 1113 said the military bombardment resulted in the death of Adbullah Mamansag and in severe injuries of five more civilians, which include a minor.
The series of airstrikes and strafing using an attack helicopter and cannons in the affected areas also caused the forced mass evacuation of more than 1,600 Moro people and 260 families.
GWP said there are also unverified reports of houses that were burned down by the military on May 27 and 28.
“The military’s abuses and violations must not go unchecked even if the three branches of government are supporting the martial law declaration. We will continue to bring reports of communities out in the open in whatever way we can,” Brosas ended. #