The National Democratic Front (NDF)-Negros is demanding that government forces give the full range of rights based on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law to New People’s Army (NPA) members who were captured, wounded and killed in an encounter at Sitio Balik-Balik, Barangay Tabu, Ilog, Negros Occidental, on Tuesday, September 14.
Nilda Natander Bertolano, 56, secretary of the NPA Southwest Front, was injured and her deputy Christian Vargas, alias Ka Hans, was killed in the encounter, Col. Ryan Manongdo, 6th Special Action Force Battalion commander, said Wednesday, September 15.
The one hour and ten-minute gunbattle resulted in the death of four rebels, injury of two and the arrest of one, he said.
Ka Bayani Obrero, NDF-Negros spokesperson, in a press statement, claimed that it is public knowledge that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) have a “history of human rights violations”.
“We fear for the safety especially of the captured and wounded NPA members,” Obrero said.
Obrero also called on the Ilog Police Station to “release all residents captured after the encounter at Barangay Tabu.”
Manongdo said on Wednesday that the persons were brought in for questioning after the counter had already been released. They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time, he said.
The NDF-Negros, in its press statement, called on all human rights advocates and watchdogs and peace-loving individuals “to stay vigilant, expose and oppose the violations of human rights and resist a regime that has put the entire country practically under a martial rule”.*