Press Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the Allegations of the Maltreatment of Aetas by the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division

Press Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the Allegations of the Maltreatment of Aetas by the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division

The Commission on Human Rights is concerned by the recent allegations made against the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division (7ID) on the cruel and degrading treatment of some members of the aeta community in San Marcelino, Zambales. Reports alleged that arrested individuals, in an encounter on Friday, 21 August, whom were suspected to be members of the New People’s Army were subject to harm and forced by military personnel to eat human waste.

The Commission notes that the 7ID Public Affairs Office Chief Major Amado Gutierrez in his statement espoused the primacy of human rights in military operations and denied the occurrence of maltreatment especially since the Commission has always reminded members of the armed forces to adhere to the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law.

We welcome the statement of Major Gutierrez and the ongoing investigation currently being conducted by the military to uncover the truth to these allegations. The Commission for its part, in conjunction with the ongoing military investigation, will be conducting its own separate investigation through its regional office to ensure impartiality and attain the truth in these allegations.