Human rights alliance Karapatan raised alarm over the reported “occupation” by soldiers of villages in Manila and the province of Batangas.
The group claimed that it received reports that in Barangay 105, Tondo, in Manila, about a hundred soldiers arrived on March 9 to conduct “community support program or CSP.”
“It is military doublespeak for intelligence gathering, since the soldiers have done nothing so far that is supportive of the community, which is the most impoverished in Tondo,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay in a statement.
Palabay said the soldiers have been “profiling” local residents to ascertain who among them are members of activist organizations.
“The soldiers have also reportedly been going around, asking who among the local residents have been attending rallies, as if such were illegal,” said Palabay.
The soldiers reportedly occupied the barangay hall while looking for a place to rent.
“This indicates that the residents of Happyland will be enduring the soldiers’ menacing presence for a long time and will be subjected to red-tagging seminars and forced surrenders, as what has been happening in other militarized barangays,” said Palabay.
Karapatan also reported that in the city of Sto. Tomas, Batangas, soldiers arrived in Barangay San Isidro Sur on March 14 “ostensibly to conduct a survey.”
“Their arrival has alarmed residents, as the soldiers, who are wearing sidearms, have been going around asking for the personal information of local citizens,” Karapatan said in a statement.
The community has been campaigning for the”right to decent housing” after 17 houses were razed in 2020 and 2021, and agricultural lands with pineapple, coconut and fruit trees were paved to give way to the construction of a road.
Members of the Sitio Maligaya Homeowners’ Association in San Isidro Sur have signed a letter of complaint to the 59th IB and the local government unit, demanding the pullout of the soldiers.
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