Evacuees Rap Violations of Human Rights
When the Arroyo government declared a stop of military operations (SOMO), a feeling of relief and hope swept residents of 12 villages in Surigao del Sur who evacuated their homes and farms last month due to massive military operations.
"Dili ko katuo nga makauli nami karon, nakahilak ko tungod sa kalipay nga akong gibati apan nabalaka gihapon kay sa among pagbalik didto wala pay kasiguroan ang tanan. (I can't believe we are going to go home. I am crying because I am so happy, yet I am worried because we still lack security for our return)," an elderly woman told the Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Watch (IPHR Watch) when asked about her feelings that she and her family can now go home.
The residents of Han-ayan had even asked the military to look after their homes and belongings, as well as their schools, before they left for the evacuation centers.
Maj. Samuel Sagun, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, had denied military's involvement in human rights violations, pointing the finger instead at the NPA rebels who are "on the run and looking for food. …