LtGen Roland Detabali, CG SOLCOM, inspects the various firearms, explosives and other war materiel recently captured by 9ID troops from NPA rebels (Photo by Marco Balinia/PAO 9ID).
CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – A senior military official in the Bicol Region said that soldiers will help protect media practitioners from extra-judicial killings during a press conference held here today at around 9:00am.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, said in an interview with the media that he will assist in any way to ensure that media personnel are protected from attacks.
Pabustan made the statement following the death of DWEB reporter Miguel “Mike” Belen on July 31 after having been seriously injured in a shooting incident by motorcycle-riding gunmen about three weeks ago.
Pabustan also said that he is happy that the police have already identified the perpetrators of the crime which was initially blamed on the Army’s militiamen.
Police authorities have already identified the suspect as an NPA member named Gina Bagacina a.k.a. Ka Liezel.
Bagacina’s picture, along with that of her driver-accomplice Eric Vargas, were identified by Belen himself from a police gallery before he died.
Pabustan likewise said that the various media relations activities hosted by the Army also serves as a venue to share the soldier’s defensive shooting skills.
“As you can see, part of our regular activities in this camp is the fun shoot with members of the media wherein you are given training instructions on gun safety handling and defensive shooting techniques,” said Pabustan to mediamen who attended the press conference on the Army’s internal security operations (ISO) in the Bicol Region.
Senior officers of the Philippine Army gathered in the resort-like Camp Elias Angeles to craft the campaign plan to defeat the decades-long communist insurgency.
Lieutenant General Roland Detabali, Commander of the Southern Luzon Command attended the said ISO conference with his staff officers.
Detabali witnessed the turn-over of 12 newly-recovered firearms during the military operations conducted in Lupi town over the weekend.
Eight of the recovered high-powered firearms were unearthed from a shallow arms-cache dug in by communist terrorists in Tible village. One of the captured rebel pinpointed the exact location of the firearms hoard.
Detabali said that the humane treatment accorded by the soldiers of the 31st IB to the captured rebels was instrumental in convincing one of them to cooperate with the military.
“This accomplishment showcases the sincerity of our soldiers in protecting human rights. In compliance to the directives from higher headquarters, I will ensure that all members of the Southern Luzon Command will respect human rights in all of our military operations,” Detabali said.
The 9th Infantry Division has continuously conducted training activities on human rights protection in time for the observance of the International Humanitarian Law Month.