DND chief hits Human Rights Watch for acting as Reds'
The Department of National Defense on Saturday slammed the Human Rights Watch for seemingly acting as the spokesperson of the communist rebels when it said that President Rodrigo Duterte's reward offer to kill New People's Army would only encourage war crimes.
"We disagree with the assessment of Human Rights Watch (HRW) that President Rodrigo Duterte’s reward offer of P20,000.00 for every NPA member killed 'encourages war crimes'," DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.
He said neutralizing rebels and terrorists is a "legitimate law enforcement function, and the government is not precluded from offering rewards under Philippine laws."
"Furthermore, our defenders are under strict orders to adhere to the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law when they operate in the field. They know only too well that anyone of them who is found guilty of abuse will be sanctioned accordingly," he added.
Lorenzana said the human rights group has always been unreasonably critical of and biased against the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
"It stays silent even when the NPA goes on a killing rampage while quick to accuse Philippine law enforcement agencies of trumped up or unconfirmed violations," he said.
He criticized the group for not condemning the atrocities of the Communist Party of the Philippines and also the order of its founder, Jose Maria Sison, to kill one soldier per region everyday.
He said it was clearly obvious that the HRW is "acting as the spokesperson" of the CPP-NPA.
"It was after these killings of Lumads and the announcement of Mr. Sison’s directive to kill one soldier or policeman per region a day that the President announced that he will pay anyone who kills an NPA terrorist P20,000 pesos, which he later upped to P25,000," he said.
He urged the HRW to stop its hypocrisy for the interest of neutrality, objectivity, and the truth.
"We strongly urge the HRW to stop its hypocrisy and, instead, do the right thing by acknowledging and investigating these glaring atrocities being committed by the NPA including the murder of innocent civilians, who resist their aggressive exploitation, and the deceptive recruitment of our indigenous population," he added.
Lorenzana said the government will do everything in its power to protect the communities and uphold the rule of law. Ella Dionisio/DMS