Coni Ledesma, Makibaka International Representative
Makibaka, the women’s revolutionary organization allied with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines strongly condemns the rapes perpetrated by a soldier of the 54th IBPA on a minor in Tinoc, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Philippines.
The Nona del Rosario Command of the New People’s Army Ifugao in a statement, reported the rape condemned with utmost severity the latest reported rape case.
The victim was then 15 years old in 2018 when Paul Tamang of the 54th IBPA raped her. At that time, she was alone in her house doing the laundry when he assaulted her. In March 2019, he returned and said he wanted to talk about what had happened. Then he raped her again. A few months after, two other soldiers of the 54th IBPA approached the family and offered them 70,000 pesos and informed them that Paul Tamang had been transferred to a different unit following the incident.
The communities of Ifugao have been harassed and pestered by the 54th IBPA since March 2018. The rape happened during the encampment of a unit in the victim’s community under the supposedly Community Support Program Operations (CSPO). This program is part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines combat operations which pretend to ensure the welfare of the people. Instead they disrupt the livelihood of the people, destroy the harmony of communities by sowing disinformation and lies, and criminalize the New People’s Army and revolutionary movement to suppress the legitimate struggles of the people.
Since 2008 there have been three reported rape cases perpetrated by the forces of the 54th IBPA. This is aside from countless complaints of sexual harassment, majority coming from women that the soldiers are courting, and high school students in various barangays in the Ifugao province.
MAKIBAKA calls for justice for all the victims rape, sexual harassment and human rights violations of the 54th IBPA! MAKIBAKA likewise calls for the immediate withdrawal of the 54th IBPA from the Ifugao communities!