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Hamleting makes ugly comeback

HONG KONG (Mabuhay) : The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission reports that on March 30 this year at 6.00am, soldiers from the 73rd Infantry Battalion of The Philippine Armed Forces forcibly entered civilian homes in Malapatan, Sarangani, in Mindanao, demanding refuge.

At 1.00pm the soldiers started firing their guns indiscriminately, despite being in a populated area.

At 4.00pm, the military dropped eight bombs on a nearby village and soldiers fired machine guns four times. Crops, animals and the community water supply were destroyed by the bombing.

On April 5, the military enforced a food blockade in 10 villages in Sarangani. The residents were only allowed to buy less than one kilogramme of rice each day and if they exceeded the allowed quantity, they were accused of supplying food to the New People’s Army.

This is a version of the much condemned hamleting system that was widely condemned internationally in the 1980s and 1990s. Many people have been forced to flee their homes.