CHR: Still no condemnation vs terrorists?
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2017 - 4:00pm

Exactly a week ago, we chastised the ultra noisy Commission on Human Rights (CHR) whose statement was headlined in The Philippine STAR the other Sunday entitled, “Stop Airstrikes in Marawi, CHR urges gov’t” because they called upon the Duterte government to stop using air strikes to defeat the Maute terrorists holed inside Marawi City. As I pointed out, our STAR reporter did not quote a single person from the CHR organization. But whoever made this announcement was clearly hiding behind the CHR.

Well, last Sunday it was a pleasant surprise to read that report from Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella who welcomed the latest remarks from the CHR that there have been “No Human Rights Abuses in Mindanao” where Martial Law has been declared since May 23rd. Apparently this statement came from CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio. Finally, someone in the CHR had the guts to put his name in this statement! In the previous CHR statement, there was no name attributed to that statement.

Apparently, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia assured the public that the CHR is monitoring the situation in Marawi City, including the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). I’ll have the CHR know that many of us Netties are also monitoring the situation in Marawi City to check on any untoward incidents and so far, thanks God, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have acted professionally, even at the expense of many of their soldiers who have been killed by the Maute terrorists.

But while we’re happy with the latest pronouncement from the CHR, it still falls short from their issuing a condemnation of the Maute terror group or the Abu Sayyaf group for their violations of human rights. This is something that the CHR ought to issue for the sake of fairness and transparency of their organization.

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The big breaking news last Saturday was that collision between the Arleigh Burke Class Aegis Missile Guided Destroyer the USS Fitzgerald that collided with the 29,000 ton ACX Crystal a Philippine (with 20 Filipino crewmen on board) flagged container ship 65 miles off the Naval Port of Yokosuka.  Of the seven US sailors that were earlier declared missing, they have been found dead within the hull of the heavily damaged Naval vessel. The USS Fitzgerald was struck on the Starboard side very close to the bridge, which is why its Commander Bryce Benson (the Captain’s Cabin was directly struck by the container vessel) was among the injured sailors who were helicoptered into the hospital in the US Naval Base.

The ACX Crystal was chartered by the Japanese Shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK ) and owned by Dainichi-Invest Corp. It’s crew are all safe. Incidentally, a few months ago, the USS Fitzgerald docked in Subic Bay for some minor repairs. It carries an Aegis Radar systems that is one of the most accurate radars in the world.

From the video footage given by the Japanese NHK TV Network, one can see how badly damage is the USS Fitzgerald as it limped back to port. Looking from the helicopter view of the ACX Crystal, you can see that this modern container ship had a bulbous bow. It is a cone or submarine like shape in front of the vessel’s bow, which makes it more streamlined under water. I would like to believe that this bulbous bow did a much bigger damage on the hull of the USS Fitzgerald that the eyes cannot see because it is below the waterline.

No doubt that there will be a Naval inquiry as to why these two ships collided. Surely both vessels especially the USS Fitzgerald have state-of-the-art navigation and radar systems and could have very well seen each other. But logic should tell you that a huge container vessel like the ACX Crystal cannot just maneuver easily… while a Naval destroyer is far more manueverable than the container ship. While we do not want to preempt the investigation on this collision, we would like to salute the US Navy crew of the USS Fitzgerald for keeping their ship afloat after this horrifying collision.

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Just when the road to peace between the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the Philippine government was strengthened by the National Democratic Front (NDF) who exhorted last Sunday that the CPP order the NPA to refrain from attacking government forces and instead focus on the proposed cooperation in neutralizing terror groups in the country. However last Sunday, the very day that the NDF issued their communiqué, some 50 heavily armed NPA rebels swooped down and raided a police station in Maasin town in Iloilo province, taking at least 12 firearms, including eight high-powered rifles. Although there were no shots fired to the credit of the NPA, this only proves that the CPP/NDF/NPA leaders talking peace in Europe do not control the cadres in the field. So why are we still talking peace with the CPP/NDF/NPA?

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