The Philippines’ border patrol forces have been accused of violating human rights and environmental law, and it’s costing the country billions of dollars a year, with many more to come, according to a new report.
A government-commissioned report on the military’s human rights violations and the environmental impact of its activities released Monday details how the military has used its police, immigration, customs and border protection agencies to crack down on people, businesses and even entire villages.
The report, titled “The Philippines’ Border Patrol Force: Impacts and Challenges,” also outlines the country’s “dramatic increase” in illegal entry, illegal maritime crossings and the use of force against protesters.
The military has long used force against people, especially women, children and the elderly, but the report highlights its abuse of power by failing to protect the vulnerable, according, in part, to a crackdown on civil society activists.
It was the first time the military was held accountable for its human rights abuses, according the report.
It has been reported that the military is holding people, including journalists, without charge or trial in detention centers, as well as arbitrarily detaining them without charges or trial.
It also failed to protect vulnerable communities, including the elderly and women, said the report, which was written by retired Col. William T. Caron, who is a former commander of the US Pacific Command.
It cited cases of torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture of detainees, disappearances, beatings and other forms of torture.
The report also found that the Philippine government’s response to reports of human rights abuse has been inadequate and that the government has not responded adequately to the UN and international human rights organizations.
The Philippines has about 11,000 police and immigration officers, which include police, border patrol, customs, military, military prosecutors, immigration and customs agents, and border patrol police.
They have been involved in more than 300,000 traffic stops and more than 6,000 land border crossings, the report said.
The border patrol has been accused in the past of using excessive force, including slapping people on the buttocks and forcibly arresting them, while police have been arrested and prosecuted for beating people who they said were obstructing traffic.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Joaquin Alvarado, said last year that the country had a “pattern of arbitrary arrests” and “illegal detentions” against civilians.
Alvarado also said that police were not held accountable when they beat people.
He called on the Philippine authorities to establish a national judicial commission to investigate allegations of human-rights violations and human rights law violations.
In the report released Monday, the Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government said that in 2014 alone, the military “attempted to take possession of private property belonging to the Philippine people,” including land, forests and waters, for its own use.
It added that the department “tried to remove and demolish private homes belonging to villagers in the area where they were located, and confiscated their possessions.”
The Philippine government said in the report that its border patrol units had been given “excessive and inappropriate use of weapons” in the fight against drug trafficking, and that soldiers and police used excessive force against civilians, particularly women, who were suspected of being drug traffickers.
The department said that the use and abuse of force by its police force had been “unacceptable” and that “the Philippine police and army are responsible for the excessive and excessive use of the force.”
It said that it “did not fully cooperate” with the UN Commission of Inquiry into the extrajudicial executions, and noted that the commission had been unable to visit the Philippine police department and military.