By Audrey Morallo
MANILA, Philippines — An international human rights watchdog on Friday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for his “flatten the hills” comment, which it claimed encouraged the commission of war crimes by the Philippine military.
Carlos Conde, researcher for the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), said in a dispatch that the president should immediately take back this statement and emphasize to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that their operations should be done within the parameters of the law.
Conde said the remarks made by the president telling the military to go ahead and flatten the hills in response to the killing of four policemen by suspected communist rebels were tantamount to goading the military to commit war crimes.
“Were the Philippine military to ‘flatten the hills’ without regard to civilian loss of life and property, those involved would be committing war crimes,” Conde said in a statement.
Duterte, a firebrand leader who won elections last year on the back of a strong security platform, made the statement while attending the memorial service of four policemen allegedly killed by members of the New People’s Army (NPA), a US-classified terrorist group.
During the visit, a visibly upset and angry Duterte urged the army to “go ahead, flatten the hills.”
The chief executive added: “Anything goes for now. If there’s a collateral damage, pasensiya (then sorry).”
Read the full story at PhilStar