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Let soldiers ‘die with dignity,’ military tells media

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:40:00 08/14/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Soldiers in the battlefield should be allowed to “die with dignity,” the military said on Thursday, as it cried foul over the airing of video footage showing the dying hours of a Marine soldier who was fatally wounded in an encounter with Moro rebels in Basilan province earlier this week.

“I think we should give it to our soldiers to die with dignity,” said Brigadier General Jorge Segovia, acting chief of the Armed Forces command center.

“We would like to remember our soldiers for their heroism, not their suffering,” Segovia said, referring to footage Footage aired on GMA Television showed Abeto grimacing in pain after he was wounded in the head by shrapnel from a mortar shell in Tipo-Tipo town last Monday.

“Once upon a time I was a soldier and I wouldn’t want it to happen to me or to anyone,” Segovia said.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo called on media to “police” their ranks to avoid offending the sensitivities of their audience, and their subjects.

Arevalo acknowledged that GMA could have aired the footage because of the “demands of the job” or maybe because the incident was a “human interest story.”

But nonetheless, he said: “We would just like to appeal for sensitivity because at times even if the nature of our jobs dictate…we have to temper it in order to guard some sensitivities or some feelings that may be hurt.”

Asked if the incident would prompt the military to lay down guidelines for covering conflict areas, Arevalo said: “I think the position of the AFP here is for the members of the media to police [their] own ranks…maybe to guard each other’s coverage, maybe to caution each other if one is going out of bounds.”

Arevalo stopped short of saying what can and can’t be caught on video, when pressed by reporters.

“I think that is not up for me to say, maybe the members of the media can talk among themselves,” he said.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-08-14T12:19:12+00:00UTC08bUTCThu, 14 Aug 2008 12:19:12 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm08

Posted in Uncategorized

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