AFP violations hurting children's rights under Aquino's OBL extension — CPP
CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounced the Aquino regime and its Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the current spate of violations of children's rights as the AFP continues to implement the (national counter-insurgency policy) Oplan Bantay Laya, which has been extended by the Aquino government up to the end of the year.
The CPP said that children continue to be subjected to widespread abuse and violence under Oplan Bantay Laya.
"The AFP has been utilizing minors in its dirty war against the New People's Army (NPA) and the revolutionary masses. AFP units have been recruiting minors into their paramilitary units, forcing children to serve as guides in military operations."
"In their effort to hype their counterrevolutionary psywar, these children's rights are further abused by the military as they are paraded in front of the media while made to appear as 'child warriors' of the NPA."
"The entire revolutionary movement and the Filipino people hold Pres. Benigno Aquino responsible for such violations of children's rights committed by the AFP under his command," the CPP added.
The CPP cited the following recent cases:
- "Rose" (not her real name), 17, was paraded before the media last September 14 by the 84th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. The 84th IB-PA falsely claimed that she was a "would-be recruit" of the NPA who escaped. The Philippine Army unit violated her rights in its desperate effort to taint the NPA's reputation after suffering a big loss in the battlefield last September 10.
- "Boy" (not his real name), 17, of Brgy. Tagaytay, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur was forced to join a special operation of the 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army July to penetrate an NPA camp and steal weapons.
- "Jerry" (not his real name), 17, of Brgy. Malawanit, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur was abducted and tortured to force him to admit to being an "NPA child warrior." Fortunately, Jerry was able to escape his captors and reveal his ordeal to the public.
- Another minor, "Donna" (not her real name) of Dungan Pekong, Matanao, Davao del Sur, was misrepresented before the media as an "NPA child warrior," in violation of her rights.
- "Jomar" (not his real name) was not even 16 years old when he and his friends were recruited and made by the 1001st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army to undergo a 45-day military training in October 2008 by the 1001st Brigade in its headquarters then located at Brgy. Tuburan, Mawab, Compostela Valley. He was formally admitted as a member of the paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in December 2008. As a CAFGU element, Jomar was accosted by the NPA last June but was promptly released after determining his age.
- A 17-year old boy from Brgy. Old Bulatucan, Makilala, North Cotabato was accosted and tortured by elements of the 57th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army last March following an NPA harassment operation against the soldiers. He was presented to the media as a "child warrior" of the NPA before being turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
- "Michelle" (not her real name), 17, was abducted by elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army from her home in San Juan de Buan, Western Samar last February. She was taken by government soldiers as part of their dirty tactic to force her parents (both members of the NPA) to surrender to the AFP. Michelle continues to be detained by the DWSD under the authority of the AFP.
- "Jose" (not his real name), 13, a mentally challenged child from Montalban, Matuguinao, Western Samar continues to be detained by the DSWD. Elements of the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division accosted Jose in June 2009, provided him with a firearm and forced him to join military operations. He was subsequently paraded before the media as a "child warrior" of the NPA.
"These and many other cases of violations of children's rights are being committed by the AFP with impunity in its desperation to suppress the people's revolutionary resistance with utter brutality, terror and psywar," said the CPP.
The CPP reiterated its policy of upholding the rights of children as stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) as well as in the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child. The CPP has a standing policy prohibiting the recruitment into the NPA of anyone below 18 years old.
"We urge all advocates of children's rights in the country and the world, including the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict to look into these cases involving the ruling reactionary state and its army's violations of children's rights," said the CPP.
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