Three children detained by Philippine military are civilians, not NPA members

By MARIA MALAYA
NDFP – Northeastern Mindanao

AFP’s 401st Brigade is a great fabricator! Three children are civilians, not NPA!

The mercenary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is getting more desperate in their quest to conceal ghastly actions and at the same time besmirch the honorable reputation of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the revolutionary movement, and are fabricating stories of victories in the face of constant losses.

Col. Romeo Gan, commanding officer of the 401st Brigade, and Major Eugenio Julio Osias IV, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, GROSSLY LIED when they proclaimed to the media that the three children from Brgy. Pong-on, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur that they captured were members of the NPA.

IT IS NOT TRUE that the three children arrested in Hanipaan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur last 26 June 2011 were members of the NPA or “ordered by the NPA to operate a landmine”.

Recall that last 26 June 2011, an NPA team ambushed the composite column of the 29th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, 36th Infantry Battalion, and the 75th Infantry Battalion, using CDX (command detonated explosives). This resulted to the death of two and the wounding of an undetermined number of military men. In the month of June 2011, the 29th IB PA’s “Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD)” launched in four towns, were struck seven times by NPA units who effectively defended the area against COPD. These include those killed in a mis-encounter between 29th IB PA troops last 25 June 2011.

THE TRUTH was, the military in operation came upon the three children who were with their father and a relative in their farmland in Hanipaan. Because of the losses the military suffered by the active defense of NPA units and apparent and united resistance of the people against the counter-insurgency COPD under Oplan Bayanihan in the mountains of Caraga region, they consider all the people, civilians, young and old, as members of the NPA. With such regard and because of the NPA’s garnered mass support, they violate, detain or kill even civilians and children, and declare them as “child warriors”. Through this they will be free of any criminal liability or blemish the NPA’s credibility.

The New People’s Army in North-Eastern Mindanao Region strictly adheres to the international laws of war, Protocol II of the Geneva Convention and United Nation Convention on the Rights of Children. There is no child warrior within the New People’s Army in North-Eastern Mindanao Region and it fights for the rights and holistic advancement of children.

On the other hand, just last month, it has been proven that minors have been recruited by the AFP when a 16-year old member of the paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) under the command of the 29th IB PA, died during a firefight in Lianga, Surigao del Sur last 7 June 2011. Another 29th IB PA soldier Pfc. Tagiliran also died in said ambush, while a PFC Gadoli was wounded.

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