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Army supports NCIP-Zambales’ plan of suing CPP-NPA for recruitment of minors

Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – The 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, supports the plan of National Commission on Indigenous People- Zambales Legal Officer Atty. Roman Antonio in filing charges against the CPP-NPA bandits on its continuous recruitment of child combatants and exploitation of the members of the Aeta tribe in Central Luzon.

In a statement, Atty. Antonio disclosed that the office of NCIP Zambales received complaints from a concerned Aeta mother claiming that she saw children ages 10-14 inside a house swearing allegiance to the CPP-NPA’s flag administered by the known NPA members in the Aeta community.

With the incident, Atty. Antonio said that he is planning to file appropriate charges against the NPA recruiters of the Aetas in Zambales at the local prosecutor’s office in violation of R.A 9851 or An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes against Humanity or with the International Criminal Court.

“I am willing to get all the affidavits and necessary documents proving the existence of the CPP-NPA’s recruitment of Aeta minors as their combatants. This is alarming because we have information that there are 12-14 years old (all girls) who are still in the hands of the NPA,” said Atty. Antonio.

“If necessary, why not file a case against the CPP-NPA-NDF in violation of Rule 136 of IHL and other relevant laws? I will refer this to my boss with the National Office, if he gives me the go signal, then I’ll go for it,” he added

Similarly, a report of the same reached the 7ID Headquarters confirming the information following the capture of the five (5) NPA Aetas including one (1) minor last August 21 in Zambales.

With these, the troops of 7th Infantry Division stressed their support to the NCIP-Zambales plan in suing the members of the CPP-NPA who recruit and exploit the members of the Aeta tribe in Zambales.

The continuing gross and systematic violation of the human rights of our children is a blatant violation of the right of children under R.A 11188 or The Protection of Children in Armed Conflict.

Aside from violation of R.A 11188, the CPP-NPA recruiters also violated Section 4, (24) (iii) Chapter 3 of RA 9851: “Using children under the age of eighteen (18) years to participate actively in hostilities”; the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and its 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict stating: “Armed groups distinct from the armed forces of a country should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities anyone under 18”; Customary International Humanitarian Law Rule 136: “Children must not be recruited into armed forces or armed groups”.

Yet, despite all these gross violations, the CPP-NPA is hypocritically claiming to be the protector of children when they issued a Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children on April 24, 2012.

In Central Luzon, 140 former rebels belonging to the Indigenous People surrendered to the military from 2016-2020, 20 of whom are Aetas.

The alarming number of Aeta surrenderors proved the exploitation of the vulnerabilities of our Indigenous People by the CPP-NPA. These surrenderors who have availed the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government and now living normal lives, revealed the misery they experienced inside the terrorist organization.

"The 7ID adheres to the national and international laws, treaties, and agreements, on the contrary, the CPP-NPA-NDF are blatantly violating them and have been endangering the lives of our children for five decades by indoctrinating them to be violent individuals and used them to attain their objective of overthrowing the government. We cannot stay passive anymore, this communist terrorist group is destroying the lives of our youths, and the country’s future”

"The 7ID adheres to the national and international laws, treaties, and agreements, on the contrary, the CPP-NPA-NDF are blatantly violating them and have been endangering the lives of our children for five decades by indoctrinating them to be violent individuals and used them to attain their objective of overthrowing the government. We cannot stay passive anymore, this communist terrorist group is destroying the lives of our youths, and the country’s future,” according to 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Alfredo V. Rosario Jr.

Marble Surface

Civil Relations Service, AFP

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