Report of UN Office of the Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict Shows Continuing Prejudice and Persistent Falsehood Against the Revolutionary Movement

The Special Office for the Protection of Children (SOPC) of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) takes strong exception to the false and biased reports of the UN Office of the Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict (SRCAC) on the so-called recruitment and use of children by the New People’s Army (NPA).
After consultations with its regional representatives, the SOPC has confirmed that the allegations by the UN SRCAC of recruitment and use of children by the NPA in 2012 are baseless. Those claimed to be child soldiers were civilians whom the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had illegally arrested, detained and tortured or killed during military operations on what the Manila government calls “peace and development projects” against communities suspected of supporting or under the influence of the revolutionary movement.
All of these children happened to be in areas close to where armed encounters between the AFP and the NPA took place. One was killed because of indiscriminate gunfire by AFP soldiers; others had been traumatized by artillery and aerial bombardments and were arrested while attempting to seek refuge in nearby communities.
The AFP practice of targeting children in communities and presenting them as child soldiers was again exposed on 23 June 2013 by the Mindanao Human Rights Action Center (MinHRAC) when they presented to the media three teenagers who were arrested and detained by the AFP in Kulasi, Sultan Kudarat, for purportedly being rebels when they were actually refugees who were attempting to return to their homes with adult companions to get their belongings after having evacuated from their community due to an armed encounter between the AFP and the NPA.
We urge the UN SRCAC to advice its Philippine Country Task Force for Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) to be more discerning and circumspect in the performance of its functions by exercising basic due diligence and not relying solely on reports by agencies of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) such as the AFP, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
The CTFMR as befitting its mandate should investigate the situation on the ground by talking to the people in the concerned community – the parents, teachers, independent human rights groups and even local officials. The illegally arrested and detained children have suffered enough and should not be coaxed or coerced into making false statements and incriminating admissions while in the presence of GPH officials.
We also urge the UN SRCAC and its country task force to submit their findings to the SOPC of the NDFP for appropriate verification and investigation of such reported alleged recruitment and use of children by the NPA. We deplore the fact that while the AFP is given an opportunity to respond, the NDFP through its SOPC has not even been informed of such allegations.
The NDFP has issued its Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children. The policies and program of the NDFP to protect the rights of children are clearly stated in this document. This document is strictly followed by all the allied organizations of the NDFP, which include the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines. ##
Head, Special Office for the Protection of Children
Member, NDFP Negotiating Panel

NDFP Office for Children Condemns Continuing Violations of Children’s Rights

Head, Special Office for the Protection of Children
16 March 2013
Today, 15 years after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the Special Office for the Protection of Children (SOPC) of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) strongly condemns the continuing violation of children’€™s rights by the armed forces of the Government of the Philippines (GPH). These violations are the following:
  1. The gang-rape of a 17-year old girl (whose identity has been withheld to protect her privacy) on 11 October 2012 in Rizal Province. The girl and her 13-year old cousin were invited by three soldiers, Pfc. Alexander Barsaga, Pfc. Ronnie Castro and PVT Rocky Domingo, to attend the anniversary of the 16th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. Inside the camp, the soldiers forced the two minors to eat cake and drink juice spiked with drugs that made them unconscious. The three soldiers then raped the 17-year old. When she woke up, she was feeling dizzy and her private parts were in pain. Later, in her home, she started manifesting behavioral changes. Her relatives brought her to the hospital which confirmed that there was laceration in her genitalia, indicating she was indeed raped.Her family filed charges of rape and child abuse against the three soldiers. The three soldiers began threatening the girl and her family, saying something bad would happen to them if they did not withdraw the charges. The family informed the battalion headquarters about the rape, but the headquarters officers did nothing to hold the soldier-rapists to account. Instead, the family met with more harassment and intimidation from the culprits.Because they could not get justice for the girl, concerned citizens and well meaning individuals in the province of Rizal approached the revolutionary movement in Rizal. Upon their request, the prosecutors of the revolutionary movement filed charges of child abuse and gang rape against the three soldiers. The charges were filed at the People’s Court. An investigation was conducted by the people’€™s prosecutor and the three soldiers were formally indicted and warrants of arrest have been issued against them by the people’s court.
  2. On 11 March 2012, six year old Rodelyn Aguirre was killed and her four year old sister was wounded by an explosion of an M79 grenade that came from a launcher belonging to the 61st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, who were camped in Barangay Tacayan, Tapaz, Capiz. Fact finding missions of human rights organizations and an independent investigation by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) were conducted. Despite the strength of evidence gathered by human rights organizations, the chief of the Tapaz Philippine National Police (PNP) and officials of the Manila government’s Commission on Human Rights based in Iloilo City, denied the findings and instead, they put the blame on the New People’s Army (NPA).
  3. On 21 December 2012, 17 year old Grego Guevarra was riding a motorcycle, together with his friend, Eliseo Lopez. They were passing through Barangay Tayuman in Aurora, Quezon when they came upon a checkpoint. The checkpoint was manned by drunken soldiers who initially allowed them to pass but decided to stop and arrest them. They were brought to the camp of the 74th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, in Mulanay, Quezon, together with others who were also arrested by the drunken soldiers. They were interrogated the entire night. They were blindfolded. But they kept protesting the arrest of Grego who was a minor. He and the others arrested with him were accused of illegal possession of firearms, such as machine guns, ammunition and bombs, which were obviously planted. In the early morning of 26 December, those those arrested were brought to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Special Intensive Care Area (BJMP-SICA). Trumped-up criminal charges were filed against them, including Grego who is still a minor.
These three incidents are just a few cases of the continuing violations of children’€™s rights by the armed forces of the reactionary Manila government in the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, the US-designed counter-insurgency plan that is aimed at rendering the revolutionary movement inconsequential by 2013.
The Special Office for the Protection of Children of the NDFP continues to monitor and document the violations of children’s rights by the GPH. At the end of the year, it will issue a report on these violations as well as the work of the Special Office and other agencies of the NDFP in protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of children.

NDFP Condemns the Unabated Killings of Children by the Aquino Regime


Special Office for the Protection of Children
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
25 October 2012
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) strongly condemns the Benigno Aquino regime for the unabated killings of children in pursuit of its anti-national and anti-people US-dictated policy of neoliberal globalization, complemented by the US-designed counter-insurgency plan, Oplan Bayanihan.
This was again demonstrated in the massacre of the family of Daguil Capion on 18 October 2012 in Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, which killed his pregnant wife, Juvi; two children, Jorge or Pap, 13 years old, and Jan-Jan, seven years old; and wounded another, Becky, five years old.  The killings were perpetrated by soldiers of the 27th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo.
Daguil Capion is a B’laan tribal leader.  He and Juvi are members of Kalgad, a Lumad organization militantly oppose to the mining operations of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), a multinational company with huge investments from Xstrata Plc, a Swiss company based in the United Kingdom, and Indophil Resources, an Australian company.
A few days later, while Becky and another child, Ressa Piang, 11 years old, surviving witnesses to the massacre, were on their way to meet with Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez in Marbel, South Cotabato, they were intercepted by a certain Josephine Malid of Tribal Foundation, an SMI supported NGO, and brought instead in a vehicle owned by SMI to the office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.  It is reported that the two children have finally been transferred to the Social Action Center of Marbel Archdiocese after protest by the children’s grandmother.
The collusion between the Aquino regime and foreign mining companies in the plunder of the country’s mineral resources, destruction of the environment, the killings of Lumad tribal leaders, and forced evacuation of indigenous communities from their ancestral lands, which victimizes both adults and children alike, is well proven by the above incident.
In Bukidnon, they have even put up a so-called New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR) headed by a certain Butsoy Salusad, a paramilitary group affiliated with the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) of the 8th IB, PA, AFP.  NIPAR has been responsible for the killing of several Lumad leaders, the forced evacuation of indigenous communities, and the hostage-taking since 7 October 2012 of the wife and four children (aged 9, 6, 4 and nine months) of Sitoy Manlus-ag, purportedly to persuade him and his family to return to their village and support the “good works” of the mining, logging and plantation operations of foreign and comprador companies in Bukidnon.
The NDFP holds the Aquino regime responsible for the unabated killing of children in the course of violating the social, economic and cultural rights of the people.  This puppet, brutal, corrupt and mendacious regime shall soon be exposed for what it really is, aside from being a big violator of the rights of children.
For the National Democratic Front of the Philippines:
Special Office for the Protection of Children
Ms. Coni Ledesma, Head
Approved by:
NDFP Negotiating Panel
NDFP Human Rights Committee