Response of the NDFP to the UN Secretary General’s Report (June 2015) on Children Rights Violations in the Philippines

26 July 2015
The United Nations Secretary General commits a grievous act against Filipino children in his latest report on Children Rights’ Violators. He covers up the numerous grave violations of the regime and its armed forces against the basic rights of children.
He has ignored the regular reports of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) through its Special Office for the Protection of Children, to the UNICEF. The reports provide detailed documentation of violations of children’s rights by the regime and its armed forces.
The latest report was presented this July 2015.
Some examples are herein stated; documentation is available at the Joint Monitoring Committee’s Joint Secretariat in Quezon City, Philippines.
In addition, KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights) documented, from July 2010 until December 2013, 132,633 victims of children rights’ violations with the use of schools, medical, religious and other public places for military purposes by the regime’s armed forces. In addition, KARAPATAN also documented 18 cases of extrajudicial killings victimizing minors during the same period.
The UN Secretary General’s Report perfunctorily mentions that “the United Nations verified the military use of six schools and one hospital by the armed forces, mainly during operations against the BIFF.” It makes no mention of the regime’s Department of Education Memorandum No. 21 of December 13, 2013 which adopts in toto the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Letter Directive No. 25 of July 15, 2013. This AFP directive allows the military to conduct civil-military operations inside schools. This violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the regime’s own Republic Act 7610. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself declared, “The use of schools for military purposes puts children at risk of attack and hampers children’s right to education.”
Using this Department of Education (DepEd) Memorandum and AFP Letter Directive, the military has been able to attack or misuse 20 DepEd Lumad (Indigenous Peoples) schools in Mindanao alone in 2013 and 2014. Up to now, there is the continuous attack and closing down of Lumad schools by the military. The cases of such attacks are cited in House Resolution No. 2138 filed by Representative Terry L. Ridon, Kabataan Party List, on 1 June 2015.
UN Secretary General’s Report is unfair and unjust in its references to the New People’s Army (NPA). The reference to an alleged NPA recruiter of two minors involves mere unproven allegation and is speculative. It jumps to a judgment even as the reported case is supposedly under investigation.
The reference to parents in rural areas sending their children to urban areas is purely malicious speculation and innuendo. It covers up the fact that extreme and widespread poverty drives children in both rural and urban areas to become street children in urban areas. It also covers up the fact that the Aquino regime’s Conditional Cash Transfer program, supposedly intended to help the poor and keep the children in school, is a milking cow for corrupt bureaucrats and military officers.
The UN Secretary General does not take into account the NDFP’s Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children, issued by the NDFP National Council on 24 April 2012. This NDFP policy document declares the NDFP’s willingness to cooperate with such international organs as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO World Health Organization, World Food Program and other UN agencies for the purpose of upholding the rights of children, protecting them and ensuring their welfare in an all-round way.
The UN Secretary General should also consider the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of 1998 and the NDFP Declaration of Adherence to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol I of 5 July 1996 and the earlier NDFP Declaration on 15 August 1991 adhering to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, Protocol II and International Humanitarian Law.
In view of the above-stated adherence to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols and the principles and consistent practice of the NDFP in adhering to IHL, we strongly object to the UN Secretary General’s listing the NPA in its Annex II List of Parties that recruit or use children … and as “persistent perpetrator”. We likewise object to being classified and lumped together with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).