CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Army's 403rd "Peacemaker" Brigade based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon expressed appreciation to the initiatives and prompt action of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) calling on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA), as non-state armed group, to respect and adhere to the provisions of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
CHR specifically demanded the NPA to stop recruiting minors and cease from utilizing them as child warriors.
In a statement released by CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia, the CHR said, “The Commission strongly denounces the use of child soldiers in armed conflict. Nothing can justify this deplorable practice. Under the International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, even non-state armed groups must respect the prohibition to recruit and use children in armed conflict and hostilities. We remind all armed groups that the use of child soldiers constitutes a war crime.”
The government has been condemning the CPP-NPA for its deception activities in schools and communities to recruit minors for later utilization as child warriors, mostly victimizing Indigenous People youths and students. Parents were crying for the loss of their children as they were taken by CPP-NPA to bear arms and fight the government.
The IP children were promised that their families will be receiving compensation and food supplies upon entry to CPP-NPA. While these seem impossible, many children were deceived and victimized. Former NPA members that have returned to the folds of law and are now leaving a new life with their loved ones can attest to this.
"It pains us to see children’s rights being violated and children being used for the selfish desire of the communist terrorists to take control of the government and bring an end to our democratic system," said 403rd Brigade Commander BGen Edgardo De Leon
"We are hopeful that the investigation of this crime against humanity will commence soon. We shall fully cooperate with CHR in their investigation and provide assistance if necessary. We can help them interview former rebels who were recruited and utilized as child warriors. As soldiers, we reaffirm our commitment to respect International Humanitarian Law in the performance of our constitutional mandate of protecting the Filipino people," De Leon added. (403rd Infantry Bde, PA)
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