NPA recruited 544 minors for armed conflict since 2010 — AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Human Rights Office (AFPHRO) reported on November 26, 2020, that 544 minors have been used and employed by communist terrorist groups (CTG) in armed conflict since 2010.

UNMASKING REDS’ RECRUITMENT. Col. Joel Nacnac (2nd from left), chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Human Rights Office, submits a report on the New People’s Army’s recruitment of children and involving them in armed conflict, to representatives of the Commission on Human Rights on Thursday (Nov. 26, 2020). The report said 544 minors have been used and employed by communist terrorist groups in armed conflict since 2010. (Photo courtesy of AFP Public Affairs Office)

Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata, AFP public affairs office chief, said data collected by the AFPHRO from field units covering children involved in armed conflict, provided a factual and verifiable basis for the report.

The figures, which had been recorded as of this date, are expected to rise as AFP units continue their inquiry and tender reports on the activities of non-state armed groups.

Zata added that the AFPHRO submitted to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for appropriate action, a report citing evidence of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) recruitment of children and involving them in armed conflict.

Chief of AFPHRO, Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, said the CPP-NPA-NDF’s (Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA – National Democratic Front) manipulation of minors has shown a nationwide pattern of organized, continuing, and systematic scheme of misuse and abuse of children.

“The rebel group has been repeatedly using minors to actively participate in hostilities to advance their struggle. They violate the rights of the children and subject them to situations that could cost them their lives. These unlawful activities constitute (a) violation of (the) Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, as well as local laws, such as RA (Republic Act) 7610, RA 9851, and RA 11188,” Nacnac said.

As part of its mandate, the AFPHRO continues to monitor human rights and International humanitarian law violations committed by non-state armed groups, such as the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Its rebellion is the longest-running armed conflict in the Philippines with its armed components committing violent activities through the use of guerilla tactics for more than 50 years.

Meanwhile, AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Gilbert Gapay, lauded the efforts of the AFPHRO for continuously exposing the CTGs for their persistent disregard of human rights and the use of children in their illegal activities.

“We hope that the CHR will take immediate action on the report submitted by the AFP Human Rights Office. It is our fervent desire to put an end to the immoral and unlawful utilization of our youth by the CPP-NPA-NDF to advance their armed struggle without regard (for) their well-being,” Gapay said.

The AFP remains committed to the rule of law and steadfast in upholding its constitutional duty to protect the people against all forms of threats, and let lasting peace and security prevail.

The CPP-NPA-NDF is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Priam Nepomuceno, PNA)

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