‘Over a hundred int’l humanitarian law violations attributed to communist guerillas first half of 2021’

JUST IN

BAGUIO CITY (August 13,  2021)—The military recorded an additional 111 cases of International Humanitarian Law violations by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Ranging from using child warriors, destruction of civilian properties, unabated use of landmines and willful killings only in the first semester of 2021 on top of the 1,506 violations committed since 2010,  the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) bared in observance of the International Humanitarian Law Day (IHLD) on August 12 and the whole month of August as IHL Month (IHLM) as mandated by Executive Order No. 134 of 1999 in support of tje IHLD and IHLM .

Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, Director of the AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict (AFP-CLOAC) cited that with these new IHL violations added to the 2010 to 2020 cases, the number of heinous crimes by the communist underground ballooned to 1,617.

Nacnac also said that the 1,506 IHL violations previously committed by the local communist movement from 2010 to 2020 are now being formally investigated by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).   These cases, the military officer said, were also submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be passed on to local courts that have jurisdiction over them—with charges of violating the country’s localized human rights laws including Republic Act (RA) 9851.

These atrocities, which are deemed heinous under the various Protocols of the Geneva Conventions, continue to increase as the CPP-NPA-NDF “become more desperate and ruthless, with the recent incidents involving torching a number of heavy equipment in Northern Samar owned by construction companies tasked to finish government projects in the province,” Nacnac said.

The AFP-CLOAC said it has recorded 1,617 IHL violations, of which 309 were incidents of willful killings, 199 incidents of using anti-personnel mines (APMs), 560 incidents of children involved in armed conflict, 542 incidents of destruction of properties, and 7 other IHL violations.   A total of 458 people were reportedly killed in these incidents.

Nacnac claimed “the number of casualties (injured or killed) from the NPA rebels’ willful killings hit 405, 32 of which happened only during the first semester of this year.”   The AFP-CLOAC report showed that out of these casualties, 325 were civilians and 80 were from the military.  Region 13 recorded the highest number of alleged willful killing incidents with 52.

Communist guerillas have killed a total of 42 and wounded 217 people using anti-personnel mines (APMs) which is prohibited under Ottawa Convention of 1997 or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty. These include the killing of football star Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven in Masbate City on June 6,  Nacnac also cited.

Nacnac also said that of the 560 incidents of using children as armed combatants, 8 were killed, 11 were wounded, 5 were rescued, and at least 470 surrendered. Nacnac also said that 119 of these incidents happened in Region 11.

He added that out of the 542 incidents of destroying civilian properties, 117 incidents happened in Region 13 alone.

Artemio A. Dumlao