Children claimed as NPA fighters are victims of AFP fake "surrenders"

The claims of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of more than 500 children recruited as NPA combatants are completely false.

This is as false as the AFP’s claims of thousands of NPA “surrenderees” which has surpassed even its own estimate of the number of NPA members.

As we have emphasized in the past, the NPA prohibits the recruitment of combatants below 18 years old.

In contrast, the AFP has repeatedly violated children’s rights in the course of its dirty counterinsurgency war. It has become a common occurrence that children are forced to line up with their parents to be listed as “NPA surrenderees.”

Children who have been made to “surrender” are being kept as captives and used in the AFP’s propaganda drive, portraying them in the media as “child warriors” or worse as victims of “sex slavery.” Many are forced to serve as guides in AFP combat operations and perform other tasks under pain of military’s reprisal.

Children have not been spared from the AFP’s armed attacks against communities and aerial bombardment drives.

We cite the recent incident of a 10-year old child who was hit on the foot when soldiers belonging to the 88th Infantry Battalion opened fire at residents harvesting corn last October 16 in Barangay Indalasa, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

Another incident occurred last October 28 when two children were almost hit by bullets when troops of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion strafed their homes of residents of Barangay Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur.

We challenge the AFP to submit this so-called “verifiable report” to the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) instituted by the GRP and the NDFP to receive complaints of violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

In addition, we challenge the AFP to submit its report to an international body such as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) who can probe into these claims independently. We can work with the UNCRC if need be to counter-verify these claims.

Children claimed as NPA fighters are victims of AFP fake "surrenders"