AFP chief calls for stronger coordination with human rights bodies

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General Gilbert Gapay, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has urged military forces to improve coordination with human rights organizations such as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in identifying human rights violations committed by communist terrorists.

On January 15, he gave the directive during the year-end Command Conference, which was attended by top military officers.

“Let us endeavor to raise all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law to legitimate organizations that are mandated to protect and promote the well-being of non-combatants,” General Gapay said.

The AFP had previously submitted a report to the CHR and requested its assistance in investigating 532 occurrences of attacks on citizens and their property perpetrated by the communist terrorist organisation since 2010.

The same report was also presented to the United Nations (UN) by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines.

The AFP also presented a report to the UN and CHR last year documenting a roster of juvenile combatants hired by the communist terrorist organisation.

According to the document signed by AFP Human Rights Office Chief Colonel Alejandro S. Nacnac, the CPP-NPA-NDF used and exploited 544 juveniles. As per the report, the said group exploited these so-called child warriors in its military activities.

“It is now the time to unmask the New People’s Army and their front organizations for who they are–human rights violators and purveyors of violence towards civilians,” General Gapay said.

General Gapay chastised communist terrorist leader Jose Maria Sison, who had previously urged NPAs to carry out killings in metropolitan areas.

“Let us empower civilian agencies and work together with them in ensuring that pertinent laws are respected and the full weight of the law pressed upon the violators,” General Gapay added.

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