AFP’s Center for Law of Armed Conflict condemns CPP-NPA IHL violations

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The CPP-NPA terrorists have once again violated the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as they continue perpetrating their heinous atrocities against the Filipino people.

Two minors, ages 12 and 13, were killed while an adult civilian was wounded in an attack by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Brgy Roxas, Catubig, Northern Samar, February 08, at around 3:00 p.m. According to reports, the rebels indiscriminately fired upon government troops from Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade despite civilians’ presence in the forested area.

The terrorists, alleged to be members of Front Committee 15 of Sub-Regional Committee “Arctic” of Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, under Rosalina Esponilla, alias Megan, were encountered by troops of 803rd Infantry Brigade who were patrolling the area after receiving reports that Catubig-Las Navas Complex residents are being routinely terrorized and extorted by said terrorist group.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro S Nacnac, Director of Armed Forces of the Philippines Center for Law of Armed Conflict (AFP-CLOAC), said the IHL is meant to protect the civilians during armed conflict between government forces and non-state armed groups, and what transpired in Catubig violates RA 9851 Sec 4 B1 and C1 which addresses unlawful killing and intentionally directing attack against civilians.

The civilians killed and injured in Catubig were hit at the back, indicating that the civilians were not capacitated or in any way trying to protect themselves.

As a course of immediate action, AFP higher headquarters has instructed unified commands, JTF and QRTs to gather substantial evidence of extortion hoping witnesses will surface to testify.

From 2010-2020, 1,506 recorded cases of IHL violations committed by NPAs have already been forwarded to Commission on Human Rights (CHR). When asked about the status of these cases, Brig. Gen. Nacnac cited hindrances in persecuting IHL violators, as relayed by CHR, such as the time limitation of evidence for the filling of Multiple Murder cases as well as IHL/RA9851 cases.

Relatedly, CHR has promised to conduct its independent investigations against the violations committed by the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs). On the other hand, CHR will give out financial assistance to the victims once IHL violations have been clearly proven.

Brig. Gen. Nacnac encouraged the public to report human rights violators, specifically non-state armed groups, whom he regards as the real hindrances towards total progress of the country. — PA

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