MANILA – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has vowed to investigate the 1,506 atrocities and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), collectively known as communist terrorist groups (CTGs), from 2010 to 2020.
This, as Brig. Gen. Jose Alejandro S. Nacnac, Director of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Center for the Law on Armed Conflict (AFPCLOAC) on May 20 submitted to CHR Commissioner Karen Dumpit a list of hundreds of willful killings perpetrated by the CTG for the same ten-year period.
“Commissioner Dumpit said they will forward the cases to their regional offices for their investigation. They now have a total of 1,506 cases to investigate. The gathering of other cases are ongoing,” Nacnac said, adding that the recorded CTG atrocities grow by the day.
Nacnac first made public the list of atrocities during the regular press conference of the NTF-ELCAC dubbed as TAGGED: Debunking lies by telling the truth on May 17.
Meanwhile, Makabayan bloc members at the Lower House of Representatives are mum on the AFP report. They have not responded to the Philippine News Agency when sought for comments on May 21, 2021.
Undersecretary Severo Catura, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on human rights, peace process, and international engagements, said the CTG may be compelled to indemnify victims of their human rights abuses and atrocities in the number of billions of dollars.
Catura, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat (PHRCS), said under existing local and international laws, particularly the IHL, parties that are found guilty of such abuses and atrocities committed in a situation of internal armed conflict may be compelled by the courts to indemnify their victims.
Under Section 14 of Republic Act No. 9851, or the "Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity" signed into law on 11 December 2009, Catura said the courts follow the principles relating to reparations, including restitution, compensation, and rehabilitation, and determine the amount of the same based on the scope and extent of damages inflicted.
“However, regardless of the amount that shall be determined and demanded by the courts, it cannot equal the pain and suffering brought about by past and present human rights abuses and atrocities perpetrated by the CTGs,” he added.
“It is high time that they are held accountable for their spate of willful killings, their destruction of government and private property, their use of children as combatants, their internal purges, and their wanton disregard for human rights,” he said.
Both Gen. Nacnac and Catura claimed that they shall likewise refer the matter to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that has ably guided the AFP in the strict observance of IHL in their line of duty. The ICRC is a major partner of the Philippine government in the EO 134 Ad Hoc Committee for the State’s continued observance of IHL, co-chaired by the Department of National Defense and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Likewise, we shall inform the appropriate United Nations body, through the UN Resident Coordinator and the Senior Human Rights Adviser in the Philippines of this development,” Catura said. He reminded that no less than the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, in its report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, mentioned human rights abuses and atrocities committed by the NPA.
The AFP has consolidated 532 incidents of destruction of civilian-owned properties by the CTGs. An example of which was the attack in Taganito Mining Corporation in Claver, Surigao Del Norte in 2011 resulting in the destruction of the facilities and several pieces of equipment. Another group of rebels attacked the nearby Platinum Metals Group Corp. also in Claver. Three hours later, another mine site operated by another Taganito company, Taganito HPAL Corporation, was also attacked by the rebels.
Recently, a total of 289 incidents of willful killing were consolidated by the AFP-CLOAC. These killing incidents committed by the CTGs during the ten-year period caused the deaths of 77 soldiers and 296 innocent civilians or a total of 373 victims of assassinations.
Besides conducting terrorist attacks, records show that the communist group was responsible for the recruitment of 464 child warriors who were rescued by government troops from their hellish plight.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PR)