CPP-NPA rebels are human rights violators: Army official
ILOILO CITY – The top official of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) of the Philippine Army asserted that the true violators of human rights are the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army terrorists.
On the occasion of Human Rights Day on Friday, Maj. Gen Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3ID, said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Department of Justice, and United Nations are aware of the atrocities committed by these groups.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Center for Law of Armed Conflict has submitted to the CHR 1,672 violations committed by the CPP-NPA from 2010 up to the first semester of this year.
In October this year, an additional 166 violations were recorded, consisting of 16 cases of recruitment and use of child combatants, 10 cases of destruction of civilian-owned properties, 113 cases of anti-personnel mine use, 20 cases of willful killings, and seven other alleged violations of international humanitarian law.
“Let us be wary of these terrorists for they are hiding behind the mask of fake human rights advocates. Let us not be fooled by their deceptive tactics and maneuvers. They are experts in fabricating and propagating false accusations and stories. They are trained to blame and point their guilty fingers at government security forces like us to cover their crimes,” Arevalo said in a statement.
He added that as the legitimate armed forces, the Philippine Army has to defend the people within their area of responsibility.
The 3ID has jurisdiction over Western and Central Visayas.
“We are only fulfilling the people’s cry for justice for all the victims of these terrorist groups' atrocities and terroristic actions,” he said, adding that their offensive against the CPP-NPA is driven by the people’s desire to have a community that is free from violence and terrorists.
Arevalo added that they are also open to any independent investigation, particularly the probe by the CHR on their operations, including the December 1 encounter in Barangay Alimodias, Miagao, Iloilo that left nine CPP-NPA rebels dead.
Scene of the crime operation and Explosives and Ordinance teams who processed the scene of the incident will attest that properties, agricultural lands, and local communities were not subjected to the indiscriminate use of military assets, he said.
He called on the CHR to investigate instead the CPP-NPA’s recruitment of minors.
Based on the testimony of relatives, two of those who died were only 17 years old when recruited to the terrorist movement.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.