AFP’s HR complaints against NPA are invalid—CPP

CPP Information Bureau, October 21, 2021

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for fooling the public by making invalid claims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (HR/IHL) against the New People’s Army (NPA).

This is the reaction of CPP Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena to the complaints filed by the AFP before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) last week. According to reports, these complaints include the use of explosives and destruction of private property.

“These complaints of the AFP are largely invalid because most of these revolve around legitimate battles between the AFP and NPA, or are incidents involving the implementation of policies of the revolutionary government especially with regard protection of the environment,” said Valbuena.

Valbuena said it is wrong for the AFP to count their casualties in armed battles as victims of human rights violations. “International humanitarian law recognizes that combatants are killed or get wounded in battles within the context of armed conflicts, and that no rights are violated as long as only the necessary force is employed to force the other side to lay down its arms.”

Valbuena also asserted that the use of command-detonated explosives (CDX) are legitimate and are in accordance with the Ottawa Treaty banning the use of landmines that are triggered by contact or proximity of the victim.

Based on news reports published in Ang Bayan, the NPA deployed CDX only against legitimate military targets. The case where civilians an NPA armed action last June victimized civilians in Masbate City was an exception, which the local NPA unit claimed responsibility for. The incident has been placed under the investigation of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) which has authority over such matters.

“AFP claims of NPA child recruitment is also baseless,” said Valbuena. “Many of the children whom the AFP claim to be ‘child soldiers’ are in fact victims of the AFP, many of whom were with their parents who were made to line up for social aid but were depicted as ‘surrenderees’ in the AFP’s press releases.”

Last July, 18 village minors in Baleno, Masbate, were forced by the 2nd IB to “confess” to being members of the NPA and later presented as “surrendered child soldiers.”

Valbuena reiterated that the NPA has a minimum age requirement of 18-years old. (CPP Information Bureau)