CPP congratulates Front 88 for Agusan raid and rescue of six minors; condemns AFP for arming minors

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
May 30, 2012

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today congratulated the New People's Army (NPA) Front 88 operations command for successfully carrying out a raid of three armed detachments of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Sitio Tambo, Barangay Binikalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur that resulted in the rescue of at least six minors ranging from 12 to 16 years old who were conscripted as CAFGU members by the AFP.

In a radio interview, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP-Mindanao) spokesman Jorge Madlos ("Ka Oris") said a company of NPA Red fighters carried out the raid before 4:30 this morning and succesfully overran the detachments being manned by CAFGU personnel under the Philippine Army's 4th ID. The NPA has been receiving complaints from local residents against abuses being carried out by Army soldiers and CAFGU personnel in the San Luis detachment.

The NPA unit seized at least 18 firearms including one M-16 rifle, three M-14 rifles, 12 M-1 Garand rifles, one carbine, one 9mm pistol, several magazines and bullets. Unfortunately, at least one of the minors was hit in the neck after he engaged in a firefight with the NPA fighters. The assistant commanding officer of the CAFGU unit and his civilian girlfriend were also wounded. The commanding officer immediately fled when the firefight started.

After extending basic emergency care, the NPA left the six minors to the responsibility of the local community and urged them to oppose the AFP's policy of recruitment of minors in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and international prohibitions.

The CPP condemned the AFP for recruiting minors as armed CAFGU personnel. "The AFP continues to recruit, arm and assign minors in dangerous situations in outright violation and direct contempt of the CARHRIHL, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and protocols of international humanitarian law."

"In coordination with international and local children's rights advocates, the NDFP-Mindanao and other interested parties can initiate a complaint before the CARHRIHL Joint Monitoring Committee, appropriate international bodies and other agencies against the AFP and the Aquino regime for violation of the CARHRIHL and international statutes prohibiting the recruitment, training and arming of children as armed soldiers," said the CPP.

The CPP added: "As the leading authority in Mindanao, the NDFP-Mindanao can receive and prepare all the necessary details concerning the case of the six minors recruited as child soldiers by the AFP, even as the identity and rights of the children against undue public scrutiny and attention are respected."

"The recruitment, training and arming of minors as CAFGU and Army personnel expose the empty human rights rhetoric of the Aquino regime and the AFP under its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression," said the CPP.

"The AFP is having a hard time in recruiting new personnel. CAFGU detachments of the AFP are often undermanned. Units of the fascist Philippine Army have resorted to the forced conscription of local community youth and children to make up for the lack of personnel," added the CPP.