CPDF Statement Congratulating the Launching of the NDFP Declaration and Program of Action For the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children

Simon "Ka Filiw" Naogsan
June 29, 2012

The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) salutes the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for its launching of the NDFP Declaration and Program of Action For the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children today.

It is high time that the practical efforts of the Philippine revolutionary forces to uphold the rights and welfare of children is formally presented to the international community in a formal declaration.

The national minorities continue to suffer national oppression reaching ethnocidal levels. Large scale corporate mining interests and foreign-owned hydroelectric dams and geothermal power plants continue to wreak havoc on the livelihood of indigenous communities, grab their ancestral lands and trample on their right to self-determination.

All these are being carried out through the brutal force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its various armed minions. These serve as protectors of these economic aggression activities. Innocent children and youngsters have not been spared.

Violations of the international protocols on children persist in the mountainous areas. The latest of these military atrocities is the rape of two minors from the depressed mining community of Mankayan, Benguet by the notorious Army Captain Danilo Lalin of the 86th IBPA. Two years ago, two high school students of Lias, Barlig, Mountain Province were victims of attempted rape by elements of the 54th IBPA. A case had been lodged against the perpetrators in the local court but the wheels of justice under this reactionary government grind too slowly.

Last year, a Unicef fact-finding mission documented the occupation by the 54th IBPA of school buildings turned into barracks in Sadanga, Mountain Province, and elsewhere. Aside from this is the occupation of day care centers, barangay halls, dap-ays and empty houses. The persistent presence of armed soldiers endanger civilians, especially young children. Throughout the region, elements of the military have enticed and recruited high school students. Young girls are being targetted by glib-tongued combat-intelligence operatives and enticed to become underaged intel apprentices that report the presence and movements of Red fighters in the communities, for a pittance of free cell phone loads.

Soldiers continue to illegally barge into the houses of peasants in the remote indigenous villages, terrifying children as well as parents by forcing them at gunpoint to reveal the whereabouts of NPA Red fighters. As a variation, in the latest acts aiming to terrorize populations supporting the revolutionary forces, special units of the military have dressed-up and disguised themselves as Red fighters in the desperate hope of deceiving the unsuspecting masses into providing information of their support to the revolutionary government and create an atmosphere of fear to the civilian population. This has caused undue trauma especially on children.

The CPDF will continue to monitor these acts of the AFP that violate the rights of children. The CPDF will endeavor to document these in order to present them to the NDF Special Committee on Children.

The CPDF further holds the military and the US-Aquino regime to account for coddling, abetting, hiding from the public and concealing from the bars of justice such rapist officers as PA Capt. Lalin and other military perpetrators of sexual abuses against minors.

In the face of the intensified national oppression in the Cordilleras, more and more families, clans and tribes, including their best sons and daughters, are being pushed to take part in the revolutionary cause. The indigenous people in the Cordillera and the revolutionary forces will exert every effort to frustrate the evil scheme of Oplan Bayanihan .

The particular rights of indigenous children as likewise the rights of national minorities on ancestral lands, life and natural resources will always be at the core of people’s struggle. The continued trampling of indigenous children’s rights under this Oplan Bayanihan will certainly be exposed and denounced.

The indigenous people’s children are regarded by the national minorities as the future leaders of the hinterland villages. The revolutionary forces continue to afford protection to these minors, providing education on their rights and welfare and instilling knowledge of indigenous practices vital to the perpetuation and development of traditional know-how in the defense of the ancestral domain, livelihood and resources along the course of national liberation and democracy .

These we pledge to our indigenous children.

Long live the National Democratic Front of the Philippines!
Defend the rights and welfare of the indigenous children and peoples!
Fight Oplan Bayanihan, combat militarization in the countryside!