Sun, 21 Apr 2019

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Jan. 23 -- "The Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) committed a blatant violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and IHL (CARHRIHL)."

This was the statement of Brigadier General Andres Centino, commander of the 401st Brigade, as he cited groundless demand of the said terrorist group in exchange of the two soldiers and 14 Cafgu Active Auxiliaries (CAAs) who were abducted in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur last December 19, 2018.

BGen. Centino said the statement of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) which demands for a ceasefire before they will release the victims is proof enough that they are using the soldiers and CAAs as hostages in order to demand for the stoppage of military operations in the area.

"The 14 Cafgu Active Auxiliaries and two soldiers are used as human shields by this local terrorists up to this date," said Centino.

Centino reiterated that based on the provisions of the CARHRIHL, "persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed 'hors de combat' by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria."

"It also stated that persons who do not participate anymore in hostilities shall not be used as hostages by any party. Likewise, CARHRIHL also protects the victims against 'violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture," he added.

It can be recalled that on January 18, the CPP-NPAs terrorist released a statement to the media blaming the AFP for the non-release of the soldiers and CAAs.

"If they truly care, the CPP-NPA can release their hostages at any time without calling for any ceasefire. They do not need a ceremony, they just need to let their victims walk away, I'm sure the soldiers and CAAs know where to go when released," said Centino.

It was learned that the family of the victims last December 2018 have filed a human rights complaint with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Caraga Regional Office for the CPP-NPA's violations of the victim's rights particularly on the right to be visited by their loved ones or to have communications with them.

These rights are all guaranteed by the IHL and CARHRIHL where the CPP-NPA was a signatory to the agreement. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

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