BUTUAN CITY – The Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion (58th IB) filed charges against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for human rights violations before the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) in Cagayan de Oro city.
In a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin Sunday night, 58th IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) Officer First Lt. Jefferson M. Mariano said the filing of charges was attended by Col. Michelle B. Anayron Jr, Assistant Division Commander (ADC) for reservists and retirees affairs of Fourth Infantry Division (4th ID), Lt. Col. Ricky L. Canatoy, commanding officer of 58th IB, and 4th ID Judge Advocate of 4th ID Rainer Rhett G. Concha.
The charges, filed last November 18, were received by CHR Region 10 Director Jeanne Ivy Abrina.
The military sued the NPA for violation of Republic Act 9851 otherwise known as Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocides, and other crimes against humanity, particularly on minor recruitment and burning of civilian-owned vehicles.
Citing surrenderers, who were of minor age, the military said the CPP-NPA took advantage of their vulnerability, and promised them a brighter future in return for using them in the armed conflict against the government.
Charges of recruitment of minors, as well as for the recent burning incidents in Claveria and Balingasag, both in Misamis Oriental, were filed against the commanders and staff of Sub-Regional Committee 1(SRC1) and CPP-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional, Mariano said.
Last October 6, the NPA burned three equipment owned by Del Monte Philippines Inc. in Sitio Talambao, Barangay Bulahan, in Claveria town, and, last October 8, the terrorist group also burned two heavy equipment in Barangay Napaliran, in Balingasag town.
Also, on November 8, a whole squad of NPA members surrendered to 58th IB. Among the surrenderers were minors.
“This is our first filing of case against the NPA and we are on the process of compiling and consolidating pertinent documents on other NPA’s violation on Human Rights and IHL,” said Canatoy.
“Their leaders must answer to these accusations and should be liable for all the committed atrocities and minor recruitment because he is the authorized person to direct and instruct his men to commit such act,” he said.
“This filing reiterates the government’s desire to put an end to the minor recruitment scheme of the CTGs as well as their atrocity towards civilians and civilian properties,” the 58th IB commander said.
“To the terrorists, better stop what you are doing because the law of the government will never permit you. But, if you insist, we will use force to hunt you down,” Canatoy ended.