The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has condemned the deaths of two children, 12 and 13 years old, who were caught in a crossfire when soldiers were reportedly ambushed by alleged fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA) last Feb. 8 in Catubig, Northern Samar
In a statement issued on Sunday, Feb. 13, the CHR said it will conduct its own investigation to determine who are the persons or groups of persons liable in the incident.
Published reports identified the two dead children as Andre Mercado, 12, and Leandro Alivio, 13. The same reports also stated that two other civilians were wounded.
Philippine Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade civil-military officer, Capt. Valben Almirante, was quoted in the reports: “Our patrolling troops were on the same location with the victims when the NPA launched an attack. We are on the area responding to reports that the NPA has been doing extortion activities.”
The CHR said the International Humanitarian Law assures the protection of civilians, particularly children and women, in armed conflicts.
The deaths of the two children, it said, are violations of the IHL and the right of life of every citizen.
In the Philippines, the commission said the children’s deaths are violations of Republic Act No. 9851, the Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.