MANILA – Relissa Lucena, mother of Alicia who has allegedly been recruited by leftist groups, on Saturday called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to act on the cases of minors being “taken away” by the organizations that have links to the communist movement.
In an interview, Lucena said parents like her only want for the immediate return of their children.
“It is not a matter of paniniwala (belief). We want to see concrete actions from them (CHR), we want to give them a chance to act because they’re part of the government, they are getting funds from the government. We want to see the result proving that they’re not leaning with the leftists,” she said.
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia issued a statement on Friday after the anti-communists groups—the League of Parents in the Philippines (LPP), Liga Independencia Filipinas(LIF), League of Youth for Peace Advancement (LYPAD), Coalition for Peace (COPA) and Hands Off Our Children, alongside mothers of students who were reportedly recruited by various militant group—staged a protest rally in front of the CHR headquarters in Quezon City on Thursday.
“In response, we wish to stress that CHR does not support the recruitment of child soldiers in armed conflict consistent with the principles of the International Humanitarian Law and other domestic pieces of legislation pertaining to the protection of children. The concerned parents were also assured of this fact,” de Guia said in her statement.
The anti-communist group earlier slammed the CHR for not taking actions as the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army’s (CPP-NPA) allegedly recruiting child combatants for the armed struggle through its linked-militant groups.
After the rally, CHR personnel held a dialogue with the members of LPP.
De Guia added that the CHR supports activism as an exercise of one’s freedom of speech and expression and denies their support for armed rebellion.
“After the protest, representatives of the said group, led by Remedios Rosadio, were welcomed inside CHR’s premises for a dialogue. Relissa Lucena was also given the opportunity to air grievances after her daughter Alicia was said to have been recruited and kept away by organizations, which the Liga ng mga Magulang claims to have links with CPP-NPA,” de Guia said.
She said the CHR tirelessly advocates that everyone is given the opportunity to enjoy and exercise the full extent of their rights.
“But, at the same time, we equally stress that such exercise of rights has limitations, especially if it veers away from the precepts of the rule of law,” she added.
Meanwhile, Lucena said they are considering the promises made by the CHR—as an independent national human rights institution in the country– that the public can always expect independent and impartial investigations.
“We, the parents, will keep our eyes open because as along the CHR is aware that there’s this kind of recruitment of our minors—as I believe they’re human too and they’re also hurt for the parents—they will take some actions to end the wrong ideologies of the militant groups,” she said.
She added the LLP also hopes the CHR does not support the leftist organizations, instead, they will provide assistance to the Filipino families.
De Guia said the CHR will continue to speak out against abuses and violations even if it is unpopular noting, “with our strong commitment to our independence and to the rule of law, CHR will not be weaponized by any party or group. We shall remain in service of human rights and dignity of all.” (iam/sovereignph.com/PNA)