Families must be protected against radicalization by communist terrorist groups (CTGs) at all costs as they play a major role in achieving just and lasting peace.
Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Executive Director, Undersecretary Severo Catura, made the remark during the “Tagged: Debunking Lies by Telling the Truth” virtual presser on Monday.
“Peace advocates, which include we, in government, recognize that the Filipino family is a key player in the quest for just and lasting peace. The Filipino families of indigenous cultural communities (are) a significant stakeholder in peace advocacy. I ask our friends in the media to join us in preserving and protecting our families by helping unmask and report the glaring threats to the safety and security of our families, especially our IP (Indigenous Peoples) families,” he said.
Catura, who is also National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) spokesperson for international affairs, peace process, and human rights concerns, was referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army’s (CPP-NPA) continued recruitment of IPs to their movement and their radicalization.
“Lift up the banner of the Philippine Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which are instruments that recognize the right to peaceful family life. In the same manner, I call on the international communities and like-minded organizations to help us in this campaign,” he said.
Catura earlier noted that the destruction of families, especially those of IPs, due to communist terrorist recruitment and radicalization, is the reason why the government is pushing hard to end the threat posed by the CPP-NPA.
“This destruction of our families is actually what drives the state, our government to end the local communist armed conflict because it will always be our responsibility to quell all continuing threats to the right to life, liberty, and security of persons, especially of our children in IP communities,” he added.
In the same briefing, Catura said the government is diligent in fulfilling its role as a protector of human rights.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines Center of Law on Armed Conflict (AFPCLOAC) submitted data showing the rescue of child combatants of the CPP-NPA indicates the state’s diligence in pursuing its mandate as protector of our people’s human rights,” he said.
The AFPCLOAC earlier said the CPP-NPA has recruited and used 544 children as “child warriors” from 2010 to 2020.
Of the 544 children, 304 are male and 240 are female.
Six of these “child warriors” were reported killed while another 11 were wounded during encounters with security forces.
Meanwhile, 25 victims were reported as abused by communist terrorists while 464 have surrendered to authorities.