Sun. May 22nd, 2022

The government is investigating 1,500 incidents of international human rights violations committed by communist terrorist groups (CTGs), according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday.

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The cases have just been endorsed to the Administrative Order (AO) No. 35 committee by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Center for Law of Armed Conflict.

“We are currently going over the files,” Guevarra briefly told reporters via text message.

The violations consisted mainly of attacks on civilian properties, willful killing of civilians/non-combatants, children involved in armed conflict, and use of anti-personnel mines.

“These violations transpired between 2010 and 2020,” AO 35 Secretariat officer, Assistant State Prosecutor Gino Paolo Santiago, said in a statement.

The reports were submitted during the recent 14th regular meeting of the The Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons (IAC).

The review will be made until the end of November, focusing on incidents that transpired in Regions IV-A (Calabarzon), IV-B (Mimaropa), and VI (Western Visayas).

Review of incidents that occurred in other regions will begin in 2022.

The IAC was created under AO 35 in 2012, chaired by the DOJ Secretary.

Aside from the AFP, the other IAC members are representatives from the Presidential Human Rights Committee, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Ombudsman, Commission on Human Rights, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Guevarra also previously ordered the National Prosecution Service to do an inventory of cases covered by amnesty proclamations, subject to evaluation and the concurrence of the Congress while the NBI has the authority to conduct case build-up on foreign terrorists.

“Time and resources permitting, the DOJ will review thousands of other cases, too,” Guevarra told news agency Reuters last month.

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