The National Democratic Front in the Bicol Region declares its warm acceptance and strict adherence to the NDFP Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children ratified by the National Council of the NDFP last April 24, 2012.
The formal declaration of all revolutionary forces’ protection and advocacy of children’s rights and welfare is due and timely in the face of the more systematic and worsening violations of children’s rights, as brought about by the anti-people and counter-revolutionary program Oplan Bayanihan (OPB) of the US-Aquino III regime.
Our children have no future under the rotten and oppressive semi-colonial and semi-feudal system which past and current puppet regimes continue to defend. Majority of children belonging to families of peasants, workers, urban poor and other oppressed families are deprived of the basic right to education, to enjoy decent homes and care of parents and/or relatives, to adequate food and proper nutrition, and other welfare, and to be protected against violence and abuse. Worse, children are the victims of the AFP and PNP’s atrocious counter-revolutionary campaigns of repression directed by various regimes up to the present.
Bicol Region ranks as the fourth poorest region in the country and is dishonored with the high percentage of malnutrition among children as compared to the national average. Hunger is prevalent among children and this is aggravated by severe militarization in the countrysides and urban centers which impede the daily production activities of the people.
Benigno Aquino III’s regime has done nothing to prosecute and punish the armed personnel of the previous Arroyo regime who are implicated in the violations of children’s rights. On the contrary, the Aquino regime persists with its violent campaign of repression against the revolutionary movement and the people under the deceptive Oplan Bayanihan in order to veil its lack of any significant program to resolve the people’s poverty and slavery.
In the Bicol Region alone, no less than 23 cases of violations of children’s rights were documented by the organization Karapatan-Bicol from June 2010 to April 28, 2012. The AFP’s militarization have resulted to the victimization of more than 90 children. Some of the glaring cases of violations of children’s rights are the following:
1. In the province of Camarines Norte, siblings Michael Mancera (10 years old) and Richard (7 years old) were killed while their sister Leonisa (14 years old) was wounded when the 49th Infantry Battalion butchers under the command of a Lt. Alfie Lee massacred the Mancera family last February 25, 2012 at Bgy. Malaya, Labo town.
2. Seventeen-year old Charlie Borromeo of Bgy. Tibabo, Pio Duran, Albay developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when, while on their way to a barrio dance last April 30, 2012, he and his friend were fired upon by the 2nd Infantry Battalion. His friend Alvin Moratalla (24 years old) was killed.
3. Troops of the 2nd IBPA massacred the Lotino family at Bgy. Nabas-an, Daraga, Albay last October 11, 2010. Wounded was Jenny Lotino (17 years old) while her parents Wilfredo and Evelyn, and cousin Anjo Martos were killed. Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was developed by siblings Alvin (14 years old), Angel (7 years old) and Mariecris (2 years old) after having survived the massacre.
4. In Sorsogon, two female minors were victims of rape by troops of the 49th IBPA and CAFGU on two separate incidents – one perpetrated right inside the battalion headquarters of the 49th IB at Bgy. Rangas, Juban, and another at the 22nd IBPA camp at Sitio Tublijon, Bgy. Rizal, Sorsogon City.
- The first victim is a 15-year old girl repeatedly raped by a PFC Hamandre Flores of the 49th Infantry Battalion on August 2010. Prior to the rape, the victim and her mother approached PFC Flores for assistance, Flores having an anti-communist program “The Good Samaritan” at a local radio station in Sorsogon City. The second victim is a 17-year old girl raped by four CAFGU members at Sitio Tublijon, Bgy. Rizal, Sorsogon City last June 28, 2011.
5. Widespread use by the military of public facilities as barracks, such as schools, daycare centers, barangay halls, churches, and residences of civilians in their conduct of combat, intelligence, and CMO (civil-military operation) operations regarded as “peace and development teams (PDT)”. This directly endangers children’s lives as well as those of other civilians’. Children develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the normalcy of their schooling obstructed.
- At present, the 49th IBPA’s PDT operations continue in 12 barangays of Labo, Camarines Norte, including three more in other towns. Five barangays in the town of Guinobatan, Albay are exploited as “barracks” of PDTs that remain to be conducted in 13 barangays, while PDTs also operate in some barangays of Uson, Masbate.
6.The 9th Infantry Division likewise carries out its “soft approach” in psywar operations that target children in the barrio. In PDT operations, parents and students are rounded up in public elementary and high schools for anti-communist seminars, soldiers organize drinking sessions with the barrio’s youth, court minor girls, distribute their cellphone numbers, feed children with lugaw (rice porridge) and bread, and hand out coins to children in exchange for information on NPA camps.
In contrast with violations of children’s rights perpetrated by the reactionary state’s armed forces, the revolutionary forces of the CPP, the NPA, the local organs of political power, and the various mass organizations strictly uphold the rights and welfare of children.
Women and the youth organize themselves into revolutionary mass organizations. They conduct programs on literacy, launch political and cultural activities, and organize free medical services in cooperation with medical workers of the New People’s Army. Cooperative planting and production is being extensively campaigned in many guerilla fronts across the Bicol Region so as to immediately address food scarcity and malnutrition among children.
The NPA likewise strictly adheres to the CPP’s directive which prohibits recruitment into NPA combat formations of youth below 18 years of age.
It is the NDF-Bicol’s and the whole revolutionary movement’s lasting aspiration to lay out the conditions that guarantee children’s rights and welfare towards the attainment of a genuinely free, peaceful and prosperous society for the children.
Ka Greg Bañares
Spokesperson, NDF- Bicol
29 June 2012