November 30, 2023

An official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) lauded the Commission on Human Rights’ condemnation of the New People’s Army over its continued use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In a statement, NTF-Elcac secretariat executive director Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. said the rebels’ continued use of the weapon is a wanton violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

He added the CHR’s unequivocal rebuke of the NPA is most welcome, especially since the IEDs were detonated near schools which caused trauma to learners.

“We are in solidarity with the CHR in condemning the NPA’s vicious acts and violation of the IHL. The NPA’s use of IEDs in zones of peace, such as schools, exhibit their moral depravity and blatant disregard for the lives of the Filipino people, particularly the Filipino youth and students,” Torres said.

In an April 3 statement, the CHR scored the NPA for launching attacks and detonating IEDs near schools that are “peace zones” and must be free from threats of harm.

“This violent act goes directly against the very principles of the IHL. We further note that according to news reports, the IED was detonated near a public elementary school in Barangay Locso-on, leaving two soldiers and a minor injured,” it added.

The CHR added the United Nations Human Rights Council had previously observed that “the continued use by NPA of mines and IED that kill and maim civilians in wanton violation of IHL is unacceptable.”

In the recent clash between government forces and communist terrorists in Placer, Masbate, the NPA placed several IEDs near a public school, indiscriminately targeting soldiers and civilians.

“No ideology can justify the endangerment of the right to life, liberty, and security of the Filipino people. We have always called for the end of armed conflict and the grave consequences it imposes upon those involved and those affected. Time and again, we have witnessed the harrowing impacts and violations to the fundamental human rights and dignity these encounters bring to society,” the CHR added.

Torres assured the public the NTF-Elcac is in accordance with the CHR’s call for a just and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict and denunciation of all forms of violence and terroristic acts that endanger the lives of the Filipino people. – PNA