Group to monitor AFP compliance with IHL, children protection law

Nov. 15, 2012

Press Release
14 November 2012

DAVAO CITY – Children’s rights group Kabiba Alliance for Children’s Concerns vowed today to visit villages in Paquibato District to monitor and verify if the soldiers under 10th Infantry Division-Philippine Army have already vacated barangay halls, daycare centers and other civilian facilities as they have occupied.

Kabiba is one of the various civil society organizations that joined the Peace and Humanitarian Mission conducted in Brgy. Pandaitan, Paquibato District last October 6 this year and documented the actual encampment of the elements of 69th Infantry Battalion in the barangay hall and daycare center.

“We saw right before our eyes on how the soldiers have made the barangay hall and daycare center as their detachment. We have a video documentation which was presented to the media,” said Kabiba Program Officer Lovey Caragao.

Kabiba also interviewed the daycare teacher in the Pandaitan who lamented on the disruption of classes and that some of the pupils were not attending their classes for fear of heavily armed men in uniform and possible encounter with armed rebels.

“This is an attack on school and a violation of children’s democratic right to education. The military also violates Article 12, Part IV of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl) that protects civilian population especially children against risk and dangers posed by the presence of military camps in populated areas and Section 22-e, Article X of Republic Act 7610 otherwise known as the “Special Protection of Children Act” that prohibits the military to make public structures such as schools and health centers as their command posts, barracks, detachments and supply depots,” Caragao said.

“Our calls for an immediate pullout of military units in all schools and civilian facilities and communities for the safety of the people especially children prompted the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsiod to issue a resolution urging the Armed Forces of the Philippines to relocate their detachments in Paquibato District particularly those set up in barangay halls and other public buildings in Barangays Pandaitan, Lumiad and
Mabuhay.  And we commend our local legislators for such child-friendly move,” she added.

Kabiba noted that since the start of the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan/Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) the military has violated human rights, international humanitarian law and rule of law with impunity, which prompted the children’s rights group to come up with a monitoring system on various cases of violations especially against children that will be reported to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and appropriate local agencies for immediate and proper actions.

The children’s rights group is one of the conveners of Save Our Schools (SOS) campaign which aims to continue to raise public awareness about community schools under attack and to generate a public discourse on state responsibility and accountability to provide basic and quality education for all and to pursue the prosecution of those members of the state security forces who violate human rights, IHL and the rule of law.

For reference:
Lovey Caragao
Kabiba Program Officer

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