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Safety of families gov’t's goal in ending communist terrorism

By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency

Undersecretary Severo Catura, Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Executive Director (PNA File photo)

MANILA – The destruction of families, especially those of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs), due to communist terrorist recruitment and radicalization, is the reason why the government is pushing hard to end the threat posed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (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," said Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Executive Director, Undersecretary Severo Catura, during the June 21 episode of "Tagged: Debunking Lies by Telling the Truth".

Catura said the government is very much appalled with the destruction of families in the IP communities when children there are taken away and dragged into a life of terrorism and violence by the CPP-NPA.

"The Lianga incident is a case that our former child combatants, parents of child combatants, and former NPA themselves have been trying to tell us for so long in their own desire to protect their communities from threats to their peace that unfortunately is not consistently carried by news reports, hence, atrocities by the perpetrators continue," said Catura, who is also National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) spokesperson for International Affairs, Peace Process, Human Rights Concerns.

He was referring to the three IP members, one of whom was a minor, who were killed in an armed encounter between government forces and NPA rebels in Sitio New Decoy, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town on June 15.

"For so long they have been trying to tell us that their children have become so immersed in hate and extremist violence facilitated by front organizations that have been identified by our IP leaders today and by instruments like their training camps disguised as IP schools that are behind these immersions of indigenous children to hate and extremist violence. Note that this immersion had been used as gateways to introduce our children in the use of assault rifles and landmines like the landmines used to kill the Absalons in Masbate," he said.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

"Likewise, we stand together with former child combatants, parents and families of child combatants, human rights defenders, civil society, and the (IPs) of Lianga in reiterating calls for the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) to return children to their families and for front organizations to refrain from taking children away from their families, away from their indigenous cultural communities," Catura said. (PNA)



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