‘NPA owes billions in indemnities’
By Catherine S. Valente / The Manila Times
THE Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) may be compelled to indemnify victims of their human rights abuses and atrocities that could reach billions in pesos, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) said on Wednesday, as it renewed the government’s resolve to deliver justice to the families of those killed by the communist rebels in its more than 50-year insurgency.
NTF-Elcac spokesman Severo Catura, executive director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat, said the whole country should ask the CPP-NPA to account for their abuses and compensate their victims.
Catura said under the existing local and international laws, particularly the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), “parties that are found guilty of such abuses and atrocities committed in a situation of internal armed conflict may be compelled by the courts to indemnify their victims.”
Under Section 14 of Republic Act 9851, or the “Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity” signed into law on Dec. 11, 2009, the courts follow the principles relating to reparations, including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation, and determine the amount of the same based on the scope and extent of the damage inflicted.
“However, regardless of the amount that shall be determined and demanded by the courts, it cannot equal the pain and suffering brought about by past and present human rights abuses and atrocities perpetrated by the communist terrorist groups,” Catura said.
“It is high time that they are held accountable for their spate of willful killings, destruction of government and private property, use of children as combatants, internal purges, and wanton disregard for human rights,” he added.
Catura said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has submitted a list of CPP-NPA atrocities “and the same shall be judiciously acted upon.”
“We shall likewise refer the matter to the International Committee of the Red Cross that has ably guided our Armed Forces in the strict observance of IHL in their line of duty,” he added.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, in its report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, mentioned human rights abuses and atrocities committed by the NPA.
On Monday, the AFP-Center on the Laws of Armed Conflict (AFP-Cloac) said it recorded 1,506 atrocities and human rights violations committed by the communist rebels in the last 10 years.
These acts include the abduction of 544 children and forcing them to be child warriors. Six of these children were killed in armed encounters.
AFP-Cloac Director Jose Alejandro Nacnac said the military documented 532 incidents where the NPA destroyed civilian property.