The National Security Commission (NSC) has predicted that the communist insurgency movement in the country would significantly weaken during the first quarter of 2023.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) denounced the alleged abduction of two pregnant members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Butuan City.
In a statement, the NSC quoted national security adviser Clarita Carlos as saying the remaining five guerilla fronts would be “decimated” in the next four months.
Carlos made her prediction in a presentation of the year-end accomplishment reports by the National Task Force to End Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in Malacañang.
“She said despite various logistical challenges, only five guerrilla fronts remain and are expected to be decimated by the first quarter of 2023,” the NSC said.
Carlos cited the importance of sustaining the momentum of the NTF-ELCAC to ultimately end the insurgency.
According to the NSC, Carlos ordered the NTF-ELCAC to complement its peace agenda with an implementation plan to dismantle all guerilla fronts within 2023.
The three-day conference was designed to determine the status of the projects and initiatives of the task force at the regional, provincial, municipal, and barangay levels.
Reports identified the two abduction victims as Aurily Havana and Jennifer Binungkasan, and were said to have been missing since their alleged abduction in Barangay Libertad, Butuan City on Nov. 3 by members of the Philippine Army.
“Noting the reported condition of the allegedly abducted women, CHR CARAGA has proceeded in conducting an independent motu proprio investigation of the case,” the CHR said.
The CHR, however also adverted to an article released on Jan. 10 January stating that the two women surrendered to the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) in Las Nieves, Butuan, along with two other rebels.
The report stated that during the surrender ceremony, the town officials provided the pregnant women with medical attention, as well as food packs and livelihood assistance in line with the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to former rebels.”
According to the CHR, enforced disappearance or the arrest, detention, abduction, or any form of deprivation of liberty carried out by government agents or by duly authorized persons or groups following refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty, is a serious human rights violation.
“As we ascertain the veracity of these pieces of information, we stress that regardless of a person’s sex, gender, political affiliation, or any status, all humans are entitled of their rights,” the CHR stressed.
While the Philippines has yet to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, Republic Act No. 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 already criminalizes this practice, thus making enforced and involuntary disappearances punishable by law,” the agency said..
“CHR continues to stress its stance against armed violence. At the same time, as we continue to seek a more durable solution in achieving peace, respect for human rights is a constant, non-negotiable value that all sides—government and rebels alike—should always uphold.”