The New People’s Army and officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines, collectively referred to as a communist terrorist group, may be compelled to indemnify victims of their human rights abuses and atrocities in the amount of billions of pesos, a spokesman for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, said on Wednesday.
Undersecretary Severo Catura, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat (PHRCS), explained that under existing local and international laws, particularly the International Humanitarian Law, 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 No. 9851, or the “Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity” signed into law on 11 December 2009, Catura said 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 damages 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 CTGs,” Catura, also NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on Human Rights, Peace Process and international Engagements stressed.
“It is high time that they are held accountable for their spate of willful killings, their destruction of government and private property, their use of children as combatants, their internal purges, and their wanton disregard for human rights,” Catura added.
“Already, the AFP has submitted a list of CPP-NPA atrocities and the same shall be judiciously acted upon, and 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,” Catura said.
The ICRC is a major partner of the Philippine government in the EO 134 Ad Hoc Committee for the State’s continued observance of IHL, co-chaired by the Department of National Defense and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Likewise, we shall inform the appropriate United Nations body, through the UN Resident Coordinator and the Senior Human Rights
Adviser in the Philippines of this development,” Catura said. He reminded that no less than the UN 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.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Center on the Laws of Armed Conflict (AFP-CLOAC) revealed last Monday that the CPP-NPA was responsible for 1,506 atrocities and IHL violations recorded from 2010-2020.
AFP-CLOAC Director, BGen. Jose Alejandro S. Nacnac told newsmen that this proves without a doubt that there is “ a nationwide pattern of organized, orchestrated, continuing, deliberate, and systematic scheme perpetrated by the Communist Terrorist Group which justifies their designation as a terrorist organization.”
The AFP has consolidated 532 incidents of destruction of civilian-owned properties by the CTGs. An example of which was the attack in Taganito Mining Corporation in Claver, Surigao Del Norte in 2011 resulting in the destruction of the facilities and several pieces of equipment. Another group of rebels attacked the nearby Platinum Metals Group Corp. also in Claver. Three hours later, another mine site operated by another Taganito company, Taganito HPAL Corporation, was also attacked by the rebels.