LFS-Lanao Feeding Mission

Children’s Rehabilitation Center
Southern Mindanao Regional Office

Press Statement:
September 16, 2008

The Armed Forces of the Philippines consistently sings the same old tune as excuse for their merciless actions

The AFP is again using their same old lines of “collateral damage” and tagging children as “child soldier”, as alibi to escape from accountabilities of violating children’s rights.

These lines were again used by the AFP particularly by Col. Marlou Salazar of the 601st Brigade and Maj. Gen. Hernanie Perez of Philippine Air Force 3rd Air Division after the September 8 incident when 6 person including 4 children with an age range of 2 years old to 10 years old, were killed after an OV-10 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force randomly bombed the civilians who were on board a motor boat, evacuating from their community in Barangay Tee, Datu Piang, Maguindanao.

The AFP is habitually known of using it as an excuse every time they commit atrocities against civilians especially children, just like what happened to Grecil Buya, the 9 year old girl child whom they killed and tagged as child combatant . They alleged that Grecil was doing a maneuver with an M16 riffle while shooting at the soldiers. When their allegation was proven wrong by the parents and friends of Grecil, they immediately justified that Grecil was just caught in crossfire of a legitimate encounter between the AFP troops and the NPA, thus making her a collateral damage.

The lives of civilians especially the children are put into grave danger with these arrogant yet cowardly excuses. These would mean that children will become legitimate targets of the government troops who are already known of their cold blooded human rights and children’s rights violations. The arbitrary military actions that the AFP launched and to be launched will continue thus, there will be no distinction between their armed enemy to the civilians. In fact, these scenarios are already happening in Mindanao amidst the escalation of the military offensives ordered by President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo.

Based on report, there are already 21 civilians killed including 7 children and 13 others including 7 children were wounded due to indiscriminate firing and indiscriminate artillery shelling and bombings perpetrated by the government troops particularly under the 601st Brigade.

The present all out war of the Arroyo administration in Central Mindanao has already affected and displaced more than 360,000 Moro and Christian individuals and they are still increasing.

We, together with other child rights organizations held the Arroyo government liable for the escalating conflict in Mindanao which only victimized civilians especially women and children.

As civil society organization, we demand justice and indemnification for the victims brought about by the callous actions committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the leadership of President Arroyo. Prosecution should undertake to those who are liable for violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

We challenge the Commission on Human Rights under the leadership of Commissioner Dillema to conduct a speedy and impartial investigation on the death of innocent civilians particularly children and to the other human rights violations, and to file appropriate charges to the perpetrators.

The government forces as well as the MILF forces should stand firm in protecting the civilians especially the children, in undertaking military action by observing and respecting the protocols of war as stipulated in the Geneva Conventions.

The government should be serious in realizing its mandate in protecting the children as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which the Philippine Republic ratified, by means of initiating the resumption of peace talks with the MILF.

We call for the stoppage of war in Mindanao and for the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

For Reference:
John Birondo
Advocacy Officer
Contact no. 09184417947

10 September 2008

For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119


“The deaths of women and children, the evacuation of hundreds of
thousands and the destruction of communities: This is what President
Arroyo’s obstinate DDR framework for peace has spawned. Only the
callous and the inhumane would insist for the AFP’s pursuit operations
and indiscriminate aerial bombings to continue.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party representative Liza Maza as she
called for the immediate resumption of peace negotiations between the
government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, not on President
Arroyo’s DDR or disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation
framework but on a policy of peace that recognizes basic human right
and international protocols for the conduct of war.

Following the deaths of Aida Manunggal and her four children in the
indiscriminate bombing of Datu Piang communities, the militant
lawmaker sought an investigation into the Armed Forces of the
Philippines’ conduct of its pursuit operations in the ongoing military
offensives in Mindanao.

“With their aerial bombings and indiscriminate firing, the AFP has
continued to harm more civilians than their purported targets,” said
Maza who is set to file a resolution this week.

Maza noted news reports where a pregnant woman, Aida Mandi, 18, along
with Bailyn, 10, Zukarudin, 7, Adtayan, 5, and Faiza, 2 died Monday
morning as they were fleeing military bombardments in Datu Piang,
Maguindanao. Last August 28, the Children’s Rehabilitation Center –
Southern Mindanao Region reported that indiscriminate bombing in
Sambulawan, Midsayap that led to the death of 9 year old Homidi
Abdurrahman and injured his 7 year old sister Samera Abdurrahman.

“For as long as the AFP’s all-out war and military offensives
continue, peace remains an even more unconceivable concept for
Mindanao, especially for women and children victims of this conflict.” #

11 September 2008


For Reference:
REP. LUZ C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Abby Valenzuela (Public Information Officer) 0915-7639619

Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan condemned today the
irresponsible attack of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a
civilian area in Datu Piang, Maguindanao last Monday, which killed six
people, wounded and displaced many others, in the continuing effort to
hunt Moro Islamic Liberation Front Commander Umbra Kato.

“What the AFP did is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law
which states that the State is responsible for the protection of the
people living in conflict areas and not participating in the war. They
are especially accountable for the safety of women and children who
are the most vulnerable targets of war. As it turned out, it is the
supposed guardians who violated this law,” the Mindanaoan solon said.

“The government should conduct an investigation into the irresponsible
actions of its military, especially after reports that the forces
hunting down the MILF used bomber aircrafts to indiscriminately fire
at civilians resulting to the death of six members of the Manunggal
family, including four children and an unborn child.”

Ilagan wants the government to immediately conduct an investigation
and punish the military personnel involved in this recent atrocity to
give justice to Aida Mandi Manunggal, 23, pregnant, and her children
Bailyn, 10, Zukarudin, 7 Adtayan, 5 and Faida 2.

The victims, along with their neighbors in Barangay Te, were caught in
the crossfire and were fleeing for safer ground on board a banca when
an OV-10 aircraft dropped a bomb which exploded near their location.
Their bodies, once recovered, were riddled with shrapnel.

Manunggal’s husband, Daya, and her son, Khneg, both wounded, are still

“To stop the human rights violations against innocent people in
conflict areas, the Malacanang should immediately order a ceasefire
and a pull-out of AFP troops from Mindanao,” Ilagan said.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: