EDITORIAL - Child soldiers
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2013 - 12:00am

Once again, the Philippines finds itself in a dishonor roll, as one of just 11 countries where “persistent perpetrators” of the use of children in armed conflict operate. It is particularly dishonorable for the country that the Armed Forces of the Philippines deserved special mention in a recent United Nations report for allegedly using children on two occasions last year in connection with combat operations. AFP counterinsurgency operations were also blamed for the deaths of two boys in Davao del Sur in October last year.

The “persistent perpetrators” identified by the UN in this country were the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf. This means the three have been on the list of perpetrators drawn up by the UN secretary-general for at least five years. The MILF, NPA and Abu Sayyaf join groups such as the Afghan Taliban in the dishonor roll. The UN has expressed hope that ongoing peace initiatives with the MILF will improve the protection of children in conflict areas.

The government has no control over the use of children by the NPA and Abu Sayyaf in their operations. What the government can do is prevent the AFP from following the example of the armed groups. The AFP has not yet shed its image as a violator of human rights. Faced with reports of engaging in extrajudicial executions, the AFP has insisted that the fatalities were killed in the course of legitimate counterinsurgency operations.

The use of children in the course of armed conflict can only worsen negative public perceptions of the AFP. Simply making children act as lookouts – something that the NPA, MILF and Abu Sayyaf are known to do – puts the children in harm’s way. The AFP can win hearts and minds by doing what the enemy doesn’t do, and leading the way in protecting children.

 

ABU SAYYAF AFGHAN TALIBAN AFP ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARMY AND THE ABU SAYYAF CHILDREN DAVAO MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT NEW PEOPLE UNITED NATIONS
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with
Read and share the latest news
whenever and wherever you are.
Top Stories
Features the most relevant stories,
exclusive content, analyses and special reports.
As It Happens
Get bite-sized highlights and up-to-date
information as the news breaks.
Latest
View the most recent
stories of the day.
Log-in
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,
consectetur adipiscing elit.
Quisque justo est, auctor vel ullamcorper.
Log-in
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,
consectetur adipiscing elit.
Quisque justo est, auctor vel ullamcorper.
How to follow As It Happens stories
STEP 1
Click the story in the As it Happens section.
How to follow As It Happens stories
STEP 2
Click "Follow Story" for updates on the news.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam eu metus vitae felis tincidunt finibus ut id sapien. Integer volutpat dui eu malesuada dignissim. Sed varius justo nulla, fringilla convallis sem porta sed.
How to follow Author
STEP 1
Click on the author's name in the article.
How to follow Author
STEP 2
Once you click on the author's name, you will be
brought to the Authors page. Click "Follow Author"
to stay updated on the author's works
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam eu metus vitae felis tincidunt finibus ut id sapien. Integer volutpat dui eu malesuada dignissim. Sed varius justo nulla, fringilla convallis sem porta sed.
How to follow Tags
STEP 1
Click on a tag in the article.
How to follow Tags
STEP 2
When you click on a tag, it will take you to the
dedicated tag page where you'll see the article
viewed, along with other stories with that tag.

Click the "follow tag" button to stay updated on
the topic.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam eu metus vitae felis tincidunt finibus ut id sapien. Integer volutpat dui eu malesuada dignissim. Sed varius justo nulla, fringilla convallis sem porta sed.