Celebrate the 45th Founding Anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines

The NDFP Declaration and Program of Action for Filipino children

Article Index
The NDFP Declaration and Program of Action for Filipino children
Optional Protocol and Paris Principles
Program of Action on children
Cooperation on children's rights

NDFP declaration on children_29 june 2012By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Member, National Council and National Executive Committee
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

See below for photos of press conference

Of the estimated total Philippine population of 95 million, about 42% are below 18 years of age. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) which fights for the national and social liberation of the Filipino people has consistently given serious attention to the rights, protection and welfare of children. In 2005, it published the NDFP's Defense of the Rights of the Filipino Child, which presented the conditions of Filipino children and the programs and policies of the NDFP regarding them.

The NDFP is cognizant of the fact that the overwhelming majority of children are the sons and daughters of workers, peasants and the urban poor. They are victims of an unjust social system which consigns them to a life of exploitation, poverty, ignorance, malnourishment, disease and underdevelopment as human beings. They are forced to sell their labor. Some are lured into prostitution and pornography, kidnapped and trafficked for body parts, pushed into vagrancy, beggary, petty thievery and drugs, and jailed with hardened criminals.

Data on Filipino children and the reports of NDFP forces from various regions prove that the conditions of Filipino children are worse than ever. In 2011, there were already 5.5 million child workers. In Northeastern Mindanao, children as young as five years old become log haulers, oil palm gatherers, coconut tree climbers, planters, harvesters, manual laborers carrying packages heavier than themselves.

Children living in the streets were estimated by the Children's Rehabilitation Center (CRC) at 2.2 million in 2010. Some 20,000 children are in prison throughout any single year according to Child Rights Information Network.

From 2001 to 2010, CRC documented 1,205 cases of different violations which include the false labeling of 41 children as child soldiers of the New People's Army, the use of 22 of them as guides or shield in military operations and the recruitment of four minors into paramilitary groups of the reactionary government.

In 2011, four female minors were seduced by the military and later abandoned into pregnancy in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. At the Tropicana Beach Resort in General Santos City in 2008-2009, girls were brought as prostituted women to cater to US soldiers. US armed personnel directly involved in combat operations in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Zamboanga del Sur have displaced and killed Moro civilians including children.

The NDFP regards the continuing gross and systematic violations of the human rights of the majority of Filipino children by the ruling system of big compradors and landlords as one of the compelling reasons for the revolutionary struggle of the Filipino people. Such violations have been aggravated by the deliberate targeting of these children in GRP/GPH military operations against communities suspected of being under the control and/or supportive of the revolutionary movement.

In view of the ever worsening conditions of children, the NDFP issued on April 24, 2012, its Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children.

The NDFP proclaims this Declaration and Program of Action within the framework of its political authority defined as follows:

  1. It stands for and carries the authority of the people's democratic government consisting of organs of political power in substantial parts all over the Philippines. It is the united front organization of all revolutionary forces of the Filipino people fighting for national independence and democracy. It includes the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as the leading party in the aforesaid government, the New People's Army (NPA) as its armed force, and various mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, professionals and other sectors.

  2. There is dual state power in the Philippines. One state power is that of the Manila-based reactionary government of big compradors and landlords. The other is that of the rural-based revolutionary government of workers and peasants, which has its own Constitution and Guide for Establishing the People's Democratic Government. The two contending states or governments are co-belligerent forces in a civil war.

  3. In accordance with Art. 1, paragraph 4 in relation to Art. 96, paragraph 3 of the 1977 Protocol I Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the NDFP issued the Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the said Geneva Conventions and Protocol I on 5 July 1996 and submitted it to the proper depositary, the Swiss Federal Council on the same date. By proclaiming the said Declaration, the NDFP has assumed rights and duties under Protocol I, on top of those provided for under common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and under its Protocol II.

The pertinent social agencies of the people's democratic government and the mass organizations of children, parents, teachers, women and other sectors interested in the rights and welfare of children in urban and rural areas are capable of self-reliantly looking after the rights and welfare of Filipino children. They also adhere to the just and appropriate conventions and provisions of international law pertaining to children and may undertake appropriate forms of cooperation with foreign or international organizations and agencies for the benefit of Filipino children.

The NDFP reiterates its commitment under the 1998 GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) to uphold, protect and promote “the right of children and the disabled to protection, care and a home, especially against physical and mental abuse, prostitution, drugs, forced labor, homelessness, and other similar forms of oppression and exploitation” (Part III, Respect for Human Rights, Art. 2, No. 24). It also reiterates its joint and separate commitment under the CARHRIHL “to provide special attention to women and children to ensure their physical and moral integrity. Children shall not be allowed to take part in hostilities.” (Part IV, Respect for International Humanitarian Law, Art. 10).

Cognizant of the rigors and risks for children in areas affected by the civil war, the NDFP and its allied organizations have taken special care to make decisions and implement measures to protect children from the adverse consequences of the armed conflict.

In 1988, the Political Bureau of the CPP's Central Committee stipulated that the NPA may recruit only persons who are 18 years and older as armed fighters for its combat units. On October 15, 1999 the Executive Committee of the CPP issued the “Memorandum on the Minimum Age Requirement for NPA Fighters” reaffirming the minimum age of 18 for NPA fighters. In 2002, at the 11th Plenum of the CPP Central Committee, the policy of the minimum age was reiterated.

The earlier Memorandum of October 15, 1999 by the Executive Committee of the CPP was further amended with immediate effect as reflected in the NDFP Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children adopted by the NDFP National Council on April 24, 2012.

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