On recent attacks by police and military forces against children

Philippine police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has revealed his anti-children’s rights mindset yesterday in an interview over the alleged 10-year old daughter of a supposed couple which the police claim to be responsible for the January 27 Jolo bombing.

In an Inquirer news story, Albayalde revealed that among the reasons the police were hunting for the said young girl was that “she can also be a potential suicide bomber once she grows up.” This baseless persecution of a child is completely unjustifiable and must be strongly denounced.

By regarding the child as a suspect for a potential crime, Albayalde revealed his crass stupidity and complete ignorance of children’s rights. He revealed his fascist mindset where he thinks martial law gives him the prerogative to trample on everyone’s rights, including the rights of children to be protected from the adverse consequences of armed conflicts.

With this Duterte-inspired mindset, state security forces have been assaulting children’s rights with impunity. Over the past three years, more than 100 children below 18 years old have been killed in police Tokhang operations.

Under Oplan Kapayapaan, the AFP has displayed complete disregard of the well-being of thousands of children in the conduct of their bombing raids and military operations which have repeatedly forced entire communities to flee their homes. Scores of children have been traumatized in the relentless attacks by military forces against community-based Lumad schools in Davao del Norte and elsewhere. Last January 30, two young children aged 1 and 2 years old, were taken in by the police and detained for at least one week after raiding a home in Cagayan de Oro serving as office of a local peasant organization. A few days ago, a Red-tagged mother with her 3-month old infant were arrested without warrant, detained in a military camp in Bukidnon and refused legal counsel.

These abuses are capped by Duterte’s push to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old with the aim of justifying the killing of children in police operations. The recently-signed Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict will be used to clamp-down on legitimate organizations and institutions providing social service to children which the military has invariably tagged as “NPA recruiters.”