AFP denies using children in operations
MANILA, Philippines—Surprised by a United Nations report that said it was among the armed groups in the country that used children in their operations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reiterated it was not its policy to endanger the lives of children in conflict zones.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said Tuesday that according to the UN report, it was the Abu Sayyaf, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and New People’s Army that “were considered persistent perpetrators” because they had been reported to have recruited and used children in situations of armed conflict for the past five years.
Tutaan said it was actually the military that initiated an investigation into the allegation that the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion had forced two boys to serve as guides to help find an NPA camp in North Cotabato in July 2012.
The military, he said, found that the battalion had not committed an infraction.
Tutaan assured the public the military would not use children in its security operations.
“We are 101-percent committed to preventing the use and exploitation of children in armed conflict,” Tutaan told reporters.—Nikko Dizon