Warning out vs kids in combat

/ 08:45 AM February 09, 2014

MANILA, Philippines— The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat) on Saturday warned groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and others involved in armed hostilities to stop recruiting children into their ranks.

Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, some of them obviously in their teens, are shown in this photo taken inside the BIFF camp in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province on Friday. JEOFFREY MAITEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Iacat chair, expressed alarm over reports that teenagers, some as young as 15 and 16, were among the casualties in recent skirmishes between government troops and BIFF guerrillas in Mindanao.


“Any form of recruitment of children to aid armed conflict is a reprehensible practice and is rightfully condemned by all nations,” said De Lima in a statement.

“Children used as combatants suffer in a number of ways, most of them suffer in silence. It is incumbent upon us to put an end to these horrors,” De Lima, a former head of the Commission on Human Rights, added.


De Lima said the leaders of the BIFF would likely face human trafficking charges under Philippine laws.

She cited Republic Act No. 9208, the 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which states that recruiting, transporting or adopting a child to engage in armed activities in the Philippines or abroad is considered human trafficking.

This is elevated to “qualified human trafficking” if “by reason or on occasion of the act of trafficking persons, the offended party dies,” the law further states. Jerome Aning


Palace hits use of child soldiers by rebel group

3 BIFF child fighters die in clashes

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, biff, Iacat, Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, Leila de Lima
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.