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AFP is accountable for the death of children in Datu Piang, Maguindanao

Children’s Rehabilitation Center, a child rights organization here in Southern Mindanao strongly condemned the random bombings made by the Armed Forces of the Philippines particularly the Philippine Airforce last September 8, 2008 in Datu Piang, Maguindanao which killed 6 civillians including 4 innocent children who were evacuating their community on board a motorboat.

Based on reports, killed were Aida Mandi; 23 years old, and her children Bailyn; 10yrs old, Zukarudin; 7 years old, Adtayan; 5years old and Faida; 2years old. The father, and another son are stil missing.

Advocacy Officer John Birondo said that the war launched by the government against the MILF clearly doesn’t solve the problems of the Moro people but instead worsened the conflict situation in Mindanao and only adds up to the counts of gross children’s rights violation.

Birondo said “the way towards peace in Mindanao is made dim by the government in its callous action of declaring war. It is very depressing that innocent civilians especially children are the ones who were suffering the consequences of such brutal actions.

“Many lives of children are already ruined and lost, thus we demand that the government should act on its mandate in protecting the children and uphold their rights”, he added.

Birondo expressed grave concern on the statements of Col. Marlou Salazar of the 601st Brigade and Maj. Gen. Hernanie Perez of Philippine Airforce 3rd Air Division labeling the children victims as child combatants of the MILF.

“The military officials are just making an excuse and justifying their cold blooded violations committed against the children. The situation of the children will be worsened with the AFP’s statement thus making children as legitimate targets of the AFP’s indiscriminate military offensives” he said.

Children’s Rehabilitation Center held the AFP and the Arroyo Government particularly the Philippine Airforce 3rd Air Division who conducted the aerial bombings accountable for the death of the children and violating the children’s rights.