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AFP denies 80 rebels' surrender in Bukidnon fabricated

MANILA, Philippines - The military today challenged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to prove its claim that the recent surrender of 80 communist rebels was just a fabrication.

Major. Gen. Eduardo del Rosario, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Civil Relations Service chief, said it was the CPP that was resorting to “blatant lies” to fool the public.

“The CPP is resorting to deception and blatant lies about this latest surrender by the NPA (New People’s Army) lumads (members of indigenous groups) in Bukidnon,” he said in a statement.

“In truth the CPP-NPA leadership cannot accept the fact that more and more people are already fed-up of their atrocities,” he said.

Last November 14, a group of NPA members belonging to indigenous groups surrendered to the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion in Maramag, Bukindon.

The CPP accused the AFP of deceiving the public, saying it was fabricated to downplay the supposed growth of rebellion in the area.

“They are made to sign up an attendance sheet only to find out later that they are being accused of being NPA fighters and presented to the media as surrenderees,” CPP said in a statement.

The CPP also urged human rights organizations and civic groups to investigate the surrender and to determine whether the local residents were forced to join the ceremony.

The CPP has asked human rights organizations to investigate the incident.

Del Rosario said human rights organizations should conduct a probe to validate reports that 19 of the 80 rebel returnees were minors, stressing that the recruitment of child warriors is a violation of human rights. - Corazon Miller, Trainee

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Updated November 22, 2011 04:17 PM

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