Child-focused civil society groups urge CHR to probe, act on case of 9-year old girl-child killed by military in New Bataan, Compostela Valley

Apr. 08, 2007

KABIBA Alliance for Childrens Concerns in Mindanao
Childrens Rehabilitation Center-Southern Mindanao Regional Office (CRC-SMRO)

07 April 2007

Child-focused civil society groups urge CHR to probe, act on case of 9-year old girl-child killed by military in New Bataan, Compostela Valley

There are compelling findings and evidences that the elements of 67th and 8th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who perpetrated the killing of Grecil Buya Galacio, 9, whom the military and some media identified her as NPA child soldier, could be held accountable for violating domestic and international instrumentalities on childrens rights according to child-focused civil society organizations in the region.

This developed after a Quick Response Team (QRT) led by KABIBA Alliance for Childrens Concerns in Mindanao and Childrens Rehabilitation Center-Southern Mindanao Regional Office (CRC-SMRO) conducted a field investigation at the actual site of incident last 4 April 2007. The teams findings negated the claim of Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command under Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Obaniana that Grecil Galacio was an NPA child-soldier.

It was reported in the media that Lt. Gen. Obaniana justified the killing of Grecil by saying that the soldiers were forced to fire at the child because she was also firing at them using an M-16 rifle during an encounter between the military and New Peoples Army (NPA) at Purok 6, Sitio Simsimen, Brgy. Kahayag, New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province, last 31 March 2007.

However, Honey May Idul-Suazo, Executive Secretary of KABIBA, presented the following major findings from written affidavits of the parents, relatives and neighbors and recorded statements from Eulogio Almasa, Brgy. Captain of Kahayag that:

o Grecil Buya Galacio is a bonafide resident of the area, a civilian and not an NPA combatant;
o Based on Grecils birth certificate, she is just 9-year old and not 12 as officially reported by the military;
o The volume of gunfire came first from the military without any warning to the civilians;
o The presence of gun powder burns on the right side of the back of Grecils head indicates that she was shot at close range. Therefore, this suggests that Grecil was summarily executed; and
o The village children, especially Grecils younger sisters and brother, are deeply traumatized by the incident.

According to Girley Layaguin, Regional Program Director for Southern Mindanao of Childrens Rehabilitation Center (CRC), about 242 children from Purok 3, 5, 6, and 7 were forced to evacuate from their area. The children are traumatized who need special care and psycho-social interventions, she added.

Idul-Suazo said that the incident has called the attention of various child-focused/child-friendly civil society organizations because the brutal murder of Grecil is a concrete violation of the following:

o Article 38, Section 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that the State shall also ensure the protection and care of children who are affected by armed conflict;
o Geneva Protocols 1 and 2 mandating parties of conflict to distinguish civilians and combatants; and
o Article 10, Section 22a of the Republic Act 7610 which declares that the children shall not be the object of attack, shall be entitled to special respect and must be protected against any form of indecent assault.

Further, the AFPs irresponsible practice of using Grecil for war propaganda purposes by misrepresenting her as an NPA child soldier is also a violation of childrens rights that the public must condemn, Idul-Suazo stressed.

It is awful how the military officials could insist that the child victim was an NPA when the findings have concretely negated their statements, she added. Is this the way of the AFP to save their face amidst local and international condemnation of extra-judicial killings?, she asked.

Child-focused/child-friendly NGOs and institutions are calling on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct an urgent investigation and act on this to bring justice to the victim because we cannot let this to happen again to our poor and disadvantaged children and their families, Idul-Suazo stressed.

We will also call the attention of other local and international rights-based groups and the United Nations Childrens Emergency Fund (UNICEF), through Dr. Nicholas K. Alipui, UNICEF Country Representative, to respond on this concern.

KABIBA is an alliance of 51 child-based, child-focused and child-friendly organizations and institutions which is committed to uphold and defend childrens rights to survival, protection, full development and participation. Currently, KABIBA is the vice chair of Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children which is chaired by the regional Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Working with KABIBA is Childrens Rehabilitation Center, an NGO known for its expertise in giving psycho-social intervention to children affected by armed conflict, which is also an active member of the government-led Council for the Welfare of Children.

For references:


Executive Secretary Regional Program Director

KABIBA Alliance for Childrens Concern Childrens Rehabilitation Center

Contact number: 09208551812 Contact number: (082) 299-4596

comments powered by Disqus