In July, the Secretary-General (SG) released his sixth report (S/2022/569) on children and armed conflict (CAAC) in the Philippines, covering the period from January 2020 to December 2021. During this time, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 115 grave violations against 104 children (62 boys, 42 girls), representing a decrease from the previous report (S/2020/777) which covered a longer period. Killing and maiming, recruitment and use, and attacks on schools and hospitals were the most prevalent verified violations, with killing and maiming accounting for more than half of all violations. 21 child casualties resulted from crossfire during clashes between Government Forces and armed groups or from explosive remnants of war (ERW) and improvised explosive devices (IED) and could not be attributed. The highest number of grave violations was attributed to the New People’s Army (NPA), including 80 percent of all verified cases of recruitment and use. The Armed Forces were found responsible for using two children in support roles, two late-verified cases of sexual violence against girls, the killing and maiming of 16 children, one abduction, and three attacks on schools and hospitals. Indigenous communities were particularly impacted by attacks on schools. While the overall number of children (29) detained for alleged association with armed groups decreased since the previous report, lack of facilities and limited capacity of social workers to address detained children’s needs are ongoing concerns. Access and security concerns, increasing risks and threats to human rights defenders and monitors, limited CTFMR capacity, and the COVID-19 pandemic all posed challenges during the reporting period. The Working Group should:

  • Strongly condemn all ongoing grave violations, demand that all parties uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL), and call for all perpetrators of grave violations to be held accountable;
  • Urge all listed parties to immediately end the recruitment and use of children, release those within their ranks, and if they have not yet done so, engage with the UN to develop, sign, and implement action plans to end and prevent all six grave violations against children;
  • Encourage the Government to continue efforts to implement the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act (Republic Act No. 11188) and Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Handling Protocol, including with regard to the treatment of children affected by the armed conflict primarily as victims and ensuring their swift handover to civilian child protection authorities;
  • Urge all parties to immediately end attacks against schools, hospitals, and protected personnel, including schools in indigenous communities; further call on the Government to take concrete measures to avoid military use of schools and cease all threats against education personnel, pursuant to SCR 2601 (2021), to ensure accountability and redress for attacks on education, and to endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration;
  • Demand that all parties allow and facilitate the safe, unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected populations, especially children; and respect and protect humanitarian personnel, assets, and infrastructure;
  • Call for the protection, rights, well-being, and empowerment of children to be fully incorporated and prioritized in ongoing and future peacebuilding efforts, and encourage and facilitate consideration of children’s views in these processes where possible and compatible with their best interests, pursuant to SCR 2427 (2018) and drawing on the Practical Guidance for Mediators.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update: October 2022.

UN Action

Year listed: 2003
Action Plans signed: No
Previous Action Plans: MILF – recruitment and use of children (July 2009) *Delisted in 2017 following compliance with Action Plan.
Sanctions Committee: No
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Philippines: 2020; 2017; 2013; 20102008
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Philippines: 2020; 2017; 2014; 20102008

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
New People’s Army (NPA)* a a a a a a a a a a a a a a
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)~* a a a a, b a a a a a a a a a
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) a
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)* a a a a a a a a a a a a a a
Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) a a a a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.