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Manila slams communists for targeting civilians.

Manila The government has criticised communist insurgents for abducting four prisons guards in Bukidnon arguing they cannot be considered prisoners of war.

The government panel negotiating peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-led New Peoples' Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) said the four prison guards "should not have been abducted by the rebels in the first place because the functions they perform are civilian in nature and they are far from being combatants."

The four guards of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) were taken by around 200 rebels on July 21 in an operation to rescue one of their comrades, Dennis Rodenas who is facing charges of illegal possession of explosives.

They were bringing Rodenas from Ozamis City and were on their way to Davao del Norte when rebels in Kitaotao town flagged them down.

In a statement, the government panel said the insurgents had no right to regard the BJMP personnel as prisoners of war and put them on trial for supposed, "crimes against the people because the CPP-NPA-NDF is not a state nor has any government recognising it as a belligerent force."

"These acts committed by the NPA are nothing short of criminal. They are [a violation] of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL)," it said.

"These guards should be released immediately without any preconditions. We are concerned that some of them are suffering from poor health and nutrition."

The CPP said the government statement "betrays a poor understanding of international humanitarian law and a predilection to selectively apply it against the CPP-NPA-NDF while refusing to recognise the status of belligerency of the revolutionary forces."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Aug 14, 2011
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