At least 20 members of the indigenous peoples (IP) group died last year due to New People's Army's "reprisal killings," the National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) said Thursday.
In a statement, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on IP concerns Gaye Florendo said the IPs were allegedly "killed brutally in front of their families and community."
Florendo, an official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, said the victims were targeted for assassination over their refusal to join or support the communist movement.
“They are victims of reprisal killings… brutally murdered and at least four had their eyes gouged,” Florendo said in a radio interview.
"These are the realities on the ground. We know because we have been there, along with the local government and national agency officials from August to October (2020). Unfortunately, it is the first time that government presence is felt in these areas," she added.
Further, Florendo claimed that ancestral domains of IP communities have become guerilla bases for the NPA with children being recruited into the group.