CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Two NPA terrorists were finally freed from the clutches of terrorism after responding to the government’s call for peace through a localized peace engagement spearheaded by Gov Eduardo Gadiano in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on October 6.
Col Jose Augusto Villareal, Commander of the 203rd identified the surrenderers as alias Marlon, 19 and alias Manuel, 20 who belong to the Buhid Mangyan Tribe and were “minors” when they were deceived by the terrorists in 2017.
Alias Marlon admitted their affiliations to the NPA group that terrorizes the hinterland communities of the province of Mindoro.
He opted to surrender because he finally realized that they were deceived by the rebel group and they never followed through with their promises to support them and their families.
Villareal condemned the NPA’s recruitment of minors as it is a grave violation of child rights and international humanitarian law.
“The NPAs have been deceiving these children for as long as we can remember and putting them in a very dangerous situation. They should be stopped and their practice exposed,’’ Villareal said.
MGen Greg Almerol, Commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry lauded the local government units and chief executives in addressing the root causes of insurgency by providing basic services and helping security forces in bringing back normality in the islands of Mindoro.
“We will, altogether, continue to unite in the spirit of service to the people through the whole-of-nation approach.”
Almerol also mentioned that the country is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols and recruitment of children for use in combat is officially prohibited under two Philippine laws pertaining to child labor and abuse (Republic Act 931 and 7610).
The military earlier had reiterated its commitment to provide security to former rebels who turned their backs to the underground movement, assist them in their enrollment to E-CLIP, and prepare them to live normal lives with their families.
A total of 687 former rebels across Southern Tagalog were already facilitated by the 2nd Infantry Division since E-CLIP was launched in 2016.