CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – In the midst of the continuous recruitment of minors of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) in Regions 10 and Caraga, the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division urges the community to protect the future of the next generation.
Based on 4ID Custodial Debriefing Reports from 2016 to 2019, the average age recruited by NPA terrorist is 17 years old. The most alarming revelation is that they also recruit minors as young as 12 years old. It is sad to note that with these recruitment of minors, the average age of regular NPA members who are killed in encounters are 21 years old.
Alyas Bradex, 23, a Former Rebel confirmed that, “Tinuod nga ang kalihukan naga rekrut ug menor de edad. 12-anyos lang ko dihang nagsugod kog kuyog sa mga NPA isip taga dala sa ilang mga bag ug taga kuha og tubig. 16-anyos ko niadtong nahimo kong regular nga myembro hangtud nahimong CO sa usa ka platoon.” (It is true that the terrorists recruit minors. I was 12 years old when I started accompanying the NPAs, carrying their bags and water. I was 16 years old when I became a regular member then eventually became the CO of a platoon.)
MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, Commander of the 4th ID said that “The continuous recruitment of the NPA is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Rule 136 which prohibits recruitment of minors by non-governmental armed groups involved in hostilities. They also violate Section 4 of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity. It explictly forbids the use of children under the age of 18 years to participate in active hostilities.”
“With these alarming revelations, we urge everyone to protect our future generation. We need to create a better future so that we will be able to preserve the precious lives of our children. Let us all put an end to the hostilities and continuous violation of the NPA Terrorists.” “I am positive that through the implementation of the EO 70 or the “Whole-of-Nation Approach”, we will be able to end the local communist armed conflict in Regions 10 and CARAGA. We can prevent NPA recruitment through our convergence efforts in the conduct of sustained delivery of basic services and social development packages in Conflict-Affected Areas and Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas,” Gacal ended.
It can be recalled that in 2018, a total of 47 regular NPA terrorists were killed, 13 were apprehended and 334 surrendered. While as of August 2019, a total of 34 regular NPA terrorists were killed, 7 apprehended and 214 surrendered.