CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – In the midst of the persistent recruitment by the CPP-NPA terrorist (CNTs), the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army condemns the CNTs leadership for blatant violations of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for recruiting minors as combatants and militia ng bayan members in Regions 10 and Caraga.
Rex Antonio alyas Kent, 19 years old, NPA combatant who was wounded and rescued by the government troops during the encounter of 29IB at the hinterlands of Brgy San Isidro, Santiago, Agusan del Norte last November 2, 2019 revealed that he was recruited by the CNTs when he was still 17 years old.
While, Alyas Bradex, 23 years old, a former rebel from the province of Bukidnon who surrendered last 2018 confirmed that recruitment of minors by the CNTs is rampant and he can attest to it. “I am only 12yrs old when the NPA used me as courier and I became a full time NPA combatant at the age of 16yrs old,” Bradex added
The revelation of the two former rebels was confirmed by Sandara Monsalao Mandahinog alyas Karla, 17 years old, a squad medic of NPA who surrendered last March 23, 2019 in 23IB at Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. “I was recruited and force to join the NPA at age of 14 years old which made my life miserable.
MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, the Commander of the 4th ID, said “The presence of NPA child warriors is very alarming and everybody must take urgent action to stop the recruitment of our school children. It is a clear violation of rule 136 of the IHL which prohibits recruitment of minors by any armed groups involved in hostilities. I urge everyone specially the parents to take care of your children and together let us protect their future, our future generation,” Gacal added.
“We can prevent this recruitment of minors and totally end the local communist armed conflict through our convergence of efforts. Let us give our full support to EO 70 the Whole-of-Nation Approach to end insurgency problem in Regions 10 and Caraga”, Gacal ended.