Parents of Subanen boy sue NPA leaders
PAGADIAN CITY—The parents of a Subanen minor who was allegedly taken by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in 2019 to run errands in their camp have sued alleged leaders of the rebel group in Western Mindanao for kidnapping and child exploitation.
Government prosecutor Fernando Cagoco Jr. told INQUIRER.net that the cases are filed within the context of Republic Act 11188 or the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict.
This is the first such case in the Zamboanga Peninsula region, Cagoco said.
Among those facing charges were Rowil Muñasque, who is said to be known as Ka Jotham, a leader of NPA’s Main Regional Guerrilla Unit operating in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Muñasque was arrested by soldiers in September 2020 in Dumingag town, a day after being wounded in a clash with government forces.
The parents of the Subanen minor, identified only as Sany, said their son was taken by rebels when he was still 15 years old, and made to run errands in an NPA camp in the mountains of Midsalip where the family lived.
The fourth in a brood of eight, Sany said among those who took him were a certain Commander Natan and a Commander Jotham.
Speaking in Subanen that was translated by a local official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Sany said he was first assigned to fetch water and gather firewood but soon was made to carry an assault rifle.
“It was heavy but I have to bear it,” Sany recalled, adding that his commander later exchanged it with a caliber .45 pistol.
Last year, he joined a combatant who left the NPA camp and surrendered to the Army.
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