Army accused of seizing boy, tagging him a rebel | Inquirer News
Close  

Army accused of seizing boy, tagging him a rebel

/ 12:15 AM March 28, 2014

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A nongovernment organization has accused the military of abducting a 14-year old boy in Magpet, North Cotabato, and later presenting him as a child combatant of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The Davao City-based Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) Southern Mindanao said the boy was taken into military custody while wandering in a forested area of Barangay (village) Bantak in Magpet on March 24.

ADVERTISEMENT

The boy was later presented by the 57th Infantry Battalion (IB) as an NPA combatant, who had surrendered to authorities in Kidapawan City, also in North Cotabato.

“Military officials said that [the boy] has been active for two years in the communist movement,” Rius Valle, CRC advocacy officer, said.

FEATURED STORIES

But Valle said what the military did was “blatant abduction and branding.”

Lt. Col. Nilo Vinluan, 57th IB commander, said the military has proof that Balong was a child rebel.

“He can even memorize and sing the NPA song,” Vinluan said by text message.

Valle said the boy was a graduating student of Bangkal Elementary School, also in Magpet.

Valle said the CRC could not simply believe the military line that the boy was a child soldier because he has been in school for the past two years.

Valle said the boy’s adviser in his Grade 6 class has complete class records of the boy.

But Vinluan said while it might be true that the boy has been attending classes, it does not weaken the military proof that the boy was a child rebel.

ADVERTISEMENT

He said the boy was well versed about the NPA, including the NPA unit to which the boy supposedly belongs. The boy, said Vinluan, “can even identify the commanders and vice commanders of the group.”

CRC said another puzzle in the boy’s case was the military’s failure to present him to his family as soon as he was taken into custody.

“This is not just a branding case but a case of abduction,” Valle said.

The boy is in the custody of the Magpet Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) but CRC said it does not erase the fact that he was abducted by the military. Allan Nawal and Williamor Magbanua, Inquirer Mindanao

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Insurgency, New People's Army, News, Regions
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.