Close  

Child warriors among NPA surrenderees

/ 02:27 AM March 30, 2014

CHILD-SOLDIERS. The New People’s Army capitalizes on the innocence of minors. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Thirteen of the 72 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered to the military in Cagayan de Oro City were children, while a number of them were minors when they joined the insurgency, the military said, adding that this showed the communists were fielding child soldiers in its war to establish a Maoist government in the Philippines.

Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who flew in for the surrender ceremony Friday, said the recruitment of child warriors was a violation of the rules of war, and was clearly prohibited under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

ADVERTISEMENT

The event was held a day before the NPA celebrated its 45th anniversary and barely a week after the capture of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ Top 2 leaders, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

‘Militia ng Bayan’

FEATURED STORIES

According to the military, most of those who surrendered were regular NPA members while the others belonged to the so-called Militia ng Bayan operating in the hinterlands of Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions. Forty-eight of them were from Bukidnon, 18 from Agusan del Sur, three from Surigao del Sur, one from Agusan del Norte and two from Misamis Oriental.

“Thirteen of those who surrendered were minors and most of them were from the indigenous communities in the hinterlands of Bukidnon, Agusan and Surigao in the Caraga region,” Bautista said.

Among those who were minors when they joined the NPA was Ronjie Salintao.  He said he was only 14 when he joined the rebel army in his hometown of Loreto, Agusan del Sur, four years ago.

Another child warrior, Jong Manlantagan, said he was also 14 when he joined the NPA in San Fernando,  Bukidnon, a known NPA lair.

“(We) do not see any government (presence) in the hinterlands and there are no services there,” he told reporters.

Manlatagan, a Manobo, said he grew tired of being with the rebels and decided to surrender.

No to child soldiers

ADVERTISEMENT

Bautista said the NPA should stop using children as warriors. “These are just 13 child warriors who, after years of being with the NPA, decided to lay down their arms and try to live a normal life. There could be more (child warriors) out there in the mountains,” Bautista said.

The returnees received compensation for the guns they yielded. In addition to financial assistance, the rebel returnees will also be placed in the Social Integration and Livelihood Program, under which they will be given farms to tend.

RELATED STORIES

Military condemns NPA recruitment of minors

 

Palace hits use of child soldiers by rebel group

With Tiamzon’s arrest, it’s time for NPA to surrender—AFP

 

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

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: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Cagayan de Oro City, child soldiers, Child warriors, communist rebels, New People's Army
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
entertainment

Marco Gallo not out to become ‘the next James Reid’

December 16, 2019 12:02 AM

lifestyle

French New Wave icon Anna Karina dies at 79

December 15, 2019 10:42 PM

sports

Pogoy plays through pain, helps TNT get crucial win

December 15, 2019 10:06 PM

newsinfo

New Zealand eruption death toll rises to 18

December 15, 2019 09:33 PM



© Copyright 1997-2019 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.