Army seeks help of DSWD, LGUs for ‘child warriors’
MANILA, Philippines – With the recent arrest of a minor who allegedly belonged to the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Philippine Army requested Friday the help of various agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development and local government units.
“We will ask them to monitor the recruitment of young boys who join any armed group. They can help in persuading the parents not to allow their children as pawns in armed clashes. This is a violation of the laws of armed conflict,” said Major Harold Cabunoc, acting Army spokesman.
He added that the United Nations conventions and Philippine laws as embodied in Section 25 of Republic Act 7610 clearly provides that children must be protected from taking part in hostilities.
On Tuesday, three members of the ASG were arrested by government troops in Tongsengal village, Sumisip town in Basilan. The three, who were carrying high-powered firearms, included a 12-year-old boy.
The minor was turned over to the DSWD, while the other two, Abdulbaki Ismanul, 30, Al Mahdi Arshad, 22, were now in a jail in Basilan.
The suspects are believed to be members of the group of Furuji Indama, who is responsible for several abductions and killings in the island province, said Cabunoc.
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