CPP-NPA-NDF violates Children’s Rights; Deceives 3 IP Child-Soldiers who were captured in Bukidnon Clash

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The CPP-NPA-NDF continues to violate children’s rights after the 88th Infantry Battalion captured three (3) child-soldiers in an encounter against more or less twenty (20) CNTs of Platoon 1 of Guerilla Front Malayag of the Sub Regional Committee 2 (SRC2) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) on September 8, 2021 at the forested area in Brgy Mabuhay, San Fernando, Bukidnon.

The 4ID is officially correcting today its pronouncement on Wednesday on the exact number of the captured CNTs including the ‘rescued’ child-soldiers. There were 10 captured CNTs instead of 9 as announced yesterday in a press conference. 6 are males and 4 are females, wherein 3 are minor and 7 are IPs. 2 of them were wounded during the clash.

Through the assistance of Ms. Rebecca C. Marva, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer of San Fernanado, Bukidnon, the 3 child-soldiers were identified as alias Jef, male, 11 yrs old; alias Taburok, female, 17 yrs old; and alias Daniel, male who is also believed to be under 18 yrs old but still for confirmation due to the unavailability of his birth certificate”.

Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., the Commander of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, have decried the NPA’s wanton violation of the children’s human rights and the International Humanitarian Law in recruiting minors and without regret dragged them to join the armed struggle.

He said that the child-soldiers are fortunate that government troops have caught them as they were eventually rescued from the violent path and exploitation of the CNTs utilizing them for a violent cause even at their young age.

“The NPA allowing minors to be with the group of armed men have clearly disregarded the safety and welfare of the children. Instead of protecting them, let them go to school and enjoy their childhood, the NPA tramples children’s rights by continuing to recruit minors who they can easily take advantage of and who are easily swayed by their false promises to join their senseless cause”, MGen. Brawner Jr. said.

Republic Act 11188, the “Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act,” declares children as “zones of peace,” aimed at protecting children in situations of armed conflict from all forms of abuse and violence such as recruiting children into government armed forces and other armed groups.

Moreover, conscripting, enlisting or recruiting children under the age of eighteen (18) years into an armed force or group other than the national armed forces and using children under the age of eighteen (18) years to participate actively in hostilities is a crime under Paragraph 24, Section 4C, Article 3 of the IHL act.

“We must all condemn the NPA’s blatant violation of children’s rights. These minors were deceived and manipulated, we can prevent the NPA’s recruitment by monitoring the activities of our children and teaching them to be wary and vigilant against CNT and their front organizations”, Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr added.

Alias Taburok, an IP and among the 3 child-soldiers, revealed that they were all relatives of NPA members. She also disclosed that a certain alias Daligas who was killed in an encounter sometime in 2020 was his uncle. According to her, she was invited by his uncle for a visit only but was not anymore allowed to return home and then underwent teach-ins and eventually became an NPA member for 2yrs.

Meanwhile, surrendered and ‘rescued’ child-soldiers within the 4ID AOR in Northern Mindanao and Caraga region have already reached to 62 as per record as of this date.

The LGU of San Fernando thru the MSWDO have provided the captured CNTs to include the child-soldiers fresh clothing, food packs and other basic necessities while only 1 wounded NPA is in the hospital and already out of grave danger and in stable condition.

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