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Philippine rebel ‘child warriors’ return to folds of law in Surigao

Between 25 to 40 percent of the close to 1,000 communist guerrillas in Mindanao are below 18-years-old because of the forced recruitment of minors by the revolutionary movement, according to the military .In 2007, the military presented to media in Camp Aguinaldo five alleged former “child warriors” of the New People’s Army (NPA) captured in encounters with the Army.. PDIphoto

 SURIGAO CITY — Two female teens who admitted joining the ranks of the New People’s Army (NPA) in North Eastern Mindanao Revolutionary Committee voluntarily surrendered to the government authorities saying they could not endure the hardship in living in the mountains.
    The two, both 15 years old, narrated they joined the NPA organization on July 6, 2012 and decided to left the group last August 25. Both were members of the Medic Team Baking, Squad 1, Sandatahang Yunit sa Platoon of Guerilla Front 16. They said they were made to believe they will have a better life if they will join the armed movement.
    Tagged as “child warriors,” the military report said they were unarmed when they surrendered separately on Thursday and Friday to the 3rd Special Forces Battalion of the Philippine Army. They went to the Headquarters of 7th Special Forces Company in Bad-as, Placer, Surigao del Norte accompanied by their relatives.
    Lt. Col. Potenciano Camba, Commanding Officer of 3rd Special Forces Battalion said the teens were endorsed to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development of Surigao del Norte where they will be taken care of. Scholarship grants are being prepared for them.
    Brig. Gen Romeo L. Gapuz, acting commander of the Fourth ID Philippine Army based in Cagayan de Oro City said the NPAs have violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) when they recruited the teens in their ranks. “it was a wanton disregard of the child’s right,” he said. (PNA)

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