Sun.Star Davao

Army: 121 rescued minors used by communist groups

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THE 10th Infantry Battalion recorded 121 rescued minors reportedly being used by communist terror groups (CTG) since 2016.

Captain Mark Anthony Tito, spokesman of Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said in a press release that the latest surrendere­r they received are two minors from the Regional Operations Command, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (ROC, SMRC) of the New People’s Army along with two others in Barangay Coronobe in Maragusan, Davao de Oro on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Tito identified only two of the four through their aliases: Jomari, 18, a squad political guide, and Vina, 19, a squad supply officer.

Following their surrender, the group assisted 66IB soldiers in locating two M16 rifles they themselves hid in Barangay Andap, New Bataan town.

Tito said the two minors were already reported to the New Bataan Municipal Social Welfare Developmen­t Office (MSWDO) for appropriat­e action.

10ID commander Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin welcomed the surrender and rescue of the minors.

“To the members of the CTG, stop exploiting the Filipino youth. Surrender now and abandon the armed struggle that victimized thousands of lives,” Mempin said.

Tito, meanwhile, told SunStar Davao in a phone interview on Sunday, May 1, that majority of the rescued minors were already brought back to their families.

He added that all of them were enrolled at the Enhanced Comprehens­ive Local Integratio­n Program (ECLIP), a government program that aims to help the rebel members of communist group to restore their allegiance to the Philippine government. Through this program, he said they can be reintegrat­ed back to the community, be with their families, and start over with their new, normal lives.

“So far, ang uban, naa na sa ilang respective families, nakabalik na sila sa ilang communitie­s (others had already returned to their respective families and had return to their communitie­s),” Tito said.

The army official added that the recruitmen­t of minors in arm struggle is a “clear violation” of the Internatio­nal Humanitari­an Law.

“Gina-condemn nato ang mga kabatan-unan para ma-recruit sila para maggunit og armas ug mulaban sa government (We condemn the recruitmen­t of youth in the arm struggle and revolt against the government),” Tito said. /

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