TWO female members of Medic Team Baking, Squad 1, Sandatahang Yunit sa Platoon of Guerilla Front 16, North Eastern Mindanao Revolutionary Committee voluntarily surrendered separately without firearms to the 3rd Special Forces Battalion Thursday morning and Friday afternoon.
The child victims of the New People’s Army (NPA), who are both 15 years old and residents of Surigao del Norte, went to the headquarters of 7th Special Forces Company accompanied by their relatives to surrender.
The minors allegedly joined the NPA on July 6 and left the group last August 25.
They said that being young females, they were not able to endure the hunger and the hardships in the mountains while evading government forces.
They also said they were duped into joining the armed struggle through text messages and were made to believe they will have a better life in the armed movement.
Both victims were taught three basic NPA courses and were trained to fire a gun in order to kill.
Brigadier General Romeo L. Gapuz, acting commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said they are saddened by the deceit employed by the NPAs to recruit minors to join their ranks.
“We strongly condemn this strategy of the NPA of using and persuading minors to bear arms and fight against the government. These minors should have been sent to school to study, graduate and be employed in the future in order to realize their dreams. This is another proof of continuous violations of NPAs against the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) of which they are signatory through the NDF and the NPAs wanton disregard of the child’s rights,” Gapuz said.
Colonel Ronald Albano, commander of the 402nd Brigade, said the 4ID encourages all the NPAs to surrender.
“We will sincerely help them regain their lives. They are all welcome, we will help them reach their ambitions because nothing is sweeter than winning peace without bloodshed,” Albano said.
Lieutenant Colonel Potenciano Camba, commanding Officer of 3rd Special Forces Battalion, said the two minors were turned over to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development in Surigao del Norte.
“We are also preparing scholarship grants to these young ladies,” Camba said.