A top military official yesterday slammed the continued recruitment of minors by the New People’s Army, following the recent surrender of a 19-year-old “red fighter” to the 94th Infantry Battalion in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
Rebel returnee Efren Canumay, alias Ka Arnel, confessed that he was 17 years old, when he joined the NPA two years ago, after he was recruited at his residence in Brgy. Binubuhan, Guihulngan City, the military said.
Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said the continued recruitment of minors blatantly violate the provisions of RA 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act that state that children shall not be recruited by armed groups, nor be allowed to take part in fighting, or used as guide, couriers, or spies.
Dolina reminded parents to be wary and watchful over the whereabouts and activities of their children for they are the vulnerable targets of the recruitment strategy of the CPP-NPA and its support groups.”
Ka JB Regalado, spokesman of the Leonardo Panaligan Command, yesterday issued a statement that Canumay is not a member of the NPA.
Regalado also debunked military claims that they are recruiting minors, and dismissed the Army claims as plain propaganda.
Canumay revealed that he is a member of Squad 1, Sentro de Grabidad Platoon, Central Negros operating in Guihulngan City, and part of the group that harassed 94IB troops conducting Community Support Program in Barangay Tacpao, Guihulngan City on Jan. 19, Dolina said.
No casualty was reported on the government side, but three were injured among the fleeing rebels, as confirmed by Canumay, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander.
The 94IB recovered a 45 caliber pistol with ammunition, 13 magazines of M16 and AK 47 assault rifles with 218 rounds of ammunition, nine ammunition of M14, a Baofeng commercial radio, and three ball caps, that were left behind by the fleeing rebels.
Dolina said Canumay is living proof of CPP-NPA fabricated stories.*
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