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PIA Press Release

DSWD assures educational assistance to rescued NPA minors

By Eli C. Dalumpines

Tacloban City (14 October) -- The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) here assured the rescued child warriors that they can continue their studies after they will be turned over by the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, to the DSWDs Crisis Center in Tacloban City.

PSWDO Luz D. Tacal, in a press conference Wednesday, said the social welfare department will shoulder the expenses of the children while they are in the custody of the DSWD undergoing rehabilitation.

This was in response to the issues raised by the media concerning the education of the five minors whose schooling had been stopped after they have been recruited by the communist New Peoples Army (NPA).

In earlier interview, Ka Liza, Medical Officer of the Batter Unit of the Central Front-Samar 1, Samar Provincial Party Committee, informed she was just finishing her 5th Grade when the NPA recruited her to join the revolutionary movement.

She said a certain Tito came to their house in Brgy. Catundan in San Jorge and invited her to attend a three-day lecture on various social issues, including that of the political overview of the communist movement.

After a few months, however, she was left in charge in educating new recruits until being assigned as medical officer of the unit.

Maryjane, meanwhile, was in her 6th Grade in an elementary school in Brgy. Socorro, Catbalogan when her father brought her to the mountains last September 5, this year to join the movement.

Maryjane said she is still willing to go back to school but Ms. Tacal said it would be very risky if she still goes to the same school she was attending since the possibility is great that the NPAs will get her back.

Ms. Tacal informed though that they will be more secure if they will be placed in the DSWD facility in Tacloban City.

Lt. Col. Glorivine Dida, Commanding Officer of the 34th Infantry Battalion informed earlier that they are only waiting for a signal from the DSWD when they will turn over the rescued child warriors.

In the same development, the 14TH IB led by Lt. Col. Wilson Leyva, has likewise rescued three minors who have been positively identified as NPA members in a barangay in San Jose de Buan, an interior town of Samar.

Col. Leyva said his unit was responding to a tip by barangay residents of the presence of seven NPA guerillas in their village. The military then arrested Nene, 16, a member of Lawin Platoon; Otoy, 18, also of the Lawin Platoon; and Rex 13, of Dalogdog Platoon, all of the NPAs Central Front-Samar 1. (PIA-Samar) [top]

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