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PIA Press Release
2006/10/23

DSWD 8 assures wellbeing of captured and surrendered NPA child-combatants

Tacloban City (October 23) -- Children recruited by the New People’s Army to become combatants, who either surrendered or captured by the military in Region 8 are well taken cared of. This is the assurance given by DSWD Director Letecia Corillo during the Panindugan TV program of PIA, recently.

Levi Malabanan, an NPA member who was 14 years old when rescued by the military on December 6, 2000. For more than three years, Levi stayed under the custody of the military chaplain but with regular and close monitoring of the Social Welfare Office in Samar.

On May 15, 2004, Levi, after undergoing psycho-social, medical and dental, legal, financial and spiritual services, was discharged to be under the care of an elder brother in Sta. Margarita, Samar. Levi will soon graduate in the elementary level of education in March of 2007. Levi has been declared by DSWD as fully reintegrated to the family and community.

Still at the Home for Girls is Evelyn Opo, 16 years of age who surrendered to the military on March 10, 2006. Evelyn finished her Second Year High School Education and became an NPA member. She stayed under the custody of the military for 18 days until she was turned over to the DSWD on March 28, 2006.

Evelyn has been provided psycho-social, legal, medical/dental, spiritual enhancement and renewal, educational livelihood assistance, financial assistance, home-life services, exposure to purposive activities and value inculcation sessions.

Evelyn is prepared for eventual return to capable relatives. However, the DSWD and SWO are still in the process of assessment and exploration of capable and willing relatives to accommodate the minor. Evelyn has gained occupational skills which she can readily use upon discharge from the center. She has also acquired positive values and attitude and has improved in terms of social adequacy. She has improves physically and can now relate well with the staff and co-wards.

Jerwin Llena was eleven years old when he was rescued by the military on March 13, 2005. An NPA recruit, he finished only grade IV. He stayed with the military for only four days before he was discharged to his aunt on March 17, 2005. The DSWD has provided psycho-social, educational assistance, financial assistance and medical assistance. He is still under the care and custody of his paternal aunt and continues to go to school. He was turned over to CSWD for support services.

Another NPA child combatant is Shirley Caliwan who was only 14 years old when she was rescued by the military on March 13, 2005. She was held under the custody of the military for four days before she was turned over to her biological mother’s custody on March 17, 2005. Shirley is now doing well as a second year High School student. She has been referred to CSWD and World Vision for support services.

Arnold Daculan, an NPA recruit, was 17 years old when he was captured by the military on August 27, 2004. He was immediately turned over to Calbayog and subsequently to the DSWD. He is still with the RRCY where he received various DSWD services. He is ready for return with identified relatives who have been assessed capable and willing to take him under their custody. He is ready for discharge from RRCY by the last quarter of 2006.

Nestor Caliwan is one of the youngest recruit of the NPA who was captured by the military on March 13, 2005. He stayed with the military for four days before he was returned to his biological mother. He is now in Grade V. He, together with his sister Shirley have been referred to CSWDO and World Vision for support services.

Hipolito Abolo Jr. was 16 years old when he surrendered to the military in December 2004. He finished only the third grade in elementary education. He remains with his biological family and has been provided with psycho-social and financial assistance by DSWD.

The government under the Arroyo Administration will continue to defend the rights of children. Moreover, the President Arroyo calls on the people to help restore peace for the development of Samar and Region 8. (PIA 8) [top]

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