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PIA Press Release

NPA continues use of minors as combatants

by Cpt Emmanuel R Garcia (INF)

Camp Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City (28 October) -- Despite the call of numerous sectors including parents, local terrorists (NPA) continue to use minors as combatants in waging rebellion against the government.

In stark contrast with the Maoist CPP-NPA-NDF's pronouncement of adherence to the International Humanitarian Law particularly the general agreement against the use of minors in combat, several minors recently surrendered to authorities in Davao del Sur province few days ago.

Rachel Akaw Y Ancia alyas Kimkim and Sonny Boy Akaw Y Decatoria alyas Junjun both 17 years old and Nero Akaw Dacatoria alyas Ronel 19 years old, members of the Local Terrorist Front-51 (LTF-51) voluntarily surrendered to elements of 39th Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza in the village of Binaton in Digos City last Thursday (October 22) thru the efforts of local officials.

The village of Binaton is the site of the gory massacre of 39 Lumads including elderly, women and children butchered by the NPA 20 years ago in June 25, 1989 inside a church when local terrorists were at their peak.

In Compostela Valley province, another child combatant surfaced. 18- year old Lumad, Inday Amboy alyas Liza surrendered to government troops last October 18. She was 16 when she joined the armed underground movement.

The four child warriors were among the number of surrenderees in the NPA ranks this month which totals to 24.

Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division in Davao City lauded local officials of Digos in bringing back the minors into the folds of the law but lashed on the terrorists for using minors in combat. Mapagu said, "LGU-AFP partnership and the cooperation of the people has been a great factor in enlightening many of our brothers to going to the right path towards peace. We are hoping that more will surrender in the interest of reconciliation so that we can move forward towards progress."

"We appeal to our brothers still up on the mountains not to exploit our youth. These minors must be given books and pens instead of guns and bullets. Take the right step towards peace and lay down your arms so you can avail of the Social Integration Program of the government and live a normal life with your families," Mapagu said.

The Social Integration Program (SIP) is a comprehensive reintegration scheme of the government to bring rebels back into the mainstream of the society. As of this writing, 29 rebel returnees have fully benefitted from the SIP. (PA) [top]

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