By Juancho Mahusay
Published in Philstar
CALAPAN CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over the weekend accused the New People’s Army (NPA) of continuing to deploy child warriors in Mindoro.
The allegation came after a certain “Ka Jerwin,” a minor, surrendered to the Army’s 4th Infantry Battalion (IB) in a remote area of Oriental Mindoro last Oct. 1.
Jerwin reportedly turned over to government troops a 12-gauge shotgun, a caliber .38 revolver and a hand grenade.
Army 1/Lt. Nelvic Teejay Lopez said Jerwin told social welfare officers of Bulalacao town that he was only 12 years old when a certain Jeffrey convinced him to join the underground movement as a courier five years ago.
Three months after his recruitment, the boy became a full-time member of the rebel group operating in the hinterlands of Mansalay and Bulalacao towns.
He suffered a gunshot wound in the thigh during an encounter with government forces in 2013.
Jerwin told social welfare officers that the insurgents cited alleged abuses committed by the military to convince minors like him to join the movement.
He said he never witnessed or experienced any of the alleged abuses by the military.