Butuan City – Field commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday condemned the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), for continuously using minors as combatants.
They challenged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other human rights advocates to look into this after they discovered in a recent gun battle that a 17-year-old female member of the NPA was killed at Kilometer 7, Barangay Pakwan, in Lanuza town, Surigao del Sur.
“We condemn the NPA rebels for keeping on enlisting and employing the youths in their armed struggle,” stressed Capt. Al Anthony Pueblas, commanding officer of the Civil Military Operation (CMO) of the 36th Infantry Battalion (36th IB).
The 36th IB CMO officer claimed that the killed minor served as the alleged “medic” for guerrilla-Front Committee 30 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).
“This is a gross violation of human rights for continuously recruiting minors,” said Lt. Col. Anastacio Suaybaguio Jr., commanding officer of the 36th IB.
He also condemned the act of the NPA in using landmines in an ambush on a private vehicle last week where a boy was reportedly hurt.
“Using landmines is also a gross violation of the international law and users of this must be put to jail,” stressed the 36th IB commander.
In a related development, Col. Alexander Macario, commanding officer of the 401st Infantry (Unite N’ Fight) Brigade yesterday called on the public to always alert the military and police when there is a presence of the NPA in their locality as the 46th anniversary of the rebel groups on March 29 draws near.
The area army commander admitted that NPA activities in his area of responsibility (AOR) have stepped up. At least five construction equipment owned by Madyaw Construction and Development Corporation in La Paz town, Agusan del Sur were burned by the NPA.