By Yas Ocampo
DAVAO CITY — A previously identified casualty of the New People’s Army (NPA) was claimed to be that of a minor, according to the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) an incident that also killed a high-ranking NPA leader on April 21.
Eastmincom spokesperson Ezra Balagtey said in a statement sent to reporters that the mother of 15-year-old Rondi Ondo claimed his body over the weekend, in an identification process led by members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).
The rebel was identified also with the help of the Municipal Social Welfare Office of Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur and the military.
According to a report made by Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, commander of 39th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, Ondo was from Sitio Tombo, Barangay Old Bulatukan, Makilala, North Cotabato.
He was identified by his mother Marissa A. Ondo at a Funeral Parlor in Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur during a public identification.
Ondo’s cadaver was recovered after the encounter with an M16 rifle and clad in black NPA uniform.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, condemned the NPA”s use of minors in armed struggle.
“It’s so sad to note that despite the worldwide call to spare children in armed struggle, the NPA terrorists continued to arm them and use them. We condemn this practice in strongest term and challenge the NPA terrorists to spare them. Let children be children, and allow them to play, learn, enjoy and experience the beauty of being a child and spare them from indoctrinating hatred and violence” Madrigal said.
Meanwhile, Rosales facilitated the transportation of the cadavers of Ondi Ondo and the earlier identified CNT leader Julito Pueblas alias Taghoy, 62 years old from Sitio Pangayasan, Barangay Kisante to their respective families and barangay officials of Kisante and Old Bulatukan, respectively, on April 22.
On the other hand, Jessa Lumana who was seized in the encounter site was already detained at Sta. Cruz Municipal Police Station to face criminal charges.