By Mike Crismundo
TAGO, Surigao del Sur – The Army’s 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion (36th IB) on Thursday said Communist Party of the Philippines –New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists (CNTs) are recruiting minors as fighters following a recent clash at Barangay Cancavan, Carmen, Surigao del Sur.
Four CPP-NPAs were killed during the encounter. One of them was identified as Dylan Ghem P. Jimenez alias “Gareb”, 18, a resident of Barangay Adlay, Carrascal town, Surigao del Sur province who was wounded and rushed by government troops to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
According to the mother of Dylan, her son left home when he was 17 years old and was recruited by the NPA as a regular fighter, 1st Lt. Jopnald D. Romorosa, Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 36th IB said.
The communist terrorist are held liable for violation of RA No. 9851, an act defining and penalizing crimes against international humanitarian law, genocide and other crimes against humanity, organizing jurisdiction, designating special courts, and for related purposes, it prohibits the recruitment and participation of children in arm conflict. In which the state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights, including the rights of indigenous cultural communities and other vulnerable groups, such as women and children, it said.
The recruitment of minors are in violation of the “Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act” or Republic Act. No.11188. Under the law, children are declared as “Zones of Peace” which must extend beyond territorial or geographical boundaries. The law recognized that children are entitled to dignity and respect as human beings in need of protection from degradation and to prevent the recruitment, re-recruitment, use, displacement of, or grave child rights violations against children involved in armed conflict.
Lt. Col. Xerxes A. Trinidad, commanding officer of the 36th IB, PA stated that “it is a clear manifestation that the CNTs are recruiting minors to participate in an armed conflict in pursuit of their disillusioned cause. Evidently, the CNTs violated the rights of children to live peacefully and should not be allowed to take part in the hostilities. The CNTs leadership must be held accountable and liable for this act of crimes against minors. We will facilitate the filing of appropriate charges to this action of the CNTs.”
“We call on the peace loving people of Surigao del Sur to condemn this. Let us protect our children at all cost. To the remaining CNT, stop recruiting and exploiting minor. Surrender now and return to the fold of the law and avail of the government’s Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), LTC Trinidad added.