THE communist New People’s Army (NPA) is allegedly continuously employing minors as warriors in their armed struggle, according to a ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, commander of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division. said this fact was established following the surrender of an 11-year-old child NPA warrior who uses the nom de guerre “Dodong.”
He was accompanied by Elizabeth Abad, village chief of Baranday Camansa, Asuncion Davao del Norte, when the minor gave himself up last week to officials of the Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Roberto Bunagan.
Ano said that during debriefing, Dodong, who hails from hails from Barangay Don Enrique Mati City, Davao Oriental, revealed that despite his young age, he had been involved in six different armed engagements with government troops in the areas of Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur.
Besides directly engaging in firefights, Dodong said he was tasked to lay landmines.
Following his surrender, Dodong was brought to Mayor Joseph Nilo Parreñas of Asuncion who promised to extend necessary assistance for the child’s return to a normal life.
“For now, we will further endorse his case to the MWSD [Municipal Social Welfare Development] and will help in locating Michael’s parents,” said Bunagan.
Ano emphasized the NPA’s use of a child warrior is a blatant violation against children’s right and international humanitarian law.
“We condemn this shameless act of the NPA bandits who use children in advancing their selfish political interests,” he added.