A 12-YEAR-OLD New People's Army (NPA) combatant was claimed to have been among the rebels who engaged Army soldiers in Lambog village, Manay, Davao Oriental, last February 1, where Second Lieutenant Miguel Victor Alejo, platoon leader of the 67th Infantry Battalion, was killed.

This was the claim made by rebel surrenderee, "Ka Junie," a 31-year-old former combatant under the NPA Front Committee 15 who recently surrendered to the military, during the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police press conference at the Davao City Police Office Wednesday, February 8.

Ka Junie also claimed he was among the 30 rebels who were in that gun battle.

"Ang pinakabata sa amo ang 12-anyos, naay 15-anyos, ug naa say 16-anyos nga nakauban sa giyera sa Manay, ug sa uban namong lakaw (The youngest combatant is 12 years old, there is a 15-year-old, and a 16-year-old that joined that gunbattle and our other activities)," Ka Junie said.

The surrenderee said he decided to surrender as he can no longer stand the difficult life of a rebel.

"Mi-surrender ko dala akong AK-47 nga armas kay gikapoy nako sa bukid, pulos lang sila pasalig (I surrendered with my AK-47 because I am tired of the combatant's life. All they give us are promises)," he said.

Among their activities, he said, is to harass communities and recruit minors, aside from extortion.

In the same press conference, 10th Infantry Agila Division commander Major General Rafael Valencia called on rebels to surrender.

"We encourage other NPA terrorist members to return to the folds of the law, may panibagong buhay na nag-aabang sa inyo (a new life is waiting for you), may livelihood program tayo para sa inyo (we have a livelihood program for you)," Valencia said.