A 17-year-old boy tagged by the military as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter against government troops in Mount Balatukan, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental on Thursday, December 19.
Government troops recovered the body of Efriel “Rogie” Taquin. The victim was identified by his relatives who were former rebels.
Recovered from Taquin were a caliber .45 pistol, a cellphone and some personal belongings.
Quoting a former NPA political instructor alias Mesay, military officials said the minor was recruited two years ago in Sitio Kamansi, Barangay Kibanban, Balingasag town.
Lieutenant Colonel Roy Anthony Derilo, commanding officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion, expressed his sympathies to the family and friends of Taquin.
”We will give him respect and decent preparation for his burial and deliver him to his family”, Derilo said.
“We condemn in highest form the exploitation of our youth by the heartless NPAs. Our children belong in schools, with their classmates and friends and not in the company of armed men. Give them a chance to achieve their aspiration and be successful in life,” he added.
Derilo said the recruitment of child warriors is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law which states that children must not be recruited into the armed forces or armed groups.