THE Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) continued to violate children's rights as evidenced by the recent rescue of two child soldiers following an encounter with the rebels in Sitio Manlibud, Barangay Sandayao, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on January 15, the Philippine Army in the province said.
The two minors were reported by the military as among the four captured NPA rebels during an armed encounter between the 62nd Infantry (Unifier) Battalion and about 12 NPAs belonging to Central Negros 1, Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor (KR-NCBS).
Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Brigade commander, stressed the NPA's rampant violation of the children's human rights and the International Humanitarian Law in recruiting minors to join armed conflict.
Paciente said these two minors were fortunate that government troops were able to rescue them from the violent path of the communist terrorists' exploitation by utilizing them for a violent cause for the benefit of the leftist organization.
"Regardless of how these children were recruited and of their roles, they were victims, whose participation in conflict bears serious implications for their physical and emotional wellbeing," he said.
"They were commonly subject to abuse, witness death, killing, sexual violence or maybe forced to commit violent acts and possibly suffer serious long-term psychological consequences," he added.
The Army official stressed that the reintegration of the two minors into civilian life is an essential part of the challenge to help child-soldiers rebuild their lives.
He said Republic Act 11188, or the "Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act," declares children as "zones of peace" and is aimed at protecting children in situations of armed conflict from all forms of abuse and violence such as recruiting children into government armed forces and other armed groups.
NEGROS. These minors were rescued after an armed encounter between the government forces and the New People's Army in Guihulngan City recently. (AFP photo)
January 18, 2022
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