Army condemns terrorist’s recruitment of minors
ILOILO CITY, April 20 — The Philippine Army condemns the communist terrorist group for recruiting minors and allowing them to take part in the armed struggle.
According to 301st Infantry “Bayanihan” Brigade commander Colonel Marion Sison, the recruitment of minors by any armed groups involved in hostilities is a clear violation of Rule 136 of the International Humanitarian Law.
This, after the capture of five minors, who were among the 11 arrested individuals, during an encounter at Sitio Anoy, barangay Cabalaunan, Miagao, Iloilo, April 18.
Sison said that while the Army troops are focusing on the Quarantine Checkpoint and other COVID-19-related duties in the Island of Panay, these NPA terrorists are continuing their massive recruitment, thus, putting the lives of minors in danger.
He also refuted the statement of Reylan Vergara of Panay Alliance Karapatan that Elen Centino from Barangay Igpanulong, Sibalom, Antique, who is the mother of 18- year old Carlo Centino, said “her son was only gathering honey with friends.”
Carlo Centino was among those arrested from the captured CTG encampment in Miagao, Iloilo.
The Brigade Commander added that Vergara had a weak alibi.
“His mother claimed that his son Carlo was in Sibalom, Antique, but why then was he in the encounter site in Miagao, which is kilometers away from their residence, when the people have been mandated to stay at home to protect them from being infected with COVID-19?”
“What were they doing in the mountainous area of Miagao while the country is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, and the province already registered positive cases?” Sison further asked Vergara, pointing out that it only shows that the CNTs are taking advantage of the situation.
He also stressed that the CTG conduct tactical offensives each time the National Democratic Front anniversary is approaching.
“It is common knowledge that the CTG utilizes the ceasefire to strengthen their force through recruitment, without regard to the welfare of minors; conducts training in secluded training camps; mobilizes their mass base for diversified tactical offensives; and conducts extortion activities,” the Brigade Commander stressed.
Sison strongly condemns the terrorists’ continued recruitment and use of minors as child warriors.
The recent encounter in Miagao serves as proof that the CTG is in clear violation of the humanitarian law, and continues to use deceptive tactics targeting the youth, he said.
He also calls on the families to keep a close watch over their children so as not to leave them as vulnerable prey for communist terrorists. (JBG-PIA6/With report from 301st Infantry Brigade-PA)