Parents entrust “rebel” kid to Army group

MONKAYO, Compostela Valley — Parents of a minor member of the New People’s Army voluntarily entrusted their child to the Peace and Development Teams of the 25th Infantry Battalion, 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army last September 16, 2011.

The 14-year-old girl, a resident of Purok Duranta, Brgy. Union, Monkayo, revealed that she was recruited by the NPA’s alleged legal sectoral organizing groups operating in Monkayo sometime in April 2011 with the promise of a monthly allowance of P10,000 and further brainwashed her young mind of alleged ills of the current government. Accordingly, she was also utilized in collecting extortion money and stuff from the civilians.

This amplifies the general perception that the lawless armed groups operating in Compostela Valley have degenerated into a purely criminal group thriving on extortion and criminal acts using the innocent minors in their criminal activities.

Lt. Col. Cesar Molina, commander of the 25th IB, said the arrest of the minor had further exposed the continuing violations committed by the New Peoples Army on the provisions of CAHRIHL particularly on the right of children to be protected from exploitation and abuses under part 3, Article 24 of the said agreement.

Molina said the act of recruiting minors, as in the case of the arrested minor and several others, “is a clear exploitation of her young and innocent mind to take up arms against the government through lies of monetary rewards and alleged oppression of the government against the civilians. More importantly, it is the duty of the parents to closely monitor their childrens activities outside of their homes to keep them from being influenced by illegal and criminal groups”.

The 25th IB, through the employment of Peace and Development Teams, is, at present, helping the local government of the municipalities of Monkayo, Montevista and Compostela in the conduct of Rapid Need Assessment and Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) in order to identify projects that will alleviate the living condition of the local populace as well as open up opportunities for our lost brothers and sisters being fed up by crooked idealism, and ultimately bring peace and development in the area.

Several projects are also being developed to give the out-of-school- youth the opportunity to be productive citizens despite their educational predicament and eventually give them the chance to continue their studies.

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