BAGUIO CITY — A 16-year old child, who had been recruited into the communist insurgency under the Leonardo Pacsi Command, surrendered in Mountain Province on Saturday, the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the military’s 5th Infantry Division reported on Monday.
PAO chief Captain Jeffrey Somera, said “Ka Trese” (not her real name) from Bontoc, Mountain Province, surrendered to the 77th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office (PPO) in Barangay Poblacion, Bontoc, Mountain Province around midnight on April 28.
He said the minor joined the NPA when she was 14 years old after she was recruited into the New People’s Army by a certain “Commander Jushua” in Paracelis town.
According to the army troops on the ground, Ka Trese appeared to be confused and very tired when she was spotted by soldiers and police in Bontoc town.
Ka Trese then collapsed and was rushed to the Bontoc General Hospital by the soldiers and the police. When she woke up, she initially revealed to the soldiers that she was a red fighter, who ran away from her group.
The minor told government troops she had decided to surrender because she was tired and physically abused by her comrades.
Ka Trese turned over to the soldiers four cellphones, subversive documents, three ammunitions for M16 rifle, a notebook, and some money.
Major General Perfecto Rimando Jr., the commander of the 5th Infantry Division, condemned the leftist organization for what he called their inhumane deeds.
“The expose of Ka Trese cemented the true nature of the (Communist New People’s Army Terrorist) organization. It’s hard to imagine that someone as young as Ka Trese was being recruited, and the saddest part was the abuse on her person by her comrades, whom she considered as her brothers,” Rimando said.
“We condemned in the strongest terms the exploitation and abuse of minors under the hands of the CNTs. It is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Law on the right of children to protection, especially against physical and mental abuse,” he stressed.
“With this situation, I urge the youth to be discerning and avoid being affiliated with the organizations known connected with the Communist New People’s Army (NPA),” he warned. “They physically, psychologically, and sexually abused their female recruits. Maybe, those amazons or female red fighters who went into lie-low were also abused, but just kept to themselves the trauma and their sad experiences because of fear and shame.”
“We also encourage the parents and guardians to watch their children,” Somera added, and if possible, know the company their children are keeping. PNA-northboundasia.com