A 16-year-old student recruited by the New People’s Army surrendered to the military in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on Saturday night, adding to the long list of child warriors documented to have been involved by the communists in their 50-year armed struggle.
The military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, based in Davao City, identified the child warrior who surrendered through his alias, “Bulaw,” a member of the NPA unit monitored to be operating in Malaybalay City.
“This is a clear gross violation of children’s rights. Do not rob their future; allow them to explore their potential freely and let children be children,” Eastmincom chief Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said.
Eastmincom spokesman Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey said Bulaw surrendered to officials of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion in Barangay St. Peter. Balagtey said Bulaw brought a cal. 30M1 Carbine rifle and a hand grenade during his surrender.
Balagtey said Bulaw, a Grade 7 student at the San Fernando High School, was recruited by the NPA five months ago.
“Accordingly, he was deceptively invited to undergo an orientation on his rights as a youth.
However, he came to know that he is being forced to join the armed group,” said Balagtey.