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Retrieve children recruited as NPA warriors, Duterte tells AFP

RETRIEVE THEM. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte convenes members of his Cabinet and local government officials of Surigao del Sur to assess the extent of the damage of Tropical Storm Auring, at the Villa Maria Luisa Hotel in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur on Feb. 23, 2021. Duterte in the situation briefing urged the military to retrieve children allegedly recruited by the New People’s Army to become child warriors. (Presidential photo by King Rodriguez)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to retrieve children, who were allegedly recruited by the New People’s Army (NPA) to become armed guerrillas, and return them to their parents.

“Itong mga NPA, kinukuha nila ‘yung mga anak, dinadala nila sa ibang lugar. Kunin ninyo ‘yung bata at isauli ninyo sa nanay pati tatay (These NPA rebels, they recruit the sons and daughters and bring them to different places. Bring them back to their mothers and fathers) because a child, a minor, should not be separated from the family home,” Duterte said in a situation briefing in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur on Tuesday night.

Duterte said soldiers do not need to have search warrants to enter the lairs of NPA terrorists who allegedly mold children into communist warriors.

“If the child is inside the house, there is already a crime committed, so you do not need a warrant to go in. Puntahan mo sa loob, kunin ‘yung mga bata at isauli mo (Go inside, take the children, and bring them back) at the earliest opportunity,” Duterte added.

He said he would assume full responsibility in executing the war against insurgency.

“Huwag kayong magpa-ano diyan sa komunista. Kapag nagkasabit-sabit kayo, sinabi ko na sa inyo ‘di ba? (Don’t get intimidated by these communists. If you get in trouble, I told you before), I assume full responsibility especially in prosecuting the war against the insurgents. Hulihin ninyo. Kapag magdemanda, sabihin mo “Huwag mo kaming i-demanda. I-demanda mo si Duterte (Arrest them. If they charge you in court, tell them “Don’t charge us, sue Duterte),” Duterte said.

On Feb. 15, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 7 and the Municipal Social Welfare and Development rescued 19 young indigenous peoples at the University of San Carlos (USC) in Talamban, Cebu.

Police Regional director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo said they are preparing human trafficking, child abuse, and kidnapping cases against Societas Verbi Divini (SVD) or the Society of the Divine Word, the congregation that supervises the USC, and seven others who are reportedly Salugpungan teachers.

Salugpungan schools, an alternative learning hub run by communist groups that were ordered closed by the government in 2019 for failing to secure permits, are reportedly being used as breeding grounds for the radicalization of tribal children.

Montejo said investigation results showed that the IPs, mostly minors, from Talaingod, Davao de Norte were supposed to be brought only to Davao City in 2018.

The parents, he said, were worried since their children have not returned home since then.

The IPs groups from Mindanao thanked the police and local government in Cebu for rescuing the young IPs.

“Government should and need to act to save these young indigenous people as advocates of citizen rights or Human Rights duty bearer,” Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL) and the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO) said in a joint statement released on Feb. 16. (PNA)

Credit belongs to : www.pna.gov.ph


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