Child amazon surrenders to army battalion in Kapalong

A 15-YEAR-OLD girl rebel and 18-year-old New People’s Army member surrendered to the Bravo company of the 60th Infantry Battalion in  Sitio Patil, Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong in Davao del Norte on Monday.

2Lt. Amadeuz  Vj Celestial, civil-military operations (CMO) officer of 60th IB, identified the  girl only as alias Rose, medic of the Pulang Bagani Command 4. Prior to his surrender, alias  Junjun was the squad leader of  Primera, Abe, Carlos of Pulang Bagani Command 4, Sub-Regional Committee of the Southern Mindanao Regional Command.

They both belong to the Dibabawon tribe. They initially made contact with a tribal leader in the area and the commander of a Cafgu Active Auxiliary Detachment in Kapalong.

Accordingly, Junjun was recruited by certain alias  Pai and Rose was  recruited by certain Emilies Bat-ao who promised to support their schooling in Davao City.

Rose claimed that she grew tired of always escaping the authorities, and she didn’t fully grasp the ideology of the NPA. Junjun claimed that he experienced abuse at the hands of the senior rebel leaders. He was made to carry heavy packs and personal belongings from the time he was 15.

He also claimed to have stayed in UCCP Haran in Davao City for about a month. They both revealed that there are four still four Lumad child-soldiers in their command.

Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla, the battalion commander, said that recruiting Rose and Junjun only showed that the NPA continues to disregard international laws on the use of child soldiers.

Based on their records, Rose was the fifth underage rebels who surrendered to their battalion.

Two more members surrender in Bukidnon

Meanwhile, two NPA members are set to participate in the 3rd Infantry Battalion’s Arm-to-Farm program after their surrender on Sunday in Impasugong, Bukidnon. Under the program, the two would be working in the farm for their initial subsistence.

Lt. Erwin Bugarin, civil-military operations (CMO) officer of 3rd IB, said the two  rebel returnees, whose names are withheld for security purposes, brought with them four firearms with bullets.

“Despite of the holidays, we work to keep threats away from the community,” he said. “We may be mandated to go after armed groups but we never get tired of helping those who saw a brighter path and are seeking a better future.”

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