Two minors claiming to be members of NPA surrender

TWO UNDERAGE members of the New People’s Army surrendered to Vice Mayor Edgardo Timbol of Kapalong, Davao del Norte on Monday following a series of clashes between elements of the 60th Infantry Battalion (60IB) and the rebels in the area.

The two alleged rebels were verified to be aged 17 and 14, respectively. They claimed to have been part of the encounters at the boundary of Kapalong, San Isidro and Asuncion towns. They ran away after getting the chance.

Both are now undergoing medical checkup and psychological debriefing by the local health and social welfare and development offices.

The 14-year-old boy told authorities that he got tired of running away from soldiers. The troops of 60th IB have been clearing the hinterlands of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley since early February when the ceasefire was lifted.

In a statement, Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla, commander of 60th IB, is disheartened with the NPA’s reported continued recruitment of child soldiers.

“It is a clear violation of various stipulations in signed agreements and even in local and international laws and conventions,” Canilla said. “The NPA is also continuously exploiting indigenous peoples in their operations despite the latter being considered a vulnerable sector.”

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