NPA’s recruitment of minors in the Visayas still a concern, says VISCOM official

By: Pegeen Maisie M. Sararaña - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | January 17,2022 - 01:49 PM

 

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The recruitment of minors by the New People’s Army in the Visayas remains to be a concern, according to an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Visayas Command (VISCOM).

Major Israel Galorio, information officer of the Visayas Command, made this statement following the rescue of two minors during an armed encounter with soldiers in barangay Sandayao, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental last Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Galorio said that majority of those rescued minors who were reportedly recruited by the NPA were no longer connected with the  group anymore and will undergo a series of programs provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Galorio said the rescue proves that the report they receive on recruitment of minors is true.

“Hindi ko masabing minimal eh kasi marami talagang reports na may nga minors na silang nirerecruit. Then itong mga minors na na rescue natin, although hindi ganun kalaki yung figures, this is a manifestation na talagang totoo yung report sa atin na nag rerecruit talaga sila ng mga minors, especially doon sa mga rural areas,” Galorio said.

(We can’t say it’s minimal because there are a lot of reports that they are recruiting minors. Then these minors whom we have rescued, although they are not that many in figures, this is a manifestation that the report that we receive about recruiting of minors is true, especially in rural areas.)

Based on their interviews with the rescued minors, the common reasons they give for joining the group is ‘adventurism,’ given that the young ones are ideologists and they develop many ideologies and beliefs, which opens doors to deception from the terrorist group.

Galorio also noted that the strength of the NPA in the Visayas is weakening.

“Pabagsak na po talaga yung NPA dito sa Visayas and we are exactly right [with] our timeline na tapusin yung comunist terrorist dito at the end of the current administration, ma eradicate natin yung NPA dito sa Visayas,” he said.

(The NPA is weakening here in the Visayas and we are exactly right [with] our timeline to eradicate the communist terrorist here in the Visayas at the end of the current administration.)

Galorio said that as of January 1, 2022,to today, they already have a total of 97 surrendered NPA who yielded along with them 24 firearms. In this case, Galorio said that not only manpower, but the fire power capability of this group is also limited.

Apart from that, Galorio said that they were also able to neutralize at least 47 NPA members in the same period during encounters and made 40 arrests during their law enforcement operations.

Aside from the members, since January 1 to December 31, 2021, there are around 977 supporters who denounced their support from the said terrorist group.

Galorio said that they attribute this development to the cooperation of the community. In fact, he said, the latest encounter in barangay Sandayong in Guihulngan City stemmed from a report from a concerned individual.

The said encounter resulted in the death of one and the capture of four, including the rescue of the two minors.

Aside from community involvement and empowerment, Galorio also attributed this development to their ‘whole of nation approach,’ wherein concerned agencies support their effort in eradicating insurgency in the Visayas.

Lastly, Galorio said that their information drive helped in preventing deception from the NPA.

With this, Galorio further appeals to all minors to be careful and cautious and refuse from joining groups, especially those that could not help them with their development. Aside from that, Galorio also said that children must closely coordinate with their parents regarding recruitments they receive from the NPA.

The VISCOM’s goal is to combat terrorism and bring peace and sustainable development in the region.

/bmjo

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TAGS: minors, New People's Army, supporters, Visayas, weakening

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