From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 11, 2019): 4ID welcomes CHR probe vs. NPA recruitment of minors
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Army's 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division (4ID) has welcomed the decision of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to investigate the recruitment of minors by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA).
In a statement, 4ID said it hopes the probe could lead to "finally ending the recruitment of minors (by) the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs)"
"Their continuous recruitment is a clear violation of the Children’s Right and the International Humanitarian Law. The youth is the hope of our nation and the CTG is destroying our future,” said Maj. General Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4ID commander.
Earlier, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia told CNN Philippines that under the International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, even non-state armed groups must respect the prohibition on the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict and hostilities.
“[The boy] was still in his development years and should be focusing on honing his potentials so he can pursue his goals and dreams but his life was snuffed out and can no longer be taken back,” De Guia said, referring to the 16-year old NPA member who was killed in an encounter with government troops in Butuan City recently.
The Army said the minor was recruited when he was just 14-years-old.
Based on 4ID records, a total of 63 NPA minor combatants aged 12 to 17 operating in Northern Mindanao and Caraga have either surrendered or killed since January 2019.
The Army division cited the case of alias Christine, 17, an NPA medic who surrendered to 23 Infantry Battalion in early October this year.
"They didn’t allow me to visit my family and they threatened to kill them if we tell the authorities," Christine was quoted by 4ID as having told military authorities during a debriefing.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.