Troops from the 86TH Infantry Battalion under the 502nd Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division rescued a young combatant being exploited by the CPP-NPA terrorists yesterday, December 16, 2019, in the vicinity of Brgy San Carlos, Echague, Province of Isabela.
The young male, identified as Jhon-Jhon A Serios@Macoy, was seen by government forces openly brandishing his M16 Rifle in one of the isolated villages.
With strict fire discipline, the soldiers were able to decisively restrain the armed child that prevented a violent confrontation.
“Our troops are well trained to use non-lethal means to subdue any threat. Our troops are well disciplined with high regard to Human Rights ” notes LTC Ali A Alejo, Acting Commanding Officer of the 86th Highlander Battalion based in Jones, Isabela.
Initial debriefing revealed that Jhon-Jhon is being exploited by the Communist Terrorists of the Regional Sentro de Gravidad as a child combatant and improvised explosives device (IED) courier. At the time of his rescue, he was carrying one (1) M16A1 rifle with four (4) long m16 magazine loaded with ammunitions, one (1) anti-personnel mine, 100m wire, one (1) 12 volts battery, one (1) CPP-NPA black shirt, a two-way radio, binoculars, sling bags, subversive documents, assorted medicines, an android phone, and personal belongings among others.
Further debriefing reveals that he was recruited into the group as a minor along with his other unassuming playmates.
“Recruiting child warriors has been the trade of the Communist NPA Terrorists. They have complete disregard for the welfare of children. Exploiting children to carry firearms is dangerous enough, more so utilizing them as IED couriers –this is way beyond violating Children’s Rights. This is just unacceptable” LTC Alejo adds.
The Regional Sentro de Gravidad was the same group engaged by government troops last December 14, 2019.
Last December 13, an IED detonated by the New People’s Army in the Province of Eastern Samar killed two (2) people, including a 69-year old woman and injuring 16 others, including three (3) minors.
Lt Gen Ramiro Manuel Rey, Commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) lauds the troop’s accomplishment.
“This accomplishment is a testament of the professionalism and adherence to Human Rights of our troops.” He said.
Lt Gen Rey further calls on the people of Northern Luzon to condemn the NPAs exploiting and corrupting unsuspecting minors to for violence.
“We are calling on parents of both Jhon-Jhon and other children who have been recruited into the ranks of the NPA, together with the peace-loving people of Northern Luzon, to unite against the terroristic impunity of the Communist NPA Terrorists. Together, let us end the local communist armed conflict in Northern Luzon.” notes LtGen Rey.