From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 19, 2020): Army confirms encounter’s arrested individual is NPA (By Jemin B. Guillermo)
ILOILO CITY, April 19 – The captured individual in an encounter at Sitio Anoy, barangay Cabalaunan, Miag-ao, Iloilo was identified as a regular member of the communist terrorist group.
In a press release, it noted that the Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry (Bayanihan) Brigade has identified one of the arrested individuals as a certain Romeo Esmediana alias Toto/ Miller/Joy as a regular member of the New People’s Army (NPA).
He was also confirmed as such by a rebel returnee, who used to be his former comrade.
Esmediana was among those 11 individuals, of whom five were minors, who were captured by the Army troops during an encounter, April 18.
Identification process for the remaining arrested individuals is ongoing.
Colonel Marion Sison, 301st Infantry Brigade Commander, said that after the encounter, these CTGs are preparing to blend in the community as one of their tactics to avoid further apprehension.
“The communist terrorist group is using minors as their combatants and this is not new to us since we all know that the communist terrorist group is focusing on recruiting minors not only here in Panay but nationwide.” Sison said.
He added “I am very much disappointed knowing that they are blatantly violating and destroying the future of these children. Using minors to wage the armed struggle is a serious offense of the NPAs, and it is very alarming.”
Rule 136 of the International Humanitarian Law prohibits the recruitment of minors by any armed groups involved in hostilities, hence, a clear violation of the law, he said.
Sison has also called on the parents to guide their children and help the Philippine Army to stop the recruitment activities of the communist-terrorist group that targets the minors. (301st Infantry Brigade-PA/PIA6)