The government forces have arrested eight suspected members of the communist New People's Army, two of them minors, in separate operations on Saturday.
In a 45-minute firefight, the military nabbed six rebels, including the two child warriors, before dawn in Brgy. Luyang, Mabinay, Negros Oriental.
Recovered from the rebels were high powered firearms, grenade launcher, explosives and other war fighting materials, food stuffs and subversive documents.
Meanwhile, in a joint police and military operation, an NPA couple were collared in Purok 7, Brgy. Mahayahay, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.
The couple, identified as Luzviminda and Aladin Apolinaria, was allegedly responsible in recruiting three rebels who surrendered to the authorities last December. The two rebel returnees were still minors when they were recruited, military said.
The couple were arrested after the two former rebels filed complaints against them, according to 29th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lt. Colonel Glen Aynera.
3rd Infantry Division Commander Brig. Gen. Dinoh Dolina said recruitment of minors as child warriors is a clear violation of Human Rights, Humanitarian Rights and the Rule of Law and Republic Act No. 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."
“The recruitment of minors by the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA terrorists is not new to us given that there are documented previous cases about minors surrendering, left behind by their comrades during encounters, revelations of former rebels and accounts from the communities," he said.
"Since then they have been recruiting minors to fill-up their ranks and doing acts of terror to the communities. Basically, these minors are exploited doing the dirty work for the leadership of the CPP-NPA terrorists” Dolina added. Ella Dionisio/DMS