Insurgents in Mindoro continue to field child as ‘warriors,’ according to Philippine Army

POSTED: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

CALAPAN CITY – The Philippine Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recently accused that insurgents belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA) continue to employ and field children as their “warriors” in Mindoro Island.

And this was again proved when a certain Jomar Yamoan, or known as “Ka Jerwin,” a minor, voluntarily surrendered to 4th Infantry “Scorpion” Battalion last October 1 in a remote southern part of Oriental Mindoro province.

The “young rebel combatant” reportedly turned over to government troops there one 12 gauge shot gun, a caliber .38 pistol and a hand grenade during his surrender.

According to 1Lt Nelvic Teejay L. Lopez of the Philippine Army, the surrender was part of a successful intelligence build up and hearts and minds campaign with the indigenous people’s communities.

Jomar is a son of Armando V. Yamoan, a Mangyan belonging to Hanunuo tribe.  He is the third of ten siblings and a resident of Sitio Alimango, Brgy Milagrosa, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.

During his debriefing and counselling at the Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD) office of Bulalacao. Jomar revealed that he was a grade six student and only 12 when he was convinced by a certain “Ka Jeffrey” to join the underground movement as a courier in his hometown five years ago.  Three months later, after being recruited, he joined as a fulltime member of the rebel group operating in the hinterlands of Mansalay and Bulalacao towns.

He obtained a gunshot wound in the right thigh on his third encounter with the government forces in year 2013.

Jomar told MSWD staff that it was peer pressure and sweet talking rebel that lured him join communist movement.  He further revealed that the insurgents used issues on military abuses to recruit them.  When asked by Mrs Dyna Krissle F Cantos, the Officer-in-Charge of MSWD, if he himself experienced or witnessed the so-called abuses, he answered a big “no”.  Mrs Cantos later explained that the rebels had brainwashed and deceived him into joining.

He will continue to undergo proper management, psychological and social intervention with the MSWD of Bulalacao.  The army’s 4th Infantry Battalion, in collaboration with the local government unit of the said municipality and the province of Oriental Mindoro will help him avail of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program to allow him to rejoin the mainstream and live a normal life.

The AFP stated the recruitment of child warriors was a clear violation of the rules of war, and was clearly prohibited under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. (By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY)

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