Newly recruited minor flees NPA in Agusan Norte

A newly recruited minor managed to flee the communist New People’s Army (NPA) after a week of staying with the rebels in the Agusan del Norte town of Jabonga, an official of the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion said May 15, 2020.

SAFE ESCAPE. A minor identified as Alias “Yunik”, 17, managed to escape from the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and return to his parents last May 10, 2020. He was turned over to the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion and the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) for proper interventions. (Photo courtesy of CMO, 29th IB)

Capt. Miguel O. Borromeo, 29IB civil-military operations officer, told the Philippine News Agency on May 15, 2020, that “Yunik”–not his real name–managed to return to his parents in Jabonga on May 9.

“The parents informed us of the return of their son from the hands of the NPA. We immediately fetched the minor to provide him the necessary assistance and relief,” Borromeo said, adding the teen also received help from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

“We first allowed the minor to recover from trauma. After a week with the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs), the boy experienced fear, hunger, and too much exhaustion,” Borromeo said.

He said “Yunik” was assigned as an armed member of the Sangay Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) 16A of the Guerilla Front Committee (GFC) 16 of the NPA’s North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command (NEMRC).

“He told us that after a week with the CNTs, he could no longer bear the difficulties, the hiking in the mountains, hunger, and the lack of sleep,” Borromeo said.

He added that the minor also witnessed how the NPA combatants intimidated and took away food from the residents in remote villages, most of whom depended only on government-provided relief goods.

Borromeo said the 29IB will continue its drive against the NPA recruitment in the province, even as he sought help from parents whose children were lured by the rebels to join their ranks.

“On May 7, 2020, the parents of three recruited minors went to us and asked for help and voiced out their concerns through our radio program. These children were recruited by the NPA last May 1, 2020,” Borromeo said.

In a statement, Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, 29IB commander, said “Yunik” was lucky to escape from the hands of the NPA.

“I hope he has now been fully awakened from the deceptive lies of these devils,” Criste said, as he called on the remaining NPA rebels to surrender and return to the mainstream society. (PNA)

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