AFP doubts NPA will stop recruiting ‘child warriors’

A SENIOR military official on Monday, April 11, expressed doubts that the New People’s Army (NPA) will stop recruiting “child-warriors.”

Military spokesman, Brig. General Jose Mabanta, voiced out this sentiments even as the United Nation (UN) and National Democratic Front (NDF), the main political arm of the NPA, talked about the removal of child soldiers in the battlefield.

“The thing is do they really have control over their forces? Their recruitment is diminishing that’s why they look at other sources of recruitment to include minors, women and even outcast of the society,” Mabanta said.

The military spokesman said, the NPA will have a hard time stopping the recruitment of child soldiers.

“The sincerity is there, but the implementation is the one that is in doubt and questionable,” Mabanta said.

The military spokesman said that for the 12-year period, the military was able to neutralize a total of 348 child warriors, but could not say how many children are being employed by communist rebels as soldiers.

“We only have data on the number of child warriors that we were able to neutralize, we are not talking about present memberships,” Mabanta said.

“At this point, the issue of child warriors is really beyond the Armed Forces (AFP) and the government. It’s really up to them to be true to their words,” Mabanta said. Anthony Vargas

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