Senator Bato dela Rosa is seeking the conduct of a thorough probe on the case of missing minors who were allegedly recruited by leftist groups to be part of their activities as members and as fighters for the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
In his Resolution No. 38, Dela Rosa is asking his committee, the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, and the Committee on National Security and Defense to conduct the inquiry on the said issue.
“An investigation on this case could ferret out the truth.”
“We really wanted to know the real score behind this issue. An investigation on this case could ferret out the truth and in the end, we could also recommend actions that will ensure the peace in the country as well as protect and preserve the welfare of our children,” the legislator said.
The lawmaker said that on July 23, parents of minors who were allegedly recruited by groups reportedly linked to the communist movement, visited his office about their children. The senator said the parents even reported incidents of alleged indoctrination and recruitment of their missing children by members of the left-leaning organizations.
The parents, he further noted, stated that due to the alleged recruitment, their children, all minors, were purportedly induced to leave and abandon their homes permanently.
One of the parents claimed that his 16-year-old daughter left their home for almost a week for a leadership training without their consent. Concerned for the safety of his child, the father searched for her and found her in a political rally in Quezon City.
“Communist terrorists are recruiting minors as their fighters as young as 10 years old.”
Another parent claimed that his child was convinced to leave their home for three days to attend a seminar in a state university. When the mother checked on the child’s whereabouts, she failed to locate her as the said seminar did not exist.
“There was an alarming report that communist terrorists are recruiting minors as their fighters as young as 10 years old. Same news report also claimed that the communist group has been doing this for decades but their recruitment efforts were intensified now because their armed group have been depleted due to frequent clash with government troops,” Dela Rosa said.
Earlier, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año claimed that the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratice Front (NDF) are involved in the recruitment of child fighters.
“The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) / National Peoples’ Army (NPA) / National Democratic Front (NDF) are poisoning the minds of the children to take up arms against the government. They teach the innocent how to use a gun, how to fight in armed combat, how to gain people’s sympathy, to sing a different version of the national anthem and to join rallies calling for the overthrow of government,” he said.
Año further claimed that a 15-year-old child who was fighting for the NPA was killed in a clash between government troops and communist rebels.
Dela Rosa stressed that the Constitution mandates educational institutions and the Commission on Higher Education to inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach the rights and duties of citizenship,
strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline, encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden scientific and technological knowledge, and promote vocational efficiency.
The concerned parents alleged that the CHED and the schools where their children were enrolled have failed in their duty to protect their children against the alleged recruitment and indoctrination by communist-linked groups. The parents further alleged that the educational institutions have also been mum on the issue despite the use of their facilities in the recruitment of their children.
In efforts to protect the interest and welfare of the children, Dela Rosa underscored the urgent need to investigate the disturbing reports of the alleged recruitment of minors as fighters of the CPP / NPA / NDF. He also noted that the said allegations against CPP / NPA / NDF would be detrimental to the efforts of the government and the concerned groups in achieving lasting peace in the country.