Captured NPA rebel admits recruiting Quezon teenager

Published by rudy Date posted on December 8, 2008

A New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla, who was earlier captured by military forces in Quezon province, admitted that they recruited the 15-year-old boy whose family had reported missing.

Jose Cabradilla, 25, alias Ka Renan, a vice platoon commander of the NPA’s Maria Teresa de Leon Command, told The STAR that he was among those who convinced the teenager, who was identified only as Pipoy, to join the underground movement as a “part-time member.”

“He wanted to handle weapons so it was easy for me to recruit him, but he could not, as a matter of policy, become a full-time fighter because he is a minor,” he said in Filipino.

Cabradilla said he already informed the boy’s parents, Adelaida and Ignacio Sumucol, about their son’s condition last month, or two months after Army troopers captured him in Catanauan, Quezon.

“I informed the family because I was being bothered by my conscience. I am worried about what might happen to him if in case he figures in an encounter with soldiers,” he said.

As a “part-time member,” Cabradilla said Pipoy serves as a courier of the NPA and is sometimes allowed to handle firearms, if there are any guns available.

Citing the dangers of being an insurgent, he said the NPA should reunite the minor with his family to spare him from the perils of combat.

“Soldiers might not be able to distinguish him in combat and that thought makes me worried,” he said.

The National Democratic Front (NDF) has denied that the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been recruiting minors as fighters, saying this goes against international agreements on the use of children in combat.

Fidel Agcaoili, chairman of the NDF Human Rights Monitoring Committee, said in a statement that since 1988, ahead of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the CPP-NPA has already adopted the minimum age of 18 for its recruits.

The recruitment of minors as fighters is prohibited under the Geneva Convention.–James Mananghaya, Philippine Star

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