By Francis Wakefield
The Communist NPA Terrorist Groups (CNTGs), including their left-leaning and legal organizations through the National Democratic Front (NDF) and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), continue to deceive and exploit minors, teenagers and Indigenous People (IP) to support their armed struggle.
This revelation was made by surrenderees to the Armed Forces of the Philippines- Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom) units during the interview conducted among the young NPA surrenderees by the joint elements of Joint Task Force (JTF) “KAUGNAY” and the local Philippine National Police (PNP) in the area.
It was recalled that five teenagers yielded to authorities last July 5, 2018, citing fatigue and difficulty in the mountains as regular red fighters (NPA). The surrender was made possible through the assistance of the local community in Licuan Baay, Abra.
Three of the teen surrenderees – alias Bravo, 18; alias Mike,18; and alias Oscar, 18 – were turned-over by the Licuan-Baay Municipal Police Station (MPS) to the Headquarters of the Army’s 24th Infantry Battalion (24IB) for proper disposition and to undergo medical examination.
On the other hand, two other recruited NPA members identified as alias Romeo, 17; and alias Alfa, 15, were both turned-over by the PNP to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office (DSWDO) for the conduct of appropriate social intervention.
All surrenderees were minors and teenagers who were engaged in violent and terroristic activities perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
The surrenderees revealed that they were natives of Bukidnon belonging to the Manobo tribe. All were deceived and recruited as regular NPA members and transported to Luzon.
“This only shows that Indigenous People (IP) and other minority groups are continuously being exploited by the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) to regain their ranks,” AFP-NoLCom Spokesman Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said.
Nato said the teenagers and minors were recruited by a certain Jeffrey Mandagit (an activist) in August 2017, to go to Manila to have a job as piggery caretakers.
They boarded a passenger ship from Cagayan De Oro to Manila and upon arrival at the port, they were fetched by Mr. Mandagit and were brought to UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City, Metro Manila.
They were then obliged to join mass protests in Manila in September 2017, with a promise that they could avail of a job within a week. But the promise did not materialize.
In October 2017, they were sent to Abra with the promise of a decent job in Bangued. From there, they were brought to an NPA Camp and became a full-time red fighters.
They proceeded to an undisclosed barangay in Abra in November 2017, spending a month providing security to their political officers.
Nato said their activities in Abra included cultural presentation, commemoration of the death of prominent comrades and training, while their comrades and political officers conducted meetings and planning activities, including tactical offensives against selected targets.
“Their revelations manifest the illegal utilization of the young Indigenous People (IP) recruits in different mass mobilization, mass works being taken advantage by the legal and left-leaning organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Nato said.
“With the Local Government Units (LGUs), and through Local Peace Initiatives, NoLCom will continue to encourage more NPA members to abandon their armed struggle and give them the opportunity to live peacefully again with their families,” he said.