While stressing that recruiting minors is not new for the Communist Party of the Philippine-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana described this act as a sign of the groups’ growing desperation as their so-called “forces” and influence have tremendously diminished in the past months.
The defense chief made the remark when sought for a comment on why militant organizations are constantly trying to recruit or entice minors to join their ranks.
“While we know for a fact the growing desperation of the CPP-NPA-NDF as their so called ‘forces’ and influence tremendously diminish, their deceptive recruitment of minors is nothing new as since they have been doing this for decades. Using ‘legal front’ organizations that purportedly advance the people’s democratic rights, they have freely operated in democratic spaces such as campuses and vulnerable communities to lure our citizens into joining sectoral organizations and eventually, the armed movement,” he said in a message to reporters.
Aside from this, Lorenzana also pointed out that the communist movement does not have genuine concern for children or minors as it only uses them as pawns.
“The communist terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF does not care for the lives of children, since they will use anyone to forward their selfish agenda,” the DND chief stressed.
These actuations are supported by former rebels who have availed of the government assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and are now undergoing psycho-social interventions.
“(These former rebels) have attested that they have been fighting the government since they were 14 or 15. That is why the defense and military establishments are very vocal against the deceptive recruitment of young Filipinos in our schools and other institutions, and strongly condemn the abhorrent practice of using children in armed conflict,” Lorenzana stressed.
The CPP and its armed wing, the NPA, are listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)
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