TACLOBAN CITY – The Military has condemned the continued recruitment of minors as fighters by the communist rebel group New People’s Army (NPA) in Northern Samar.

The statement was released by the commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio following the apprehension of a 12-year-old boy carrying ammunitions and cartridge allegedly for use of rebel fighters in Northern Samar.

Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio, said that the NPA has been arming young recruits and forcing them to fight security forces.

He also stressed that recruiting youths as combatants violate the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

“This kind of incident is a clear manifestation that the NPA terrorist group violated the International Humanitarian Law stating that children ages 18 below are prohibited to participate in any hostilities and carrying supplies that could merely put their lives into danger”, Farnacio said.

“Let us give our children the chance to grow up while peacefully learning from their youthful experiences and contributing in their own unique ways. NPA should stop recruiting and using minors for their illegal activities”, Farnacio added.

The Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law is the first substantive agreement by the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist party of the Philippines, signed in 1998 in the Hague.

On May  13 Wednesday, while conducting security patrol in Baranggay De Tubang, Silvino Lobos,Northern Samar, the troops of 803rd Infantry Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade apprehended a 12-year old boy carrying a half sack of rice that concealed 20 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunitions, three (3) cartridge 7.62 mm, linked for M60 machinegun and two (2) cartridge 5.56 mm linked for K3 machine gun.

After some interview, the child was immediately turned-over to Provincial Social Welfare Development for proper custody and brought to Catarman Provincial Hospital to check his health condition. Photos by/isumat.com