Lorenzana: Groups linked to using child soldiers, charged
CALOOCAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said government has filed appropriate charges against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front’s alleged use of child warriors in armed conflicts and hostilities.
Speaking during the Pre-SONA powered and multicast by the Presidential Communications, Lorenzana denounced the CPP-NPA-NDF’s supposed use of minors to wage their decades-long guerrilla-type warfare against government.
“Para pangalagaan ang karapatan ng mga kabataan, sinampahan natin ng kasong trafficking of persons, kidnapping, child abuse at krimen laban sa international humanitarian law ang mga organisasyong nagri-recruit ng mga child warriors gamit ang kanilang mga Salugpungan schools, unibersidad at kolehiyo,” Lorenzana said.
The official said the Department of Education has ordered the permanent closure of Salugpungan schools for indigenous peoples in the Davao region based on probes conducted that these institutions were reportedly encouraging students to rebel against the government.
“Sa pakikipagtulungan natin sa Kagawaran ng Edukasyon, naipasara ang mga huwad na mga paaralang ito na ginagamit na front ng CPP-NPA-NDF,” Lorenzana said.
“Layunin ng mga ito na linlangin ang mga katutubong kabataan, lasunin ang kanilang isipan at turuan silang labanan ang pamahalaan.
Earlier, the DepEd’s investigation revealed that aside from failing to use government-approved curriculum, the 55 Salugpungan schools across Mindanao also bring students away from their homes without parental consent.
The agency also found out of the schools’ use of the students to generate funds allegedly for use by the CPP-NPA-NDF, as well as hiring unlicensed teachers.
Moreover, the probe also identified that the schools were operating within the ancestral domain of indigenous peoples without the natives’ consent.
“Tinutulungan natin ngayon ang mga apektadong mag-aaral para magkaroon ng dekalidad, kapakipakinabang, makabuluhan at makabayang edukasyon,” Lorenzana said.
“Hindi baril at bala ang solusyon para wakasan ang mga armadong grupong lumalaban sa pamahalaan kung hindi mabigyan sila ng pagkakataong magbagong buhay at mabuhay ng tahimik kapiling ng kanilang mga pamilya,” he added. (PIA NCR)