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513 minors recruited by NPA have been ‘neutralized’ — Bato dela Rosa

A total of 513 minors recruited by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army have been neutralized in the past two decades, Senator Ronald dela Rosa said Wednesday.

Dela Rosa said the figure accounts for those who surrendered, captured, and killed based on data from the Armed Forces of the Philippines

“Recruited by different groups who ended up joining the armed group, NPA, 513 from 1999 to 2019. Mga estudyanteng minor na umakyat sa bundok at naging regular armed ng NPA na nahuli, napatay, o nag-surrender,” he told reporters after the hearing .

Dela Rosa, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, presided over the hearing on the missing senior high school students who were allegedly recruited by leftist group Anakbayan.

A breakdown provided by his office showed that of the number, 362 minors have surrendered, 134 have been captured, and 17 have been killed.

Dela Rosa believes the number would be bigger if those still in the mountains will be included.

He expressed alarm over the number of minors joining the communist group.

“Alarming in the sense na mga menor de edad ito na dapat nag-aaral, bakit andun sa kalsada? Nabe-brainwash, pino-poison ang utak nitong mga makakaliwa para lumaban sa gobyerno. very alarming yan,” he said.

In the next hearing, Dela Rosa said  among the resource persons are rebel returnees who will share their experience on how they were recruited.

“Meron pang mga rebel returnees na gustong mag-share sa kanilang experience the same situation ng mga batang ito. Former students na nirecruit ng NPA at ngayon ay nagsurrender.  Gusto rin magshare ng kanilang side para malaman ng mga bata na ‘wag kayo magpaloko,” he said.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said it has filed a complaint against Anakbayan over the case of a missing senior high student.

Anakbayan spokesperson Alex Danday, however, called the filing of the complaint a "desperate" move by President Rodrigo Duterte, with the help of the security forces and the Senate, to discredit activism.

“Desperate moves ito ni Duterte kasama ang militar at senado para i-discredit ang aktibismo, siraan ang paglaban ng mamamayan sa gitna ng tumitinding kalagayan ng bansa,” Danday said on Wednesday. — RSJ, GMA News