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24 NPA child combatants give up armed struggle

11/09/2009 3:05 PM

DAVAO CITY - The military on Monday said 24 child combatants of the New People's Army operating in Davao region surrendered to the government last month.

Capt. Emmanuel Garcia, spokesman of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said five of the child warriors belonged to the NPA Front Committee 51. They surrendered to the 39th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Binaton, Digos City, Davao del Sur last October 22.

Barangay Binaton made headlines 20 years ago following the massacre of a Lumad community in Sitio Rano on June 25, 1989 allegedly perpetrated by rebels.

The former NPA child warriors said they would like to avail of the government’s Social Integration Program (SIP) being implemented by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process now headed by Secretary Annabelle T. Abaya.

Under the program, the government extends livelihood assistance to rebels who surrendered with an outright grant of P20,000 cash each as seed money for them to start a small business of their own, Abaya said.

A rebel who surrenders an M16 assault rifle or the equivalent firepower will receive an additional P50,000, and if he qualifies to undergo a livelihood training program, he will get another P50,000 in kind such as hand tractor, working animal, a tricycle or sari-sari store.

Last October 18, a young female combatant of the NPA voluntarily surrendered to soldiers operating in Compostela Valley.



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