Imee: Remember NPA Child Recruits On Holy Innocents’ Day

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Senator Imee Marcos said child rebels who have died in combat or who have not returned to their families after being recruited by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) should be remembered every December 28, on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Marcos issued the statement to express support for the grieving mothers who demonstrated against the Communist Party of the Philippines on its 51st anniversary Thursday.

“Patay man o buhay ang kanilang mga anak, ang mga magulang ay patuloy na nagdadalamhati sa ginawang pagsasamantla ng mga kaaway ng estado sa kanilang kamusmusan,” Marcos explained.

Children, under Republic Act 9262 or the law defining violence against women and children, are those below 18 or older but who cannot care for themselves.

“Isang karahasan ang pagkaitan ang mga magulang na mahalin ang kanilang mga anak. Malinaw na paglabag sa batas ang ginagawa ng mga berdugong NPA,” Marcos said.

Marcos has sought to amend the Anti-Terrorist Act via Senate Bill 630, which classifies rebellion, kidnapping, and their glorification as acts of terrorism that are subject to heavy penalties.

Besides urban recruitment in universities, Marcos cited the “more atrocious” recruitment of child warriors as young as five years old and rape of teenagers in the rural network of NPA indoctrination centers that masqueraded as schools for indigenous peoples (IPs), known as the Salugpungan Tatanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc.

Tribal leaders Datu Awang Apuga, Datu Joel Dahusay, and Bae Magdalina Ilagan have testified as witnesses and as former Salugpungan students who were victims of NPA atrocities themselves, in a hearing of the Senate committee on cultural communities which Marcos chairs.

The Feast of the Holy Innocents is a Catholic holiday that recalls the random slaughter of children in biblical times, ordered by King Herod who feared the coming of a newborn king, as prophesied.