BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The four minors, who are now under custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, issued an appeal for their parents who joined the New People’s Army, to surrender.
Lt. Col. J-Jay Javines, 79th Infantry Battalion commander, disclosed that the four minors, including three boys, aged 16, 10, and seven, and a 13-year-old girl, who are residents of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, were left by their parents who entrusted them to a certain Dianita Batcheller in Sitio Taibak, Brgy. Hilub-ang, Calatrava, in October, 2020.
Javines said that it is a common practice of the New People’s Army, especially if parents are active members of the terrorist group, to leave their children under the care of their mass base supporters, or trusted contacts.
The children’s plight was reported by the 79IB to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) on January 20 after troops patrolling remote Barangay Hilub-ang learned about their situation.
The four minors told personnel of the DSWD that they never heard any news from their parents, who are members of the NPA operating in central Negros, especially in Guihulngan City, after leaving them in 2020, Javines said.
These kids should be taken care of by their parents and not abandoned in the mercy of other people, much more those who are not relatives, he stressed, noting that such practice that seems unimaginable within a Filipino culture that values close family ties.
The elder of the four siblings said they loved their parents and wants to reunite with them.
During a meeting with MSDWO personnel of Calatrava and Hilub-ang barangay officials, where the four minors were turned over by the 79IB, Javines said they discussed the need for them to register their birth with the Local Civil Registrar, allowing them to attend school, and providing them with a sustainable livelihood.
1Lt. Dansan Camua, 79IB Civil Military Operations officer, said they provided the children with personal items, such as clothes and slippers, and the family where the children are staying also received relief goods from the local government.
“We don’t know yet until when they will stay there. The MSWDO assessment is ongoing to determine if there are relatives who can take them in,” he added.* with report from PNA