The pregnant 14-year-old rebel trainee who was among three apprehended in a recent military operation in Roxas is getting prenatal treatment and other welfare help from local authorities to guarantee her healthy pregnancy, a top official of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde) said over the weekend.
Col. Jimmy Larida, commander of the 3MBde, said she and her 16-year-old sibling had already been turned over to their parents and being supported by the Barangay Council for Protection of Children (BCPC). They were apprehended during a focused military operation conducted in Sitio Karatong, Barangay Tinitian, Roxas on October 13.
Larida said they are also working closely with other agencies to provide them with their needs. The Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT-3), which was instrumental in their arrest, had also been instructed to coordinate closely with these agencies.
“Ang standing guidelines natin doon sa MBLT-3 ay to coordinate closely sa mga agencies that should provide health services sa dalawang minors, lalo na doon sa 14-year-old [na] pregnant para ma-ensure natin na healthy sila pati ang baby sa kanyang sinapupunan,” he said.
Before their capture, Larida said the two teen girls were able to complete their short training in self-defense and weapon familiarization.
He said they believe that there may be a number of remaining recruited minors in Roxas based on their statements during the custodial investigation.
“Wala na silang sinasanto, 16 at 14 years old at buntis pa ay ni-recruit nila. Base sa salaysay ay nakapag-undergo na sila ng training kagaya ng self-defense [and] weapons familiarization, then nakapag take oath na din sila bilang kandidatong kasapi. Talagang recruited na sila,” he said.
“Hindi malayo na may iba pa [na kabataang na-recruit] dahil base sa salaysay [nila] more or less nasa 30 ang present during training nila. Masaya tayo dahil walang firefight and the minors were rescued successfully,” Larida added. “I consider it really a perfect combat operation”.
The New People’s Army (NPA) deceived the minors into thinking the training they were attending was only a farmers’ meeting, according to Larida.
He said they were asked to attend the training through letters of the invitation given by the rebel organization, based on the retrieved materials.
“May mga sulat na pumunta sila dito sa ganito, sa isang union ng mga magsasaka dahil matutulungan sila. Pagdating doon ay pinakita na ang mga videos ng mga NPA attacks sa mga sundalo hanggang sa hindi na sila makaalis,” he said.