TACLOBAN CITY – A former child warrior of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Visayas turned emotional as she cried for justice for the alleged deceptive recruitment employed by the NPA.
Lailanie Capada, now 25, from Brgy. Baras, Borongan City filed a complaint against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as she claims to have been robbed of her childhood.
Capada said she was recruited by the NPA Sub-regional Committee Sesame (SRC Sesame) of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) when she was only 17 years old in 2015.
However, she was only 9 when the NPAs frequented their house since her parents were also members of the rebel group.
“A lot of children who were even younger than me at that time were recruited by the NPAs. I was the only one who took the courage to file a case to finally end this and help stop the recruitment of child combatants,” she lamented.
She recalled that before she was recruited, she was studying but was deceived by the promises that her family would have a better future with the NPAs.
“My recruiter Rialyn Cazada told me that if I will join the rebel group I will have a better life. I will become a doctor and a soldier at the same time,” she said.
However, her experience with the rebel group was far from what they have promised as she was constantly covered with fear and uncertainty.
She served as the group’s medical officer deployed to perform life-threatening tasks by attacking soldiers.
“There are children who are still in the hands of the NPA and are being utilized as child combatants. I filed a case on their behalf to seek for justice and protect children from all forms of harm of deceptive recruitment schemes of the communist terrorists,” she stressed.
Capada who was accompanied by former rebels in filing the case recently, appealed to the CHR to act quickly on her complaint.
“I don’t want more children to be recruited, especially now that enrollment in schools is approaching. Some students get recruited in schools so I wish to put a stop to that,” she ended. By Marie Tonette Marticio (EV Mail July 10-16, 2023 issue)