by Fred C. Wilson III
August 1, 2011
Child Soldiers of the Philippines
“I have come to set the captives free.”
HISTORY OF CHILD SOLDIERS
Throughout the history of warfare children have always taken an active part in armed conflict. During war children are used as: combatants, spies, look outs, porters, messengers, sex slaves, human shields and instruments of propaganda.
Despite an international ban on the military uses of children, many armies still employ them.
The several times Academy Award nominated 2006 movie ‘Blood Diamonds’ showed global audiences the awful realities of innocence destroyed by the ugliness of war. The movie was about civil war in Africa and the nefarious diamond trade’s uses of children as miners, slaves, and warriors.
CHILDREN AT WAR-PHILIPPINES!
The situation in the Philippines appears to be hopeless. You have the New Peoples Army (NPA), a communist operative on one side, and the Mindanao Muslim Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the other side. Both are doing their utmost to topple whoever sits in the Palace. Both sides regularly recruit children to serve their causes without a second thought. They know it’s illegal and immoral but do they care about such ‘niceties’ when there’s power, glory, and riches to be had? I don’t think so.
Throughout this fratricidal conflict among the Muslim MILF, Communist NPA, and the government thousands of non-combatants have been killed in the crossfire. Civilians have been raped, tortured, left homeless, and lost their livelihoods. Most of all they were deprived of their greatest treasure, their precious children. These rebel groups are doing their utmost to render the Archipelago unfit for human habitation.
Your writer predicts that whoever ‘wins’ their victory will be a hollow one. Other rebel groups will spring up to take their places and these too will eventually turn on each other. Reader, remember what happened in mostly Catholic-Christian East Timor when after decades of warring against Muslim Indonesia, they finally won their independence? Other rebel groups immediately formed and the war renewed only this time it was Christian vs. Christian. What does this have to do with the Philippines? Both countries used children to help with the fighting.
Again as mentioned in previous articles, the main culprit is POVERTY. Cure poverty you’re half-way ‘home.’ If the issue of poverty continues to be ignored the fighting will intensify. Local warlords will continue to use children to do their dirty work and the fighting will go on until the country is uninhabitable.
There’s a huge amount of vital statistics available on child soldiers. I’ll mention a few:
* The MILF estimates that between 6,000 and 10,000 of their army are children between the ages of 13 and up!
* Philippine Army Brigadier General Victor Obillo and Captain Eduardo Montealito, both captured and released, claimed that 40% of NPA cadres who guarded them were children!
Reader the list I checked was very long. You want to read the rest go to: www.globalmarch.org
Only a complete dunce (idiot) would think that kid soldiers emerge intact after fighting a war. Adult veterans don’t, so how can children? Girls leave combat but return to society as prostitutes as do some boys, ex-kid soldiers suffer flashbacks in forms of nightmares, flashbacks, post- traumatic stress disorders and a variety of mental disorders. Functioning within ‘normal’ society without undergoing intensive psychological therapy is next to impossible. These poor kids are ruined for life though occasionally, miracles do happen.
STOPPING CHILD SOLDIERY
There’s been a lot of ‘lip service’ paid to the immorality of using kids to kill. International documents are fine but signing papers however nicely written won’t impact the problem. For want of something better here’s Article ‘X’ that part of the Philippine Republic’s Act Number 7610 on repatriating former child soldiers according the Official Gazette, Volume 88, Number 30 for you to read:
‘Section 22. Children as Zones of Peace. Children are hereby declared as Zones of Peace. It shall be the responsibility of the State and all other sectors concerned to resolve armed conflicts in order to promote the goal of children as zones of peace. To attain this objective, the following policies shall be observed:
a. Children shall not be the object of attack and shall be entitled to special respect. They shall be protected from any form of threat, assault, torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment;
b. Children shall not be recruited to become members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or its civilian units or other armed groups, nor be allowed to take part in the fighting, or used as guides, couriers, or spies;
c. Delivery of basic social services such as education, primary health and emergency relief services shall be kept unhampered;
d. The safety and protection of those who provide services including those involved in fact-finding missions from both government and non-government institutions shall be ensured. They shall not be subjected to undue harassment in the performance of their work;
The rest you can upload yourself. Just use your search engine, type in what you want and you’ll do fine.
LET ME EXPLAIN.
I’ve been accused by a few people of frequently borrowing from the Internet. In the trade they call that ‘cookie-cutter’ writing. Am I guilty; at times. MegaScene writers have to cover a lot of ‘territory’ within a 1,000 plus/minus word limit. When I write statistically charged articles like this one, there is no way I can say all I want. I give a brief sketch of what I’m saying and supply you with a variety of outside sources so you can glean from them at your leisure. Case in point: there’s a video with this article. I can’t show it here but you can upload it yourself. Reader I want YOU to decide how deep you wanna’ go with Philippine Adventures. You’re the boss. If you want me to write a book on a particular subject-hey-no problem; just email me a nice fat book contract and I’m your guy.
Mega Scene’s Philippine Adventures New Food Technologies was planned for this issue but I nixed it for a topic I considered more important. Till next time stay cool, drink plenty of water, watch those bike riders, and BE CAREFUL; GOD bless.