NPA platoon leader, 4 others rapped for enlisting minor

By Jennifer P. Rendon


A local leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) and four other rebels were criminally charged for allegedly recruiting a minor to join the armed movement.

The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) said that the San Joaquin Police Station filed a case for violation of Republic Act 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003) in relation to RA 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) against Joven Ceralvo and four others who were only known by their aliases.

Ceralvo alias Lex is said to be the commanding officer of the Suyak Platoon, Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay operating in the hinterland areas of Southern Panay.

Colonel Gilbert Gorero, Iloilo police chief, said the San Joaquin PNP Women and Children’s Protection Desk filed the case on April 6, 2021 before the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutors Office.

Nene, a Grade 9 student from a town in southern Iloilo, was the complainant against Ceralvo and four others.

“A minor, she was recruited to join the NPA. She was deceived into taking part in armed movement,” he said.

Nene surrendered to the Philippine Army on March 16. She said she was lured into joining the group after the group promised to send her to school.

Without the knowledge of her parents, she trudged the mountains of Panay’s southern portion sometime in November 2020.

At the time of her recruitment, there was also another girl slightly older than Nene who was also lured into joining the movement.

She later learned that apart from them, there were other girls and women who have recently joined the group.

Initially, Nene said they were tasked to do menial jobs – from cooking to fetching water.

Soon, they were indoctrinated into the armed movement and were trained to hold and fire guns.

But weeks into the group, Nene admitted that her experience was nothing that she ever imagined. In fact, it was far from what she hoped for.

Nene said she survived without eating for two days.

She endured it all – hunger, hardships, lack of sleep, and those that come in between.

But the last straw came after a male NPA member made sexual advances at her.

Engulfed by fear, Nene said she had kept her verbal protests to herself.

The sexual advancements didn’t stop, and Nene feared that she might get raped if she wouldn’t flee.