Was ComVal Girl a Guerrilla? AFP Now Unsure

Apr. 13, 2007

DAVAO CITY — The military on Friday appeared to have changed its position that Grecil Buya was a child combatant of the communist New People’s Army. Grecil was the nine-year-old girl from Compostela Valley who was killed during an encounter between communist rebels and soldiers on March 31 and whom the military earlier tagged as a member of the New People’s Army.

Instead, the military, which earlier said that soldiers were forced to shoot and kill Grecil because she allegedly had a firearm, now says it was not even sure whether the soldiers or the rebels shot the girl.

A report by the Philippine Information Agency in Davao City on Friday quoted Gen. Carlos Holganza, commanding general of the 1001st Infantry Battalion, as saying that, based on the military’s preliminary investigations, Grecil was not a child combatant.

I have talked to the parent and the teacher and found out that she was studying, Holganza said, according to the PIA report.

Holganza added that since the investigation has yet to be finalized, he could not ascertain where the bullet that hit Grecil came from. It could be either the military or from the NPA, he said at the Kapihan sa PIA on Friday.

Relatives, friends and neighbors of Grecil had told davaotoday.com that she was not a member of the NPA and that she was just a student. The military earlier claimed that Grecil fired an Armalite rifle at the soldiers during the firefight with the NPA a few meters from the child’s house.

The NPA had denied that Grecil was an NPA member and denounced the military for tagging her as such.

Holganza said he was willing to apologize to the family of Grecil after speculations shall have been cleared, referring to the possibility that the child had an association with the rebels.

Why was she at ease in their midst? Holganza asked at the forum.

Holganza said his command had extended help to the bereaved family of the child by providing financial assistance for her burial and asking a priest to bless her.

Holganza believed that the NPA is still into recruiting minors to join its forces citing findings of Time magazine early this year revealing that 25 percent of the NPA strength is minor. (davaotoday.com
with a report from the PIA)

[tags]davao today, philippines, philippines news, davao news, mindanao news, davao, mindanao [/tags]

comments powered by Disqus