/ 23 March 2021

A STUDENT from the Lumad Bakwit School who was taken by authorities in an alleged rescue operation is too weak to stand or talk, Save Our Schools Network-Cebu said.

On Sunday, March 21, a paralegal team from the SOSN reported that Esmelito Oribawan has not received medical attention.

The group added that the 19-year-old student coughed up blood on March 17.

“The jail conditions prove not to be conducive let alone ample for those detained. Esme’s mother could not even speak to him directly as she continues to be barred by the police officer to go near her son,” SOSN said in a statement.

“The police in charge of the detention facility merely let him have hot water and multivitamins, instead of allowing him to be attended to by a medical professional,” it added.

SOSN claimed that police officers took Oribawan to the Cebu City Medical Center for a check-up after he vomited blood.

“Despite being brought for a checkup, the hospital did not give any discharge notes or plan for disposition. The doctor working with the SOS Cebu team was not able to assess Esme but advised the SOS Cebu team to obtain OPD papers/discharge notes from the hospital, which are public documents,” the group said.

It added that there was “no food provision” for any of the detained Lumads as the group’s paralegal only delivers food for them.

On February 15, personnel from the Police Regional-7 and the Department of Social Welfare and Development conducted a rescue operation at the University of San Carlos-Talamban campus retreat house, where the Lumad students have been staying since March 2020.

The police took into custody three adult Lumad students, two volunteer teachers and two community elders.

Oribawan is among seven persons facing complaints of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, violation of anti-child abuse law and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.