/ 25 February 2021

FOUR parents of the Lumad learners rescued in Cebu City on February 15, 2021 were snatched by suspected communist rebels who posed as policemen in Davao del Norte, the police said.

PNP chief Debold M Sinas, citing reports from the Police Regional Office 11, said the four were among eight Ata Manobo parents whom police were supposed to meet in Sitio Kamingawan, Talaingod, Davao del Norte on February 22, Monday. They were supposed to travel to Cebu City.

He said that police learned that the four were taken by organizers of communist front groups who introduced themselves as police officers.

The four were later monitored applying for travel authority at the airport and undergoing RT-PCR test at the New World Diagnostic Center, Sinas said.

“Obviously, these four parents were lured into believing they would be meeting with their children in Cebu when they were taken by persons who disguised themselves as police officers. I can only surmise that this is part of desperate moves by the communist front organizations to get away from the criminal liability of serious illegal detention and child exploitation,” he said.

Sinas said the police and social welfare authorities in Davao are trying to locate the parents of the Lumad children rescued from the University of San Carlos Retreat House in Balamban, Cebu City to obtain their sworn statements.

Six Lumad parents earlier travelled to Cebu City to accompany their rescued children back to Davao.

Of the 13 Manobo children rescued in Cebu City, only six were able to return to Davao on Sunday accompanied by their parents.

The Children’s Legal Bureau did not allow the other children to leave because they were not accompanied by their parents.

The Ata Manobo children were among the 19 minors from different parts of Mindanao who were taken to Cebu City by members of the Salugpongan School purportedly to undergo alternative learning.

The police claimed that they were taught revolutionary warfare.