PNP questions CHR findings on indoctrination of ‘lumad’ children in Cebu
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday questioned the assessment made by the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) which said that the 19 “lumad” (Indigenous Peoples) children allegedly rescued by police in Cebu were not indoctrinated by communists, as it challenged the CHR to “deepen its objective views in their investigation.”
In a statement, PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana added that the CHR had failed to look closely at the issues concerning lumad minors.
“Indoctrination from the Reds borders on radicalization. One does not measure a mere word shared by these children as basis of how radicals or future radicals think with a very short interview. CHR should know better,” Usana said.
“People might begin to wonder again who do they work for in their investigation if, at face value, after going back to their office they would write that kind of assessment without looking closely at the plight of these lumad children exploited in communist indoctrination. These children, and their parents, have a lot of stories to tell,” Usana added.
“If they care enough about the best interest of these children, CHR needs to deepen their objective views in their investigation,” he further pointed out.
Citing the accounts of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and parents of the lumad children, the CHR’s chief investigator for Central Visayas said there was no evidence that the children were coerced to join communist rebels while they were staying at the University of San Carlos (USC).
At least seven people who were arrested in the alleged rescue operation are now facing complaints of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and violation of anti-child abuse law, and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
The seven arrested, including three Indigenous Peoples, remain detained at the headquarters of the Police Regional Office-7 in Cebu.
Based on videos shown online, the lumad children were screaming as they were being dragged by their alleged rescuers.
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