Police say transport of Lumads was ‘legal’
CEBU CITY, Philippines —The Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (RID-PRO7) said there was nothing illegal with the transport of Lumad minors to their hometown in Davao Del Norte.
Police Colonel Robert Limbawan, the chief of the RID-PRO7, insisted that the transport of Lumad minors on Sunday evening, February 21, 2021, was legal.
Limbawan said this in response to the Children Legal Bureau’s (CLB) statement that seven out of 13 Lumad minors were “transported without consent from their parents and proper coordination by authorities.”
“Kasinungalingan yan. Anong without parent’s consent eh yung nagtravel ay kasama mga parents and they were supported by the CSWD of Talaingud,” Limbawan said via conference call.
(That is a lie. What do they mean without parent’s consent? These minors went home with their parents and were also supported by the CSWD of Talaingud.)
CLB also stated that they were instructed by the parents of the concerned students to bar the reported transport since there was no coordination made with parents from the police and social workers.
But Limbawan said that during the Lumads arrival at their destination, they were welcomed with banners by their tribal leaders and social workers of Talaingud other than their parents.
Limbawan confirmed that their flight departed from Mactan Cebu International Airport at exactly 6:23 p.m. and arrived around 7:10 p.m. on Sunday.
Pertaining to the CLB’s allegation that there was no coordination between concerned groups, Limbawan said that the transport was a collective effort.
“Hindi pwedeng tayo tayo lang mag decide ‘nyan, especially that these are minors,” he said.
(It’s not proper to decide on our own, especially that these are minors.)
The 13 minors were part of the 19 who were ‘rescued’ from a school campus here last February 15.
The six other minors are from other places and, for now, are under the support of the Department of Social Workers and Development Region 7 while waiting for their parents.
Five of these remaining minors are from Sultan Kudarat and 1 from Zamboanga Del Sur.
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