Groups accuse DSWD-7 of ‘double standards’ in handling case of ‘rescued’ Lumad children
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Groups here are asking officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas (DSWD-7) to exercise their independence in the handling of the custodial case of Lumad children who were earlier “rescued’ by the police.
This after they accused agency officials of “double standards” as a result of police “intervention.”
Megara Lim, Save Our Schools Network spokesperson, mentioned as an example the agency’s alleged refusal to immediately release one of the minors who is under their custody despite appeals made by its father.
“Hindi nila pinayagan na sumama agad ang bata sa kanyang tatay kahit na yung bata ay willing na sumama sa kanyang tatay…in fact it contrasts the past events that transpired here in Cebu” Lim said.
“Dahil ba, police processes it. Okay lang ba na mabilisan in fact na mayroong questionable things about the legality ng kanilang pagprocess?” she added.
Lim and Rius Valle, another SOS spokesperson, and Kim Vinzar Samiana, Children’s Rehabilitation Center deputy director, spoke in an online press conference on Saturday afternoon, February 27, to raise concerns on DSWD-7’s handling of the case of the Lumad children.
DSWD-7 is yet to issue an official statement on the matter.
Lim said they accompanied a Lumad child’s father to DSWD-7 on Friday, February 26, for a dialogue with Regional Director Rebecca Geamala and a social worker.
She said that the father already wanted to take custody of his child who has been under DSWD-7 care for almost two weeks now.
To their frustration, Valle said that the father was told to go home to Mindanao and produce a parental capacity assessment report before he can take back custody of the child.
“Yung tatay kailangan pa na umuwi doon sa Mindanao at doon siya magpainterview sa social worker doon sa kanyang region para makuhaan lang ng parental capacity assessment report… very insensitive para sa public officials na magsabi ng ganon,” he said.
Samiana said they were also caught by surprise when policemen suddenly arrived and stayed to listen to their discussions with Geamala.
“Ang nangyari kahapon ano, parang walang independence yung DSWD region 7 dahil sunod lang sila nang sunod. Makikita natin yung glaring intervention mula sa PRO-7.”
“While we are in dialogue sa Regional Director with Ma’am Rebecca, mayroong biglang sumulpot na mga police primary talagang objective nila ay i-intimidate talaga yung team na nandito sa Cebu.” / dcb
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