DavNor execs condemn CPP-NPA for taking advantage of IP children

DAVAO DEL NORTE, FEB. 23 (PIA) - Concerned local chief executives of Davao del Norte have denounced allied groups of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New Peoples Army  (CPP-NPA) for taking advantage of indigenous peoples (IP) children taken from their ancestral domains without parental consent.

In a press conference, Talaingod Municipal Mayor Jonnie Libayao said a group of parents came to him seeking his assistance and that of the Tribal Council to look for their children who had not been home for so long a time.

Libayao then consequently approached Provincial Governor Edwin I. Jubahib asking him help to locate the lost  children. They went to an IP facility called “Haran” located at a compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City.

Others were found there, so the Governor went on looking for  the  lost  children  of Talaingod and ended up knowing that they were taken to a facility  in Cebu.

Governor Jubahib corroborated the statements of Mayor Libayao, revealing that he was informed that the Talaingod children were taken to Cebu.

Other than deploying his organized team to locate the children and tapping his network of national line agencies, the Governor shelled out assistance for parents to personally journey to Cebu to fetch their children, and the others who were their relatives too.

A total of 13 Talaingod IP children were rescued from a facility of the University of San Carlos (USC) in February 15.  Leading the rescue operation was the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) bearing the mandate to protect children from exploitation.

Giving a hand to locate and final rescue the IP children were the  National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), among other agencies of the national and local governments.

Reacting to alleged exploitation of these children to join activities found related to communist insurgency movement, Governor Jubahib appealed to stop using the “vulnerable” children.

“Ang panawagan ko sa inyo, hwag ninyong gamitin ang kahinaan  ng ating mga kabataang IPs, ng  ating mga kapaatid na mga IPs; dahil nga sa hirap ng kanilang buhay ay ina-abuso ninyo na  turuan sila na labanan ang gobyerno; instead na kayo pakipag laban ay tulungan natin sila na makakahaon sa kahirapan.  (I am calling you not to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of our IP children, of our IP brethren.  Having less in life, you have abused them by teaching them to go against the government. Instead of waging rebellion, let us help them rise from poverty.),” he said during the press conference.

Jubahib condemned the continued struggle of the CPP-NPA  to overthrow the government, citing it as “useless” and senseless as this has failed to result in concrete improvement in the lives of  the lowly IPs.

“Yong pinaglaban nyo kung sa Bisaya pa ‘wala jud na’y pulos," (it is useless)  he said addressing the CPP-NPA and its legal fronts.

“Wala mo’y nahatag nga concretong tabang  sa atong mga kaigsoonan nga inyong gipang-recruit nga mouban diha sa inyong kawsa.  Sa kadugay na sa  atong problema hindi pa ba kayo nagsawa?   (You have not given concrete assistance to our brethren whom you have recruited to join your cause. For so long a time, are you not  fed up?),” Jubahib said.

Jubahib invited leaders of  the insurgency movement in the Philippines to  join government efforts to spur development especially in far-flung areas where services are most needed by the poor  IPs.

“Dapat this time, magkaisa na po tayo at sumuko na kayo at bumalik na kayo sa ating gobyerno. (This time, we have to unite; you surrender and go back to folds of our government.),” he said.

The press conference on the rescue and return of Talaingod IP children, was also paneled by Police Brig. General Filmore Escobal of  Police Regional Office XI, Asst. Secretary Jade Jamolod of DSWD, and Brig General Nolasco Mempin, commander of 1003rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.

It drew the virtual participation of Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, spokesperson of  the National Task Force Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC),  and the presence  of regional director Evarly Tahanlangit of  NICA XI and Frances Mae Macapagat of the Philippine Information Agency XI.

It also generated the presence of officials of the office of G-7 of the  10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, the 5th Civil Relations Group (CRG) among other provincial and regional support groups.

The press conference was streamed “live” through PTV DavNor 48 and dispatched thru various links of the Philippine Information Agency XI, among other media outlets of the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO). (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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