OFFICIALS of the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB) in Cebu City denied reports that the 13 Lumad kids who were flown home to Mindanao were greeted by their parents upon their arrival.
This, despite local police and even the municipal social worker of Talaingod, Davao del Norte were quoted by SunStar Cebu and Superbalita Cebu saying they personally witnessed the parents of the kids greet them upon their arrival in Davao City.
King Anthony Perez, CLB’s communication and advocacy officer, said he spoke to one of the parents of the children who told him that they didn’t go to the airport to pick up their child.
Through a letter, CLB attempted to prevent officers of the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) Visayas Field Unit from allowing Lumad kids from leaving Cebu but the latter didn’t accede to the request.
In its letter, CLB told WCPC that the parents of the kids were set to arrive in Cebu on Feb. 23, 2021. They were preparing the documentary requirements for them to travel to Cebu.
“Since they learned that their children are among those scheduled to travel to Davao City today, the parents are concerned because nobody has coordinated with them regarding the matter. According to them, they never authorized the social worker Lorena Bangoy or any other person from the LGU of Talaingod to get custody over their children,” the CLB said, in its letter to WCPC.
Col. Robert Limbawan, head of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO 7)’s Intelligence Division, said seven of the 13 children who were members of the Ata Manobo tribe were greeted by their parents upon their arrival in Davao City.
Limbawan said the parents of the children along with their tribal leader welcomed the children.
But Limbawan said there are still six minors under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas as they have not secured permission from their parents for them to go home.
Of the six minors still in DSWD 7’s custody, five are from Sultan Kudarat while one is from Zamboanga del Sur.
Limbawan said contrary to CLB’s claims, the kids were allowed to travel even without a court order.
“No need. I don’t know why these CLB lawyers do not know this law. Why do we need a court order? These are rescued minors and they are with their parents with the tribal leaders with DSWD so we don’t need a court order for that,” Limbawan said.
Limbawan said their investigation is now focused on those behind the abduction of the Lumad minors and securing evidence for a strong case against them. (AYB / JKV)