Eastern Mindanao military denies kidnapping student

THE Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) denied the accusation that it had a hand in the disappearance of a student last May 27.

Major Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of Eastmincom, belied the allegation that the government troops are behind the kidnapping.

He also said that they do not have direct knowledge on the incident and that there is no kidnapped person under their custody.

Balagtey’s statement came after Rius Valle of the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network told reporters during the Kapehan sa Dabaw at The Annex of SM City Davao on Monday, June 26, that they received information that a 17-year-old former student of Salugpongan Ta' Tanu Ig kanogon Community Learning Center, Inc., who was allegedly abducted in Poblacion, Bagangga, Davao Oriental, is at the Eastmincom. Valle refused to name the informant.

According to Valle, they are making a move for the immediate release of the student, adding that they could not file a Writ of Habeas Corpus because it is currently suspended in the course of the implementation of Martial Law.

Earlier, they went to Camp Panacan along with Karapatan, a human rights advocate, but they were not permitted to enter.

“Kadtong niaging adlaw, nag conduct ug Quick Reaction Response ang SOS ug Karapatan. Niadto gyud sa Eastern Mindanao Command pero wala gyud nila gipasulod didto ug gina-claim nila nga wala didto ang bata nga ginapangita namo (The other day, we went to EMC with Karapatan but we were not able to enter. They claim that the child is not inside),” he said.

Valle said they are afraid of the possibility that the soldiers will present the minor to the media and tag him as a child soldier of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Valle called on President Rodrigo Duterte to lift his declaration of Martial Law because of the alleged human rights violations that are being perpetrated by military officials especially in the upland.

He claimed that there have been complaints of harassments and abuses in Lumad communities in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and they are eyeing to raise the issue to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
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