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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
CAGAYAN DE ORO

NGO calls on DSWD to release children of detained farmers

A NON-GOVERNMENT institution serving children has called for the immediate release of the two children who were taken away from their detained mother and guardian who were tagged as New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) said the 1 year-old and 2 year-old babies were forcibly taken away from their mother and guardian last January 30, 2019 at 6:30pm during the raid of the Misamis Oriental Farmers Association (MOFA) office by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The babies were transferred and taken into custody by the Department of Social Welfare and Development office (DSWD).

Frances Bondoc of the CRC said the "brute force used against the staff of the peasant organization is a downright violation of human rights and disrespect of child protection protocols".

"Imagine, they aimed a gun against defenseless and clueless babies while their mother and caregiver are being forcefully separated from them for malicious accusations and based on planted evidences,” Bondoc said.

The group said that the PNP and AFP should be informed that Martial Law is not a license to use their authority to intimidate members, and especially threatening babies with their guns.

“These are breastfeeding babies, who need motherly care. Instead of releasing the babies and their caregivers, the AFP and PNP went ahead and arrested Mylene and Marivic Colita (mother of the 1 year-old child). The Region 10 SWDO even refused to acknowledge the assertion of relatives to take their custody should Marivic and Mylene continue to be detained,” Bondoc further stated.

Lawyer Czarina Musni, of the Union of People's Laywers in Mindanao (UPLM) also called the DSWD unfair for quickly calling the mother an NPA and immediately took away the infants without due process of law.

Musni said the DSWD should be careful in issuing statements.

As of this writing, the children are still under the custody of the DSWD.


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