The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Central Visayas reported Thursday that the children who were “rescued” by authorities from a university in Cebu City were not indoctrinated with communist teaching or kidnapped.
“If based on what we have gathered from the interviews with the students, there was no force or intimidation they were taken against their will, an element in kidnapping,” CHR 7 chief investigator Leo Villarino told ANC.
The agency also found that the Lumad students, who stayed at the University of San Carlos were not indoctrinated to be a communist.
“Well, if I have to base my statement now on the pronouncement of the social worker who is in charge with these lumad children, the social worker says there was none. There was no indoctrination,” Villarino said.
CHR is currently investigating the supposed rescue of 19 students who were members of the indigenous people’s group Lumad in Davao del Norte.
Police also arrested 7 people, including 2 teachers and 2 village chiefs, for alleged kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
CHR initial probe shows Lumad kids not kidnapped, trained for combat
“We are not looking into the political ideology or beliefs of these children and of those arrested. It is personal to them,” Villarino said.
He added, “What the CHR is actually investigating is whether or not during this alleged rescue or the arrested or their stay in this retreat house, violations of human rights were committed against the children and also those who are arrested during this raid.”
Videos of the said rescue operation showed the students screaming while they were being taken away by authorities.
“There was a chaotic environment that took place during that so-called rescue, which should not have happened if it was carefully [done] and well-planned,” he said.
Police insisted there was no irregularity in the operation as 6 parents asked the police’s help after their children were not able to go home for two years.
The University of San Carlos on Tuesday denied that the Archdiocese of Cebu-Commission on Social Advocacies (COSA) denied that they were training indigenous children for combat.