MANILA - In yet another tirade against Communist rebels, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday accused members of the New People's Army (NPA) of kidnapping children.
In a briefing in storm-hit Surigao del Sur, Duterte accused the rebels of taking children away from their families and bringing them elsewhere.
"Itong mga NPA, kinukuha nila 'yung mga anak, dinadala nila sa ibang lugar. Kunin ninyo 'yung mga anak tapos isauli ninyo sa mga nanay at tatay because a child, a minor, should not be separated from the family home," he said.
(These NPA rebels, they take children away and bring them to other places. You have to take these children and return them to their parents because a child, a minor, should not be separated from the family home.)
Duterte also said there is no need for a search or arrest warrant as long as there are children that need to be rescued.
"Puntahan mo sa loob, kuhanin mo ang mga bata, at isauli mo at the earliest opportunity," he said.
(You go inside, get the children, and return them to their families at the earliest opportunity.)
Duterte, likewise, accused the NPA of collecting taxes from everyone for money to support themselves.
"'Yang mga bu*ng na 'yan, 'yang NPA, they are collecting taxes everywhere. Everywhere and anywhere. Kaya may pera. May pera talaga 'yan," he said.
(Those idiots, the NPA, they are collecting taxes everywhere. Everywhere and anywhere. That's why they have money. They really have money.)
Earlier this month, a group of Lumad students staying in the University of San Carlos were allegedly "rescued" after they were supposedly being indoctrinated with communist teaching.
Police have arrested 7 people, including 2 teachers and 2 village chiefs, for alleged kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
The Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas, however, said the children were neither kidnapped nor being indoctrinated.
The agency has launched an investigation into the supposed rescue operation of the 19 students, who are members of an indigenous people’s group in Davao del Norte.
The indigenous students were accommodated in March last year upon the request of the Archdiocese of Cebu in support of a bakwit school program with Save Our Schools Network.
The students were supposed to complete their modular schooling in April 2020 but the city government imposed quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19.
When quarantine restrictions were relaxed, plans were made for the Lumads' safe return to their homes. Due to logistical requirements such as swab tests, fare and food allowance, travel to be carried out in batches.
Some of the "rescued" children have already returned home to Davao del Norte, according to the police.