Four Lumad parents of rescued children taken by suspected communist militants

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021   •   293

MANILA, Philippines — Four parents of the rescued Lumad children were taken by suspected communist militants, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas cited reports that the parents were supposed to meet with the police in Davao del Norte on Monday (February 22) for their trip to Cebu City However, only two parents showed up.

Reports also stated that the four Lumad parents were taken on Sunday (February 21) by suspected organizers of communist front groups who posed as police officers.

“Obviously, these four parents were lured into believing they would be meeting with their children in Cebu when they were taken by persons who disguised themselves as police officers,” Sinas said.

The PNP chief added that the said stunt was a desperate move of communist front organizations to get away from criminal liability of serious illegal detention and child exploitation.

Sinas also assured that police authorities are already exerting efforts to locate the parents.

The Ata Manobo children were among the 19 Lumad minors who were brought to Cebu City by communist front.

Reports indicate that the children were undergoing radicalization and revolutionary warfare indoctrination.

Vera Cruz named new JTF COVID-19 shield chief

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

Police Lieutenant General Joselito Vera Cruz

MANILA, Philippines — Police Lieutenant General Joselito Vera Cruz has been designated as the new commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced Wednesday.

“Effective on Tuesday, April 20, Vera Cruz was designated as the Deputy Chief for Operations and Task Force Commander of the enforcement arm of the national government in the implementation of quarantine rules and health protocols,” PNP chief General Debold Sinas said in a statement.

Vera Cruz replaced Police Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag, who will retire on April 24 and whose designation has been terminated effective April 20, 2021.

“As the new commander of this task force, I expect PLtGen Vera Cruz will continue the plans and programs of the previous commander and enforce strict quarantine rules in the country to mitigate the spread of the virus while waiting for the available vaccines,” Sinas said.

The JTF Covid-19 Shield is composed of members of the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Sinas: No profiling, red tagging of community pantry organizers

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday denied claims that it is profiling the organizers of community pantries that have popped up in various areas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is no order from the National Headquarters to conduct any form of profiling of organizers of community pantries,” PNP chief Debold Sinas said in a statement.

“It is beyond the interest of the PNP to delve into purely voluntary personal activities of private citizens” he added.

Sinas issued the statement following reports that some of the organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.

Anna Patricia Non, the person behind the Maginhawa community pantry, earlier announced they would temporarily suspend their operation due to alleged red-tagging.

“We are aware of the activities of these community pantries as an expression of Bayanihan spirit, but we have no intention to interfere but to serve the best interest of law and order and public safety in such public activities,” Sinas said.

“Of particular consideration is the observance of public health standards when there is gathering of ten or more persons that builds-up a crowd,” he added.

The PNP chief noted that this is not the first time that similar activities were initiated amid the pandemic, saying that some farmers’ organizations and local government units have also hauled their produce of fruits and vegetables to help depressed communities in Metro Manila last year.

“Similarly, police did not interfere with these activities rather extended utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the needy,” Sinas said.

PNP chief Sinas orders probe on Kalinga road crash

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Debold Sinas on Monday ordered an investigation into a road accident that killed 13 people, including children, in Kalinga on Sunday.

Sinas directed the Cordillera Police to look into the incident as he reminded motorists to strictly observe load limits and maximum passenger capacity in private and public vehicles.

He also ordered the PNP Highway Patrol Group to strictly enforce regulations against overloading and other transportation policies.

Sinas’ directive comes after 13 individuals died when their vehicle fell into an irrigation canal in Tabuk City, Kalinga.

The vehicle was driven by Soy Lope Agtula who was identified as a personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Bontoc, Mountain Province.

Initial investigation showed that Agtula and his passengers were heading to Bulo Lake from Tadian Mt. Province.

The vehicle was carrying 15 people.

Twelve of the victims were rushed to Mija Kim Medical Center but were declared dead on arrival, while three others were brought to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital (KPH) where one of them died.

Two passengers survived the incident, authorities said.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of these victims. May their souls be at peace and I hope that our Creator brings you the much-needed peace during these trying times,” Sinas said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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