MANILA, Philippines—Most of the 40 children who were reported missing in Metro Manila since last year ran away from their homes because of marital problems of their parents, a police spokesperson disclosed Wednesday.
Chief Inspector Kimberly Molitas, National Capital Region Police Office spokesperson, also said most of the minors who were reported missing by their relatives were aged 13 to 17.
She quickly added that 36 of these cases had since been considered “solved” by the police as the children were eventually reunited with their parents.
“Most of the missing persons in Metro Manila were children of parents who were having marital conflicts,” Molitas said in a news briefing at Camp Crame.
The Philippine National Police also announced the activation of a special task force to look into the cases of missing children in the metropolis and nearby provinces.
Task Group “Sagip Anghel” will be composed of investigators from the NCRPO and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), according to PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr.
Cerbo said PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima designated Chief Supt. Christopher Laxa, NCRPO operations chief, and Supt. Emma Libunao, chief of CIDG Women and Children’s Protection Division, to lead the investigating team.
“The PNP chief wants positive actions on these cases. He also ordered the special task group to lead the efforts in locating the missing children,” Cerbo said.
Molitas said the task force would initially focus its investigation on the cases of four children who disappeared in the metropolis recently.
She said Dayne Buenaflor and James Narag went missing in Taguig City while Jose Jael Flores disappeared in Parañaque City several days ago. On Sunday, a three-year-old boy was also reported missing in Quezon City.
Cerbo maintained there was no evidence showing that a syndicated was behind the disappearance of the four children.
“In fact, one of the victims went missing due to neglect. It’s not the handiwork of an organized group. They circumstances of their disappearance were not the same,” he said.
Molitas sought the assistance of the public and the village councils in locating the missing children.
“We will print pictures of these missing children and distribute them to all the district units and police stations in Metro Manila. We will also provide pictures to barangay (village) halls,” she said.