Satur Ocampo, et. al, to face abduction, child abuse, human trafficking — PNP
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, and 16 others will face charges on abduction, child abuse, and trafficking in persons for allegedly taking Lumad students of a learning center to teach rebellious ideas against the government.
Ocampo’s convoy was blocked in a checkpoint in Talaingod town in Davao del Norte Wednesday night. They allegedly abducted 14 minors, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) told reporters Thursday.
Members of the local police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines were in the checkpoint, Durana said.
According to Durana, Ocampo and his companions use the Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center in Sitio Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod as a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to recruit Lumads to the rebel movement.
Durana said 11 teachers, four pastors of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and an administrator of the learning center, are among those who will face charges aside from Ocampo and Castro.
They are now detained at the Talaingod Municipal Police Station.
He said the local Department of Education (DepEd) has ordered the closure of the learning center this year. It is also not accredited by the DepEd.
“There is a complaint filed by the tribal leaders and the parents of these minors, 14 minors were taken from their parents,” he said.
Durana said this complaint led to the arrest of Ocampo and his companions – who were onboard five vans – at the checkpoint. Durana said the minors were taken by Ocampo and his companions without consent from the parents.
He said local authorities have alleged that the learning center “serves as a recruitment center of the CPP-NPA, and at the same time agitating and teaching the students to hate the government [and] to rebel against the government.”
“In fact just recently, nakita natin may mga IPs (Indigenous Peoples) dito (in Camp Crame), pumunta sila, dahil ang mga tinuturo sa mga learning centers ay hindi Lupang Hinirang. Ang tinuturo ‘yung national anthem na calling for the overthrow and to rebel against the government,” Durana said.
According to Durana, front organizations of the CPP-NPA tell local residents that they are conducting “rescue” operations as there is supposed militarization of the area.
“Sabi may militization because they want the military forces there to leave the area. It’s not the Lumads who want the Armed Forces of the Philippines to leave the area. It’s actually the CPP-NPA and their front organization are actually [those that] would want these AFP units to vacate the area,” Durana said. /muf