DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The 12 out of 14 lumad children from Talaingod, Davao del Norte are now under the custody and care of their parents after a local court issued the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 11 (DSWD-11) to release them.
“They were under the custody of DSWD after arrest of Talaingod 18 last week,” Sophia Perez, school administrator of Community Technical College of Southern Mindanao(CTCSM) said.
The 14 lumad children was rescued by the group of former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo last week of November from the hinterlands of Talaingod in Davao del Norte after the military and Alamara forcibly padlocked a Salugpongan community school.
The two children have yet to be released from the custody of DSWD pending the filing of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Tagum City, according to Perez.
Perez, DSWD Regional Director Merceditas Jabagat gave an instruction to her staff not to release the children despite the appeal of both parents and legal counsel.
“She even imposed unscrupulous requirements on the parents prior to their release of their children,” she said.
On Wednesday, Presiding Judge Glenn DC. Aquino of the Davao Regional Trial Court Branch 8 ordered the DSWED “to release from their custody the children and return them to the custody and care of their respective parents and lawful guardians.”
“The Court finds that respondents has no authority or lawful basis to retain the children in its custody, let alone, to deprive the petitioners, who are the parents or lawful guardians of such children, of their custody and care,” a dispositive portion of the court order reads.
Perez viewed the court’s ruling as a victory for the Talaingod 18. “We are happy with court’s decision and this is just the beginning of the legal battles that we will face.” (davaotoday.com)