DAVAO CITY, Dec. 7 (PIA)- The Regional Trial Court Branch 8 here in Davao City on Wednesday, Dec. 5 has ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to return the 12 female minors from Talaingod back to their parents.
They were part of the 15 minors who were supposedly "rescued" by Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and Alliance of Concerned Teachers Party-list Representative France Castro in Talaingod. They were intercepted at a police checkpoint in the Davao del Norte town on the evening of Nov. 28.
The RTC Branch 8 under Presiding Judge Glenn DC. Aquino cited that the DSWD "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."
The parents and guardians of the lumad children filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus to compel the DWSD-XI to produce the bodies of the kids who were turned over by the Talaingod Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office to the DSWD after the group were stopped at the Talaingod checkpoint and their adult companions led by Ocampo and Castro arrested by the police.
The 12 children were in DSWD custody at the Home for Girls and Women in Davao City while the 2 boys who are both minors were sheltered at a DSWD facility in Tagum City. A habeas corpus petition for the two boys is expected to be filed in Tagum. The other kid returned to his hometown along with his father on Nov. 29.
During their stay at the DSWD facility the children have already been provided with psychosocial interventions such as counseling, art therapy and journal writing. They were also integrated with other children in the centers to keep them engaged. (PIA/RG Alama)