Rescued Davao IP minors rediscover family ties

FAMILY REINTEGRATION. The 13 Indigenous Peoples minors from Davao del Norte, after their rescue in Cebu City in February from an alleged New People’s Army training, join their families in a reintegration program in Mabini, Davao de Oro on March 19. They will undergo skills training before they return to their communities. (Photo courtesy of PRO-11)

DAVAO CITY: The 13 of the 19 indigenous peoples (IP) minors rescued in Cebu City will receive livelihood and educational assistance after finishing a family reintegration program in Mabini, Davao de Oro, a police official said Sunday.

The IP children from Sitio Kamingawan, Talaingod, Davao del Norte were rescued on Feb. 15 at the University of San Carlos Retreat House Talamban Campus while allegedly undergoing revolutionary training as future New People’s Army combatants.

Staff Sgt. Norkaya Dica of the Police Regional Office-Region 11, an investigator under Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, told the Philippine News Agency that the March 19 activity at 4 Sisters Beach Resort in Barangay Tagnanan, Mampising also strengthened the children’s ties with their families.

“The minors had videoke and parlor games with their parents. They also enjoyed the beach as most of them said it was their first time to go swimming,” she said.

At first, Dica said, the children were hesitant to join their parents. After undergoing psychosocial interventions, they became more open.

“Now, they are already interacting. We allowed them to go home to their families for two days last week and we have not seen any problems so far,” she said.

The minors are currently housed at the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office in Talaingod town.

Dica said they cannot immerse yet with their communities as they will still have to join trainings to be conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Next week, Department of Education personnel will also meet with the children to talk about their studies.

Prior to the family event, the participants had to quarantine after one minor tested positive for Covid-19.

“They are all safe now, showing cooperation and trusting their Philippine National Police handlers who have been with them all along the process of their quarantine and isolation,” Dica said. 

(Che Palicte/PNA/SRNY/RSP)

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