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A lumad leader joins the call for the release of his compatriots. Photo courtesy of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao

Group claims AFP holding four missing teachers

DAVAO City — Four volunteer teachers of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region who went missing recently were found to be under the custody of a military unit in Iligan City.

Melissa Comiso, literacy and numeracy program coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region, said they discovered the four volunteer teachers were being held in a military camp since they went missing this Nov. 12.

A soldier named Cpl Rico Ordaneza of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Battalion confirmed to Comiso on Nov. 27, that they took custody of the volunteer teachers and they are being investigated.

On Nov, 12, Tema Namatidong, 28; Julius Torregosa,30; Ariel Barluado, 22; and Giovanni Solomon, 30—all literacy-numeracy volunteer teachers, were forcibly taken by a composite team of soldiers belonging to the Army’s 51st and 81st Infantry Battalion.

“We received a text from one of the teachers, alerting us of the soldiers’ presence in the school premises,” Comiso said, adding that the teachers were conducting classes on agriculture and community beautification when the soldiers arrived at the school’s vicinity.

Comiso said the soldiers, onboard four 6X6 vehicles conducted a roving patrol last Nov. 12 in Sitios Babalayan, Durongan village, Tagoloan 2 in Lanao del Sur. “They are looking for Sultan Jamla and Datu Langi as both persons are known community leaders,” she said.

The location of the missing volunteer teachers were found after 15 days when Comiso sought the help of the Iligan City’s Social Action Center to locate them along with another volunteer teacher and a family member of the missing teachers. (davaotoday.com)

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