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Vanishing girls

Nora Soriño .

ILIGAN City — Thursday last week, two distraught mothers went to the Digkilaan Public High School to report that their girls were not able to go home the previous night. What happened?

Delia Layno, the head teacher summoned the school guard. It was then learned that the two girls had asked permission around 10 am Wednesday to buy some school supplies like ballpens and paper. Mystified, the school head asked why the two opted to go out for such supplies when these were all sold at the school canteen.

How could the guard know things like these? But on second thought, how can he not know? And maybe, there might be some instances when students come out of the school grounds on some pretext with no untoward things happening. Until this one…

And, Layno said, in matters like these, students were required to present some written notes from the class advisers.

A review of the CCTV footage revealed that they were seen near the vicinity of the Mandulog River. They could have crossed the river, and went somewhere to meet someone across.  Who really knows?

The incident differs from another case — that of a five-year-old kid about to be snatched by some woman. Good that the mother got hold of her kid in the nick of time. The latter happened in a coastal barangay of Tambo near an integrated terminal here.

Earlier, there was a report of a  snatching of an elementary grader at a school in Tipanoy. The kid snatcher though, realizing that authorities were closing in on him, opted to focus on his escape. The child then was left near a river in the area.

Going back, the two girls (actually, teenagers) were most probably persuaded by outside forces. So, they were not forced. They were of the idea that maybe, outside their own world, there was a “good life.” As the lyrics of some song put it: “Oh, the good life full of fun/ full of joy…”

In this present world of the internet, it’s not difficult to do some convincing. Harold Clavite of the Philippine Information Agency once told an audience that the Isis people do some convincing of vulnerable people in some posh room in some hotel in coats and ties like they’re some corporate executives doing their business in a corporate  world.

Of course, there are other parties, too. Like some human trafficker doing their convincing in some location in the country. Or some other ideology apart from the Isis. Like that report on some college kids in some university in Manila who decided to leave home to help “change the world”’ and help in making it a better place to live in.

Relative to that, I remember a man’s joke: “When I was young, I wanted to change the world. Now I just want to change my vacation schedule.”

For the younger kids, like those in the K-1 and 2 or in the elementary grades, close guarding on the part of the adults, especially the parents, helps very much. And quick action on the part of the authorities in case something really happens.

But for some older kids, situations like these are really difficult to counter especially on the part of the immediate family. The parents or guardians cannot monitor all the time the activities of their teenagers. They are busy fighting tooth and nail in this daily business called “living,” which includes provisions for the schooling of all their kids.

So, there. These are some things to ponder on these days. In this connection, I remember Pope Francis when he came over in 2015. He said, “Now, we have plenty of information and we don’t know what to do with them.”

With that, I rest my case, your honors.

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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