Five vehicles loaded with 122 individuals were sent back to General Santos City due to multiple violations of RA 4316 better known as Land Transportation and Traffic Code, including the transport of minors without pertinent documents.
The facilitators failed to present parental consents for their minor passengers.
“We are always alert on this kind of similar propaganda of some left-leaning groups who introduced themselves as church members and tagging along minors, and then, dragging these minors to rallies and pickets and inculcating to the minds of the children with false idealism,” said Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, director of Police Regional Office 11.
Morales said Saturday that “we are just after the welfare of our children since they are ‘vulnerable to exploitation, potential accidents, neglect and abuse”.
The group was intercepted at Kilometer 80 checkpoint conducted by Sulop Municipal Police Station personnel led by Sr. Insp. Flor Daisy Angga.
In the checkpoint, the group of people composed of 53 minors, 55 youth/adults and 14 church leaders told police officers that they were to attend as delegates of the National Youth Convention for the Church of Christ in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. This was later confirmed as a legitimate convention by Davao del Sur Provincial Director, Sr. Supt. Alan Manibog.
During the profiling of the minor passengers, the police authorities found that some of young travelers did not even know the purpose of their trip and that those on board the wing van type have limited ventilation which was deemed unsafe for the passengers and a violation of the Land Transportation Law.
The local government of Sulop, Davao del Sur later provided additional three vans for the convenience of the delegates as they headed home, escorted by a municipal social worker, two women police investigators and one male police escort
Morales urged the parents to constantly talk with their children and promote politics as a serious democratic activity and to recognize that children have a right to be safe in all social contexts and that rallies are not safe for them.
“We further advise the parents to exercise discretion about what is age appropriate, healthy and safe for their children at all times when joining outside activities,” he ended.
Meanwhile, the police authorities were able to negotiate with the organizers of the convention in New Bataan that the group can no longer attend the said gathering.