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Bishop warns against the danger of child abductions

MANILA (UCAN) : Archbishop Socrates Villegas expressed concern over the growing crime rate, after a spate of child abductions in Batangas province over the past two weeks.

“The crime is an offence against human dignity, so we should always be concerned about it,” Archbishop Villegas, the president of the bishops’ conference, said.

On September 4, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, from Batangas, sent a text message to parents and school administrators in his archdiocese warning against the serious danger of child abductions.

“The news of kidnapping of children in the province... is very alarming,” Archbishop Arguelles said in his message. “Please alert everyone, especially parents, elderly people and schools about this serious danger.”

The authorities have already increased police patrols around schools in the province following the reported abductions. 

Philippine media has reported that at least 10 children have been abducted in recent weeks.

A spokesperson for the Batangas police, Hazel Luma-ang, said the patrols would continue until the missing children’s cases are solved.

Archbishop Arguelles called on authorities to immediately act, adding that the children might be victims of sex or organ trade syndicates.

The Catholic Educational Association of The Philippines supported the bishop’s call.

“We implore local governments to ensure the security of our local communities and the safety of our children,” Anthony Coloma, a spokesperson for the association, said.

Archbishop Villegas reminded the public that the fight against crime should be a concern for all and not just the police.

“Fighting crime is not just the duty of one sector of society. Fighting crime is the duty of every human being,” he said, adding that data from the Philippine National Police shows a total of 885,445 crimes were reported between January and June this year.

Some 603,085 incidents were recorded over the same period last year.