March 20, 2023

The Baguio City Police Office is validating the circumstances surrounding three incidents invol-ving persons believed to be missing.

Lt/Col. Pablo Emmanuel Nead, chief of the BCPO City Investigation and Detection Management Unit, clarified last week the police have yet to officially declare any missing person in the city, but confirmed a total of 25 persons have been reported as missing by their relatives from Jan. 1 to June 15.

He said these individuals reported as missing were not actually victims of a crime.

Based on their investigation, almost all of them are young individuals who either left home or those who told their parents they will be with friends but later cannot be contacted.

Nead made the clarification in light of reported missing persons circulating on social media, but which turned out not to be true after the police                                      conducted investigation.

He considered the circulating unverified accounts as alarming.     

“The BCPO is aware of these reports, ‘yung mga kumakalat sa social media, which is alarming, because based on our investigation, wala naman. We tried to contact the owners of the social media accounts (who posted the missing persons), but we could not contact them after the posting. (We are making the clarification) para hindi maalarma ang mga taga-Baguio,” Nead said.

Based on official record, Nead reported that out of the 25 persons reported missing, three are still being followed up.

The first case involves a mother and child from Barangay Bakakeng, who based on latest information, are said to be in La Union while some witnesses said they have returned home.

In the case of a Korean, the police have turned over a gadget believed to be owned by the Korean to the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit to determine recent communications he had made using the gadget.

The third reported missing person is a resident of Taguig, Manila who came to Baguio last June 6. His recent movements have been traced through his ATM transactions, first based on a withdrawn amount from an ATM in a mall and another withdrawal on June 13.

Nead said the Taguig resident is said to be suffering from depression and his family is in the city coordinating with BCPO investigators.

He explained any missing person can be reported to the police anytime but it is standard operating procedure to first conduct validation before such person will be officially declared missing. Once validated, the police usually make a declaration within at least 48 hours.

Nead said concerned parties may report missing persons anytime, and the police will record it then can help relatives trace the person’s movements.

“Give us time to validate, and if we find out after exerting efforts to locate that said person reported is indeed missing, that’s the time we will declare that the person is missing,” he said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana