By Aaron Recuenco
Social media posts about a white van roaming around Metro Manila to abduct children are all fake news, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said that rumors about kidnappers of children on board a white van have been repeatedly debunked before after the police investigations in the past disclosed that all the reported missing minors were all found.
“We would like to belie the fake news spreading in the social media about the abduction of minors. This has no basis and this is not validated,” said Banac in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
Banac statement came amid new social media posts regarding a white van that was allegedly seen again roaming around Metro Manila. The rumors were reinforced by the reports about nine missing children in Pasay City.
Recently, a video clip from a Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) was also uploaded on Facebook showing how a minor was allegedly taken by men on board a white van in southern part of Metro Manila.
“These are now being subjected to validation by the National Capital Region Police Office, including the rumors that there are nine children missing in Pasay City,” said Banac.
The social media posts about the white van and missing children in Metro Manila had become viral for several times in the past.
Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the PNP Chief Directorial Staff, had launched an investigation when he was still the director of the National Capital Region Police Office when the same story went viral last year.
Eleazar said that they immediately conducted verification of the alleged missing children in Metro Manila and verified the information they gathered at the police stations and the relatives of the alleged missing children.
“All of the missing children who were reported to have been taken by a white van were all found. Some of them just ran away over misunderstanding with their parents,” said Eleazar.
There was even a case of a teenage girl that was reportedly taken by men in a white van but turned out to have eloped with her boyfriend.
“We conducted investigation before because it is already creating fear and panic in Metro Manila and even in nearby provinces. Our investigation had revealed that those rumors spreading in social media are not true,” said Eleazar.
The problem before, according to Eleazar, was that those parents who reported that their children missing did not return to the police to report that their children had been found.