PH independence not genuine, child rights groups say

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2018 11:52 PM | Updated as of Jun 13 2018 12:19 AM

MANILA - The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) and Unity of Child Rights Advocates Against Inhumane Treatment and Neglect of Children (UNCHAIN Children) held a “unity gathering” as the nation celebrates its 120th Independence Day.

Both organizations, however, said the country's independence is not genuine amid continuing rights abuses.

"Alam naman natin 'yung nangyayari sa ating lipunan. Ito 'yung sunod-sunod at mas tumitindi at tumataas na paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa mamamayan at lalong lalo na sa bata," said Jasmine Mae Berioga, CRC's treatment and rehabilitation program coordinator.

"Hindi ligtas 'yung mga bata natin sa paglabag sa karapatang pantao ng mamamayan…sila rin mismo ay target ng administrasyong ito."

Some 44 minors, Berioga said, were killed in the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

The Children's Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC) has recorded 74 killings of minors in police anti-drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took office up to December 2017.

During the gathering, blown up photographs of children allegedly killed in the drug war were shown. 

Among them was Kian delos Santos who died at the hands of the Caloocan City police during a supposed anti-drug operation.

Also included are children labeled by government forces as child soldiers.

Meanwhile, Salinlahi secretary general Eule Rico Bonganay said that some Lumad in Mindanao have relocated to Metro Manila to escape the alleged harassment committed by state forces.

Bonganay, also lead convenor of Save Our Schools Network, said Obello Bay-ao and Jhun Mark Acto were among the Lumad who allegedly died in the hands of government forces.

He also alleged the attacks took place a month after Duterte threatened to bomb Lumad schools.

“Inaatake ang kanilang paaralan. May pagkakampo sa kanilang paaralan, pangha-harass ng mga guro at magulang at pagbansag na fronts sila ng NPA (New People’s Army,” Bonganay said. 

Other forms of alleged attacks, he added, include the Department of Education’s refusal to grant 14 Lumad schools permits to operate.