Change in Socorro Bayanihan leadership started abuse claims - gov


Posted at Oct 02 2023 03:49 PM | Updated as of Oct 02 2023 09:03 PM

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Allegations of abuse among members of the alleged cult Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc., including child marriage and rape, first started after the group changed leaders in 2019, Surigao del Norte Gov. Lyndon Barbers said Monday. 

Barbers said that as far back as the early 2000s, he had already heard about SBSI and its then leader, Nena Taruc or Mama Nena. Back then, he said SBSI was known to do farming, having been granted a Protected Area Community-Based Resource Management Agreement by the DENR. 

In 2019, SBSI had a change of leadership as Mama Nena handed over the reins to Jey Rence Quilario also known as Senior Agila. 

Barbers said he visited the SBSI enclave in Sitio Kapihan in 2022 to distribute relief goods but did not notice anything different or alarming. "Wala naman kababalaghan na nangyayari," he said. 

That all changed early this year when a female government employee went to his office and revealed alleged abuses inside SBSI including forced marriages. 

He said the employee had gone down from the Sitio Kapihan enclave to look for work. After gaining employment, she then went back to fetch her husband but was told that he had been married off to someone else. 

While investigating the claims, the governor started coming down from the mountain in Sitio Kapihan and revealed more of the abuses. At one point, he said the provincial government was taking care of 8 minors, all ex-SBSI members.