Tell it to SunStar: No to Martial Law extension

THE Children’s Rehabilitation Center strongly condemns the Duterte regime not only for the rampant human rights violations on children under the Duterte administration but also for insisting on extending Martial Law. Martial Law has been proven to enable the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National police, and other human rights violators to use and abuse children for their counter-insurgency program.

“The Duterte administration does not discriminate in its human rights violations against the Filipino people. In fact, he has been targeting the most vulnerable sectors, especially the children. Under the Duterte administration, there has been a total of 32 children victims of frustrated killings, nine children killed, 1,604 children have been illegally arrested and detained, 20,804 children have forcibly been evacuated along with their displaced communities.” Frances Bondoc, Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC)executive director, said.

The CRC expresses its fear on the recent cases of human rights violations and calls for justice from the government. The group lamented that Duterte is not showing any remorse in the government’s killings and harassments towards children and child rights advocates.

“We fear that with the current political situation of the country, more children will be experiencing human rights violations. Data shows that at least 50% of children victims of human rights violations are from Mindanao and happened under the Martial Law of Duterte (five out of nine cases of extrajudicial killings, 18 out of 32 cases of frustrated killings)” Bondoc added.

Bondoc cited the recent happenings in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, where 14 children were detained by the police after being rescued by the National Solidarity Mission led by former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo and ACT Partylist Rep. France Castro. The 18 delegates of NSM were also arrested and filed with trumped up charges. The incident also showed how DSWD’s protective unit particularly served the interest of the military instead of the security and welfare of the 14 children.

“Under the Martial Law in Mindanao, the children are being killed, threatened, harassed, and tortured. That is why we are opposing the impending extension of Martial Law. It is not true that there are no cases of human rights violations filed under the Martial Law,” Bondoc lamented.

CRC and other child rights advocates call for justice for all children victims of human rights violations. The group also calls for the end of Martial Law in Mindanao and strongly opposes its extension. “We call on all Filipino to protest the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao as it will only worsen the current condition of Filipino children. This will also pave way in the intensification of children human rights violations not just in Mindanao but in the country. We should all voice out our condemnation towards all forms of human rights violations. We should seek justice for children victims and all victims of human rights violations under the Duterte administration.” --Frances Bondoc, Children’S Regabilitation Center


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