Valle: Beleaguered mothers

THEY are the pictures of the everyday mothers all over the country, nay, all over the world, who would give everything for their children.

Neneng Cortes, who came all the way from Mabini, is the young mother of eight-year-old Roque Antivo, a minor who was shot at and killed by soldiers belonging to the 71st IB on April 3, 2013, when he and his two other brothers were who purportedly "mistaken" for rebels even when the children identified themselves.

Inocencia Tolentino is mother of 16-year-old Arnel Tolentino who was illegally arrested, detained and tortured by elements of the 26th IB on July 22-23, 2013, after having been suspected to be rebels in Loreto, Agusan del Sur.

Estella Basilisco, another mother whose child, Jay-ar Basilisco, 17, was also arrested and detained by the 26thy IB. She is making an appeal to authorities to let her child out from detention as he is not involved in any way with the charges against him.

Their faces all showing so much distress and fear for the safety of their children, all of these mothers came a long way to air their grievances, and are seeking help and assistance as they felt that the local authorities in their communities could no longer help them in their predicament.

The children's cases brought out to the attention of the mass media in Davao City are but specks of a number of children’s rights violations obtaining in the countryside, because, if authorities would just take time to go and assess the situations after super storm Pablo struck these areas, a lot of undesirable things have been happening there.

Genuine non-government organizations that have been consistently assisting these impoverished communities are now being the target of government suspicion, and sad to say, even these organizations' interventions have become subject of attacks by soldiers from different commands.

Have soldiers run out of easy targets, and thus are training the nozzles of their guns on defenseless children and schools put up by non-government institutions to answer the lack of government support in these areas? Are government troops that ‘unintelligent’ to fail to distinguish who are combatants and who are not? Or are they just following orders and blindly complying, no matter if this cost them a lot?

Because by making innocent civilians and humanitarian groups targets of their ire for failing to get the real rebels, they are committing a blunder that can boomerang on them, sooner or later...

Because no matter how they rationalize it, targeting civilians will only bring bad image to the supposedly "protector" facade that the soldiers are putting up as a front.

Child abuse is a serious offense, and no one can get away from culpability, even if it’s done in the name of "national security."


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