MANILA, Philippines –The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) appealed for greater protection of the children in the wake of the successive killings of teenagers, some of them related to the government’s war against drugs.
In just a month’s time, 5 children have been killed, two of them by Caloocan policemen, and one by paramilitary forces.
Citizens raged over the death of Grade 11 student Kian delos Santos, aged 17, after a CCTV footage showed how he was manhandled by Caloocan policemen in mid-August.
Two days after, 19-year-old and former University of the Philippines student Carl Arnaiz was also killed by Caloocan cops, but his body was found in a morgue in Caloocan only 10 days since he had gone missing.
Arnaiz’s companion when he was last seen, 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, was found dead in a creek in Nueva Ecija a day after Arnaiz was buried.
On Thursday, Vaughn Dicang, a Grade 12 science high school student in Baguio, who had gone missing since September 1, was found dead in a creek in the city.
A Grade 6 Lumad student Obillo Bay-ao, aged 19, was also shot dead allegedly by a member of a paramilitary group in Davao del Norte just this week.
“These developments are most shocking and heartbreaking. Kian, Carl, and Reynaldo were so young, but they were killed with impunity, in cold blood, with so much cruelty,” Undersecretary Hope Hervilla said in a statement released Friday, September 8.
“Those who killed them did not show any mercy for them, and just thinking how great the fear these young men felt in the final moments of their lives causes one to lose sleep,” added the official, who handles the protective services of the department.
Autopsies done on Delos Santos, Arnaiz, and De Guzman showed the brutal treatment they went through. Delos Santos was killed with 3 gunshots: at his back, behind and inside the left ear after being dragged by the police. Arnaiz, on the other hand, was handcuffed, beaten, shot twice. De Guzman was stabbed at least 30 times, his head covered by tape.
“Connected or not to the campaign against illegal drugs, these senseless killings should stop,” said Hervilla.
“We beg for the lives of Filipino children – they should be spared from violence and protected at all costs. This culture of impunity should not be tolerated, especially now that the targets are children and young Filipinos,” she said.
She called on government agencies to promote the rights of children, to help ensure the children’s safety and protection, and to unite against the brutal killings. – Rappler.com