Surigao del Norte

Rappler Talk: Lawyers, victims push campaign against cults
Rappler Talk: Lawyers, victims push campaign against cults
Rappler Visayas Reporter John Sitchon speaks with victims and lawyers who are fighting the atrocities of an alleged cult in Socorro, Surigao del Norte

CEBU, Philippines – Since their escape from the Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI), survivors have shared accounts of alleged child marriages, forced labor, and paramilitary training during the Senate investigation into the “cult” based in Surigao del Norte.

SBSI’s hilltop settlement in Socorro town hosts more than 3,000 residents. It has its own quasi-government called the Nueva Jerusalem Esperanza Ministry Government. It also has a private army that includes minors, as young as eight years old, known as “Soldiers of God.”

From handing over large portions of their family’s belongings to using children in begging for alms, members of SBSI go to great lengths to show loyalty to the organization and its leader, Jey Rence Quilario – believed by his followers as the reincarnation of the Santo Niño or the Child Jesus.

The Senate cited Quilario and other key figures of SBSI for contempt after they denied involvement in child marriages, and had since been detained at the Senate in Pasay City.

Legislators are concerned about the safety of people who remain in the SBSI settlement.

Rappler Visayas Reporter John Sitchon talks with victims of the SBSI, their lawyers, and the people who are taking a stand against what is widely seen as a corrupted version of a former people’s organization.

Bookmark this page to watch the interview on Tuesday, October 3, at 9 pm. –

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