Save the Children Philippines on Wednesday denounced the killing of a 15-year-old girl in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur after filing a molestation complaint against two police officers from neighboring town of San Juan.
Investigations show that the young victim and her 18-year-old female cousin, who attended a party and reportedly got drunk, were apprehended by two cops for alleged violation of curfew. The victim managed to escape after being abused by one of the cops. Her cousin was allegedly raped by the other.
After lodging a complaint about the incident at the Cabugao Police Station, the victim was shot repeatedly by two motorcycle-riding men on her way home.
The child rights organization demanded swift justice through the immediate arrest and filing of charges against the suspects who are also policemen.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, expressed indignation over the incident which occurred on July 2, 2020, ironically on the month when the Philippines marks the 30th year of its ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The Philippines is the 31st country to ratify the human rights treaty on July 26, 1990. The convention seeks the fulfillment and respect of the rights of children to a dignified and humane life, to health and survival, education and protection from all forms of abuse and violence.
Violence against children, including those inflicted by law enforcement authorities who are duty-bound to protect them, is condemnable and must be put to an end, said Muyot.
Save the Children Philippines expressed support to the investigation led by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Muyot also urged police officers, barangay leaders to adhere to the guidelines of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on humane and dignified treatment of children and youth who violate curfew rules under the community quarantine.
The new DILG guidelines issued on June 23, 2020 also applies to children in street situations and those in conflict with the law based on the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (Republic Act 9344 as amended by RA 10630).
The additional guidelines form part of the Joint Memorandum Circular of the DILG and Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) dated April 6, 2020 on the protocol on reaching out to children in street situations, in need of special protection, children at risk and children in conflict with the law.
Muyot said the unfortunate incident is a clear violation of the new DILG guidelines mandating authorities to refrain from sexually harassing or abusing or making sexual advances on the child found during curfew.
A child found violating curfew and quarantine rules must be turned over to parents, guardians or to the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) as stated in the joint memorandum circular. It also directs enforcement officers to avoid the use or display of firearms, weapons, handcuffs, as well as unnecessary force.
“We mark the 30th year of Philippine ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with a strong commitment to fight for the rights of every child to humane and dignified treatment, and fulfillment of their rights to health, education and well-being,” Muyot concluded.