Save the Children Philippines laments the untimely demise of 12-year-old John Dave Pepito who reportedly died last April 14, while being chased by two barangay watchmen (tanods) for alleged violation of quarantine protocols, in Pasay City.
We reiterate our call on local officials to strictly comply with existing laws on the proper treatment and handling of children and youth at risk and in street situations. A child’s life must be valued, protected, and defended at all times, no matter the circumstances. We call on our government officials to adhere to Joint Memorandum Circular 2020-001 issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Council for the Welfare of Children, to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission and prevent the commission of violence against children.
We urge the government, to fulfill its primary obligation to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, harm, maltreatment, abuse, and neglect.
We further call that the observance of quarantine protocols must respect and protect children’s rights, more importantly, the rights to life, protection and dignity of every child.
Duty-bearers should not exacerbate the vulnerability and risks of children during the pandemic. Rather, they should ensure that children are cared for adequately and made to understand the situation properly without the use of vulgar or profane words, unnecessary force, harassment, and/or fear.
The death of Pepito should be a wake up call for the poor implementation of quarantine protocols and child protection responses during the lockdown. We condole with the bereaved family and loved ones of Pepito, and all the others who have lost their lives as a result of poor implementation of policies and continued violence in the time of COVID-19. May justice be served immediately.