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Friday, October 28, 2016
Fr Shay Cullen writes on Philippines child prisoners
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 A group of German visitors went with the staff of Preda Foundation last 5 and 6 of May, to visit the children at the Reception and Action Centre (RAC) and the Manila Youth Reception Centre (MYRC) to bring snacks and drinks and see the condition of the children detained as prisoners. In the Action center, the kids are 10 years old and below and lives in a bare and empty room. Since we exposed this, the children are now allowed to watch TV for a while in the dining room instead of looking at a bare wall all day. Still, they look down from barred windows on the second floor. But on our previous visit, we were shocked to see that two strangely half dressed young men with dyed hair and strange ways were allowed access to these little children. They were not social workers, not in uniform, no IDs and clearly not qualified to be there. They seemed to be in charge with authority. The little kids were following their orders and were clearly frightened of them. The danger of abuse to the children was present and alarming. The council for the Welfare of Children ought to have professional social workers and psychologists visit the children and see the conditions and talk to them to know if any have been abused. There must be something bad to hide if charity workers are forbidden to visit the children and bring them food. It,s what Jesus of Nazareth commanded us to do. This situation at the RAC and MYRC is harmful to children and youth. The sub-human conditions are a violation of RA 7610, PD 603 and RA 9344, and also the international conventions on the rights of the child. That's why they don't want us to visit. They are in violation of the law and harming the youth and children. That's one thing that Former Senator, now mayor of Manila Alfredo Lim, really abhors. He is a strict law and order mayor and his own son, recently arrested for drug offenses is to face the full wrath of the law. We expect him to investigate the sub-human conditions and the malnutrition of the inmates all suffering violations of their rights within a short walk of his office. He will see that this is a cruel and unusual punishment of children and youth and he will order it changed immediately. He is that kind of man. We were also forbidden to visit the youth detained in the MYRC. But we know from previous visits, photographic evidence and the testimony of former inmates that it is a horrible dungeon and the kids are always hungry, deprived and lives worse than animals. The authorities have barred all outsiders from seeing the sub-human conditions. If there is nothing to hide, then why bar visits by charitable groups licensed and accredited by the DSWD such as Preda workers? The MYRC authorities are acting like the Burmese Generals, they want us to leave the aid and relief supplies and go away. We will take care of it they say. There is no guarantee that the foods and donations will get to the needy and hungry children. They ought not to blame the staff of Mayor Lim for this. I advise the good mayor to lease out the entire compound for development into a ten story building with a commercial ground floor, a floor for the city offices, another for the courts and one for the social services. With the earnings from the rent and lease he can build a best practice and model children's home on the city land in Marikina. For more information see:
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