by Raymund Villanueva
MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines Special Office for the Protection of Children (SOPC) called for the protection of the 14-year old Sagay City massacre survivor the police earlier tried to take into custody.
Coni Ledesma, NDFP Negotiating Panel member and SOPC head said in a statement that the victim needs psycho-social support and the nurture of his family instead of being endangered into being branded a child soldier of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“The last thing the boy needs is to be victimized and traumatized twice over by being treated like a criminal,” Ledesma, also a Negrense, said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) tried arresting the victim last Wednesday while in the custody of the City Social Work and Development Office of Sagay and said he may be both witness and suspect in the incident last Saturday that killed nine farmers.
Sagay Police Chief Inspector Robert Reyes Mansueto denied arresting the victim and said they only tried to him “for safekeeping.”
The boy was eventually returned to his mother with the help of human rights lawyers.
Ledesma said the minor is among the most vulnerable of the Sagay massacre survivors who needs urgent intervention.
The NDFP SOPC called on human rights, civic and religious organizations and concerned individuals to come to the aid of the child.
“His parents or guardians, his teachers, people from his community must stand up and vouch for him to prevent the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP from further violating his rights,” Ledesma said.
She added that the NDFP-SOPC is willing to provide support and assistance should the boy and his family request it.(Reposted by davaotoday.com)