Statement on the issuance of warrant of arrest against child rights advocates for trumped-up charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of lumad evacuees

July 4, 2016


In behalf of the 24 organizations and institutions under the banner of SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns, we vehemently denounce the issuance of warrant of arrest against SALINLAHI Secretary General Kharlo Manano and Children’s Rehabilitation Center – Southern Mindanao Region (CRC-SMR) Information and Publicity Officer Rius Valle along with other 13 human rights advocates and church workers for concocted charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of lumad evacuees who fled their homes due to military abuses and encampment in their communities in Mindanao last year.

We believe that the charges and issuance of the arrest warrant, which came out during the remaining days of Benigno Simeon Aquino III in Malacanang, is nothing but a fragment of Aquino’s legacy of bloodshed and repression under its counter-insurgency operation plan Oplan Bayanihan.

It has only unveiled the deplorable human rights situation in the country under the Aquino government where human rights activists and personnel of non-government organizations – who provide necessary support to those who fall victims to human rights violations – are being threatened, harassed and persecuted by state authorities.

We are enraged over the failure of the Aquino government to resolve the socio-economic problems haunting our country today. For the past six years, Filipino children and their families have plunged further into poverty and hunger due to landlessness among farmers and massive unemployment in urban centers. Incidence of child labor, child prostitution and other situations detrimental to children’s welfare has also thrived under his term while more and more children from Mindanao are deprived of their basic right to education and have become victims of military attacks on their schools and communities.

We call on President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately put an end to the political repression and persecution of human rights defenders. We urge the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the said trumped up charges, investigate the cases of human rights violations against children and child rights advocates and hold the perpetrators accountable.
At the same time, we encourage every advocate of children’s rights and welfare to support our calls and add their active voices in defending child rights advocates as defenders of the rights of our salinlahi.

Eule Rico Bonganay, SALINLAHI Public Information Officer, 09332901403
Jacquiline Ruiz, Executive Director of CRC and member of SALINLAHI
Reina Requioma, Training Program Coordinator of Parent’s Alternative on Early Childhood Care and Devt (PAECCDI) and spokesperson of Save Our School Network