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Group calls government: Protect children's rights amid drug war

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Group calls government: Protect children's rights amid drug war
The group cited a study by the Ateneo School of Government last August that showed that “up to 32,395 children were orphaned because of the anti-illegal drugs campaign, while close to half a million children are now estimated to be deprived of parents who were imprisoned on drug-related charges.”
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — A child’s rights group on Thursday called on the government to prevent children being used as collateral damage in its brutal war against illegal drugs.

Child Rights Network Philippines, in a statement, urged the government to thoroughly investigate the case filed against a rookie cop accused of raping a teen.

"We call on the government to not only thoroughly investigate the crime and obtain justice for the child, but also acknowledge that the war on drugs only exposes children to grave danger because of the abuses by people in authority that go unchecked,” CRN said.

“Law enforcement agencies should purge its ranks of these abusive officials and focus on increasing these institutions' capacity to protect citizens, especially the most vulnerable. No commitment is better articulated than bringing to justice these predators in uniform and having a more child rights sensitive approach to law enforcement,” they added.

Police have detained and filed a rape complaint against Police Officer 1 Eduardo Valencia, after he was accused of solicited sex from a 15-year-old girl whose parents were arrested by authorities in a drug sting.

Valencia denied the allegations, but medical examination showed that there was a laceration on the girl’s private parts which indicate that she was sexually abused.

The group also joined the call to raise the minimum age of consent to at least 16 years old, from 12 years old.

Sens. Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and Nancy Binay are among the lawmakers who have filed measures proposing the same move.

“Doing so would protect more children from child rape, and arm our justice system with vital powers to bring justice to abused children,” they added.

The group cited a study by the Ateneo School of Government last August that showed that “up to 32,395 children were orphaned because of the anti-illegal drugs campaign, while close to half a million children are now estimated to be deprived of parents who were imprisoned on drug-related charges.”

Meanwhile, Center for Women’s Resources has recently released data where they documented 33 cases of violence against women committed by policemen since President Rodrigo Duterte took office. Fifty-six cops were involved in these cases, which range from catcalling, acts of lasciviousness to rape.

Of the 33 cases, 13 involved victims who are 17 years old and below. Almost half of the cases monitored (16) were on rape, while seven cases were on acts of lasciviousness.

“To continue turning a blind eye to child rights violations linked to the war on drugs and treating child abuses as mere collateral damage is to renege on this commitment,” CRN stressed.

“We call on all child rights advocates and organizations to unite in demanding immediate action to prevent further violation of children’s rights. Crime committed against any child cannot be labeled and condoned as mere ‘collateral damage,’” CRN added.

In December 2016, Duterte said he is sorry for the innocent people, who include children, killed in his brutal war against drugs.

CHILD RAPE EDUARDO VALENCIA PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE RAPE
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