The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) today expressed alarm against the recent killings of children and the alleged involvement of members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Caloocan in the same. A ranking official of the department said that investigations into the issue should be initiated immediately and should be transparent, impartial, and with well-defined goals to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
DSWD Undersecretary Hope V. Hervilla said that the brutal killings of three young Filipinos – Kian Lloyd de los Santos, 17, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14 – are a cause for serious alarm and should galvanize all agencies concerned with the welfare of children and youth.
“These developments are most shocking and heartbreaking. Kian, Carl, and Reynaldo were so young but they were killed with impunity, in cold blood, with so much cruelty. Those who killed them did not show any mercy for them and just thinking how great the fear these young men felt in the final moments of their lives causes one to lose sleep,” she said.
Usec. Hervilla said that as the national government’s primary agency addressing social welfare issues in Philippine society, the DSWD cannot remain silent on the issue of the killings of children. Only yesterday, 17-year old Vaughn Carl M. Dicang from Baguio was found dead after he went missing for five days. His body, reports say, was found floating in a creek.
“Connected or not to the campaign against illegal drugs, these senseless killings should stop. We beg for the lives of Filipino children – they should be spared from violence and protected at all costs. This culture of impunity should not be tolerated, especially now that the targets are children and young Filipinos. What does it say about our society that we are allowing our children to fall victim to brutal killings, at the hands of individuals who have no respect whatsoever for human rights, much less the rights of children?”
“We must work harder to promote the rights of children and to ensure their safety and protection against lawless elements. All government agencies tasked to uphold the welfare of children should stand and unite against the brutal killing of children regardless of whether these killings are connected to the war on drugs or not,” she said.
Usec. Hervilla said that the DSWD stands with the parents, relatives, and friends of the victims and supports their calls for justice against the perpetrators. #