Statement on The Killings of Minors & Young People
The Philippine Children’s Ministries Network is the Commission on Children of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), together with the PCMN-Youth For Safety Youth Organisation, condemn the recent killings of minors and young people in the country.
Our Perspective and Value of Children
God values the life of every child. He showers them with love and imputes them with worth and dignity. God is a “Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5-6). Children are considered unique in their own way (Psalm 139:13-14), and God has a plan for them to flourish in a just society (Micah 6:8). God calls his people to protect and defend children (Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 82:3-4).
We believe that the Government is the God-given authority to bring order, justice and peace in any society. It is imbued with the responsibility to protect children at all cost and not harm them or subject them to violent environment. We believe the family has the primary responsibility to care for children, including those with harmful and risky behavior.
What our Law Says
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, Article 40) recognizes the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognised as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. The Convention also takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child assuming a constructive role in the society.
Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection Act for Children mandates the State as a policy, to “provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, and discrimination“.
The Philippine National Police Manual on Handling Cases of Children at Risk (CAR) and Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL), in collaboration with the Juvenile Justice Council, in response to implementation of Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Act of 2006, and as amended by RA 10630, Sec 3-3 General Rules in Conducting Initial Contact, stipulates that the apprehending officer shall prevent any possible violence or injury that may be inflicted against the child by any person, including the victim or the complainant from the time the CICL is taken into custody. Further, Section 3-6 states that “Use of unnecessary violence and force against the child is absolutely prohibited without exception.” Clearly, these guidelines were not followed as the violence that were inflicted to the minors and young people, did not only result to injuries but death.
From the foregoing, we call on government entities, especially the law enforcers, to respect the rights of children to protection, to be free from unlawful arrest, torture and killings.
We call on the Department of Justice, to ensure that no child shall be deprived of his or her liberty, will not be detained with adults or suffer imprisonment, but if found violating the law, will be turned-over to the Department of Social Welfare & Development or to its local counterparts for restoration and rehabilitation. Children must not be treated as criminal.
We call on the President and all government entities, specifically the Department of Social Welfare & Development, to uphold the rights of children anytime, anywhere. The Department shall cause the provision of appropriate response & services to children charged with crime, specially drug related, preventing them to continue as drug users or couriers.
We pray for the speedy resolution of the cases of killings and murders of children and young people. We pray that the bereaved families have access to prompt legal & other governmental assistance, including witness protection.
As Christians working with children, we are accountable for our actions with children because nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight’. (Hebrews 4:13).
We call on all Christians and members of society to speak and stand for the protection of all Filipino children. Violence committed against children and young people, and the senseless killing, is outside the design of God for nurturing them, allowing them to grow and thrive in a society where there is justice, peace and love.
Philippine Children’s Ministries Network is an association of 51 organisations and private individuals with ministries to children at risk.
PCMN-Youth For Safety Youth Network is an association of young people ages 15-24 with advocacies on children and youth rights against sexual abuse and exploitation. There are 300 youth advocates members of this association.
“Children enjoying the fullness of life in a loving and nurturing environment”