Socorro Bayanihan Services Child Abuse Cases: A ‘Religious’ Mess?

Socorro Bayanihan Services is facing multiple charges

Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc., a non-governmental organization based in Surigao del Norte in Mindanao, is under fire right now after child abuse allegations surfaced.

The group has been tagged as a “religious cult” in some write-ups. Based on a report from Inquirer, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recommended the filing of a complaint against several people behind the organization, including leader Jey Rence Quilario, also known as Senior Agila.

The complainants are Mayor Riza Rafonselle Taruc-Timcang and Social Welfare and Development Officer Chien Cen Dizon. Based on the report, the complaint was filed for alleged violation of qualified trafficking, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention, the Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage, and the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination.

Socorro Bayanihan Services
📷: Socorro Bayanihan Services FB Page

This issue has already reached the Senate when Senator Risa Hontiveros urged her fellow lawmakers during her privilege speech on Monday to look into the operations of Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. She made this statement after receiving complaints that the group is allegedly involved in child marriage. Republic Act No. 11596 which was passed last year prohibits this kind of activity.

In an interview on TV5, Socorro Bayanihan Services Vice Pres. Mamerto Galanida denied the allegations against their group. He stressed that this was made by their former member who went against them and established a different group.

Galanida pointed out that the parents of the alleged victims will surely not let it pass if there are wrongdoings in the group. He also mentioned a political angle as to why complaints are being filed against them.

It is definitely not the first time that a “religious” group or cult, whatever they want to call it, has been involved in this kind of issue. This kind of incident is not just happening in the Philippines but in other countries as well.

What saddens me is that this kind of incident involves the aspect of “religion.” For some people, this is a sacred thing but sometimes other people take advantage of people’s belief and desire to serve the “One” who they think would save them.

No preliminary investigation has been done yet, as of writing. Sometimes, I want to believe that if there is smoke, there is fire, although, some people tend to create issues sometimes.

This feeling came from the fact that the victims are helpless children who are made to think that they have no choice or that they have to follow orders and that orders are perceived to be from up “above.”

The authorities must do something about this and if ever the accusations are proven wrong, at least, an attempt was made in order to address the issue to prevent further damage. It can also be a lesson to other so-called religious cults that they can’t get away with their wrongdoings if there is.

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