Children claim Mendiola as they march
against hunger, violence and corruption
and for peace, justice and development
December 8, 2007
|Kiss of solidarity from a daughter of a desaparecidos||Police blocked the kids as they march to Mendiola|
|Angel Locsin with children of victims of human rights violations|
|Photos courtesy of SALINLAHI|
08 December 2007
Reference: ALPHONSE RIVERA, Officer-in-Charge (0921 3581239)
CHILDREN CLAIM MENDIOLA AS THEY MARCH
AGAINST HUNGER, VIOLENCE AND CORRUPTION
AND FOR PEACE, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
Braving what has usually been denied to militant activists, some 300 children and child rights advocates dared to march their way to Mendiola to express their voice on the different issues surrounding children’s rights to the resident of Malacanang, Pres. Gloria Arroyo. Children coming from the different areas threatened with demolition waved placards with simple calls for jobs, decent housing and food while children-victims of human rights violations, some even coming from as far as Quezon Province to escape from military operations carried calls for peace, justice and against human rights violations.
Led by Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concern, a broad alliance of different child rights groups, the children crooned their calls ala-Christmas carols. The yuletide’s icon – Santa Claus was replaced by the Christmas Grinch with the face of Pres. Arroyo, giving presents to children. This time inside the colorfully wrapped gifts are controversial issues such as ZTE-NBN scam, oil price hike, political killings and other issues embodied by the mobilizations theme: “May K rin kami! Labanan ang Kagutuman, Karahasan, at Korupsyon! “
According to Alphonse Rivera, Officer-in-Charge of Salinlahi Alliance, the issue of corruption, oil price hike and continuous militarization both in rural and urban areas greatly affect the lives of these children. “It is revolting to think that top officials who have benefitted from corruption such as the ZTE scam can afford to live in a lavish lifestyle while there are children who have resorted to suicide to escape their miserable condition brought by poverty,” said Rivera as he cited the case of Marianeth Amper of Davao City.
He further assailed that the ongoing military operations aggravate the conditions of children in the rural areas. About 30 children from Quezon Province together with their families fled their homes when military operations started to harass and threaten them. They have stopped attending their classes as a result of their displacement for their safety.
“The Christmas Grinch in the person of Mrs. Arroyo has rendered a bleak Christmas for these children. It is heartbreaking that these children have to endure hardship even at a time when everyone is supposed to be enjoying and celebrating this joyous season,” Rivera ended. ###
Alphonse Rivera, spokesperson of Salinlahi Alliance
for Childrens Concerns,
Children listen to Nanay Evan of Hustisya in Mendiola.jpg
08 December 2007
Reference: Ma. Esmeralda Macaspac, Executive Director (09209102927)
CHILDREN ASSERT RIGHTS TO ATTAIN JUSTICE, PEACE AND PROSPERITY AMIDST STATE VIOLENCE AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION
Colorful face-paint designs, hand-made Christmas cards and strings of crane origami festooned the school grounds of Kalantiaw Elementary School in Project 4, Quezon City. With delightful shrieks and cheerful smiles, around 100 children and child rights advocates gathered around not only to celebrate the Christmas season but more so to give these children-victims of human rights violation a quick respite from the pain they are undergoing or have gone through as victims of human rights violation.
According to Ms. Ma. Esmeralda Macaspac, Executive Director of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, an institution providing psycho-social treatment for children-victim of human rights abuses, today’s activity will give these children a productive and creative venue to express their desires or aspiration as they overcome the trauma and pain they suffered from the human rights violation they experienced. Most of the current clientele of the CRC are children whose parents are victims of violent arrests, enforced disappearance, and extra-judicial killings. “Most of them are able to express their desire for peace but this should be based on justice. This quest for justice is very much part of their coping mechanisms to overcome the trauma of loss of a loved one.”
She added that for this year, the general situation of children has not improved. Instead, according to her, the ongoing massive military operations, especially in the rural areas have worsened their already miserable conditions. She cited the cases of the massive evacuation in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and in ARMM areas wherein schools were forced to close down due to intensive military operation.
She further reiterated the need to call for the resumption of peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP especially since the children, as the most vulnerable sector, are affected the most during military operations. “ May these children’s call for justice be finally heeded by our government officials as more than anyone else, these children have suffered tremendously especially at a time when they should be enjoying their childhood.” Macaspac quips. ###
The Gloria Grinch brought gifts that the children refused to accept. March from Bustillos to Mendiola
Beadwork bracelets and necklaces were the instant favorites
Angel Locsin's solidarity with children victims of human rights violations
Photos courtesy of Alex Felipe
Group therapy with Ate Angel - friendship bracelet-making
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