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Balay sa Gugma Street Children
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Balay Sa Gugma Street Children

 

The Street Children Project Balay sa Gugma (House of Love) is a Non- Government Organization founded in 1993 which wants to cooperate with people round the world who want to liberate street children from their life on the streets with drugs and police harassment!

July  18, 1997,  Wednesday,  is  the anniversary of Allan (Bunso) Arellano - age 15. He was  a  shy little boy who used to live around the bridge near the Cathedral at Cagayan de  Oro.  When  he was imprisoned in Lumbia prison I got him to write down something of  his  life.  The  ending  of  the  story  is  especially sad when just a little while after he was  flung out of prison back onto the streets he was stabbed and garroted to death by vigilantes.

Balay  sa Gugma stands as one of the organizations around the world that struggles for children like Allan.

ALLAN  (15 years)

"I  am from Orogeta city.  My parents live there. When I was eleven years old I came to Cagayan de   Oro   with   my   older   brother. I lived under the bridge with some street kids.  From  them  I  learned to sniff rugby, begging churchgoers and other people just to  get  money  to  buy  food and  vices.  I was caught stealing goods in the Divisoria Market  and  I  was  charged with theft. Here I am in jail.  I repented it so much.  If ever I am  released  I  will  go  home and ask forgiveness of my parents and, if possible, ask them to send me to school. Maybe it is not too late for me to change my way of life. "

(Allan, along with his brother Nilbert, was murdered shortly after his release from Lumbia prison, Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines)

 

Feb. 15, 2002

The  group  of  vigilantes  this  time  started  to  illegally  kill  or  salvage alleged police characters.  Yesterday  Feb. 14,  Valentines  Day, at more or less 4:00 o'clock am, two street  boys  with  BM  29  tattooed on their bodies were shot using a .45 caliber pistol. One of them was Jimboy Apas from Macabalan this city, a minor detainee at Lumbia.

We  immediately  confirmed  at  the  funeral  home  where  he  was  brought  and it was positive.  At  this  time  we  are  in  the  process  of  gathering  information  why he was salvaged  because last Feb. 7, Bobby, our street coordinator attended a court hearing. The  following  day  Feb. 8,  we went to Lumbia to distribute bath and laundry soap and fruits  for  the  minors.  When we ask the boys where Jimboy is they told us that he was transferred to the adult compound because he was already 18 yrs old.

We  believe that there is something fishy with regard to his death because according to the   police  report  that  this  boy  was  released  from  the  custody  of  the DSWD last Sept.2001, but  based on our record this boy exists in minor cell. We started yesterday to  gather information from the police record and today Feb. 15 we will visit the minor to acquire  more  reliable  source.  This  afternoon,  we will be having our regular monthly Task Force meeting and I have to report this matter so that once and for all we can hear from the BJMP side and of course from the DSWD social worker.

At  this  point  in  time  we  are  very much ready to attest the truth that during the Feb. 7 hearing there was no order to release Jimboy from his cell.

 

Feb. 17, 2002

Yesterday   there  was  another  victim  of  salvaging  by  vigilantes  group.  The  victim was  identified only as Amang meaning (deaf and mute). According to the parent where this  minor  resides,  he  came  from  Cebu  riding in a boat. This month he was the 3rd victim  of  salvaging.  Again  this  boy has BM 29 marked at the right side of his body. I think  this  Amang  in  city jail acquired this mark because he happened to commit (sic) sometime  in August 2001 and we know this boy, the only problem was: it's hard to talk to him. I think we need to learn a sign language soon. (sic)

 

Last  Friday,  we  had  a  monthly  task force meeting and the group decided to have a dialogue with the city police chief of Cagayan de Oro to discuss this matter because as I  have  reported  during  our  meeting  the  motive  of  vigilante  groups was inhuman. I reminded  the member of the task force that only God has the right to cease our earthly life and besides it is a violation of the commandment of God.

 

Yes, this  was a rugby and street kid or whatever, but being a human he has the right to live.

 

 

In   Cagayan   de   Oro   there   are   many  children  in  prison    for  sniffing  glue  for example. They  are  jailed  together  with  adult  hardcore  criminals. This  is  not   legal according  to  Philippine   laws   and  the  UN  Charta  for  the  Rights  of  Children.  The Philippines  is  a  signatory  of  the  UN  Charta!  The  situation there in the prison is just dreadful!  No  water, no  medicine, nothing  to do. Balay sa Gugma  goes there daily to help the boys.

 

Balay sa Gugma Street Children Foundation, Inc., Cagayan de Oro, Philippines