An unidentified boy drives a pedicab for a living instead of going to school to help his poor family in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. And another boy collects garbage inside a filthy trash box in the village of Guiwan in Zamboanga City. Many poor children in Zamboanga City resort to working dangerous jobs to help earn money to buy food. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 31, 2011) – Three young men were brutally killed and their bodies dumped in an irrigation canal on a farming village in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines.
Civilians discovered the bodies – their hands tied behind the back and head covered with packing tape - in the village of Talabaan on Wednesday.
Police said the bodies bore hack wounds when they found them still covered on hays to hide the grizzly murder and victims of summary executions.
No group claimed responsibility for the killings, but villagers claimed to have seen a white van late on Tuesday near where the bodies had been found.
The three victims were identified as Jeric Escover, 12; Elby Dablo, 16; and Carlo Catalan, 13.
Reacting to the news of the murders, peace advocate Edgar Araojo said: “There is really a breakdown in the peace and order in Zamboanga City.”
The local police chief, Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, has ordered an investigation into the murders. He said two of the three victims were involved in petty crimes and could be members of a robbery gang.
Extrajudicial killings are not uncommon in Zamboanga City where cadavers believed to be victims of summary executions had been discovered in remote villages in the past.
In 2009, a 14-year old boy, Benjamin Mariga, was brutally murdered in Zamboanga City after he was arrested along with several street children accused of robbery.
The latest killings occurred just several weeks after government officials announced that a regional council for the protection of children will be organized soon in an effort to keep minors away from danger, abuse and maltreatment, especially in environment unmindful of their rights.
Many poor children in Zamboanga City have abandoned their studies in exchange for begging in the streets. They resort to working dangerous jobs to help their family earn money to buy food.
In the city’s garbage dumpsite in Lumbangan village, many children, some of them as young as four-years old, are already collecting scraps unmindful of the filthy environment and hazards to their health, just to help their parents earn a living.
Many street children are also addicted to chemical solvents and had been involved in petty crimes. (Mindanao Examiner)