Press Release
November 7, 2023

SENATOR RONALD "BATO" DELA ROSA
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ORDER AND DANGEROUS DRUGS
SOCORRO BAYANIHAN SERVICES, INC. (SBSI) - SECOND HEARING
NOVEMBER 7, 2023

OPENING STATEMENT

Magandang umaga sa ating lahat.

Nitong Oktubre lamang, tayo mismo ay nagtungo sa Sitio Kapihan, Socorro, Surigao del Norte. Kasama ng butihing gobernador ng Surigao del Norte na si Gov. Lyndon Barbers, kinausap natin ang komunidad, kabilang na ang mga kabataan na sinabing ipinakasal at nagkaanak sa murang edad. Pinakinggan natin ang kanilang panig at ang kanilang mga hinaing.

Sa mga kasama ko sa komiteng ito, hindi man kayo nakasama sa ating ocular inspection, nais ko lang kayong bigyan ng assurance: napakaganda ng Sitio Kapihan. It is such a scenic spot, nestled in the island of Socorro, which is equally breathtaking. Tama po ang naging hakbang ng ating gobyerno sa pagdedeklara nito na isang protected area. Kailangan nating protektahan ang kagandahan ng Sitio Kapihan.

And so, to everyone who is here present, if you are ever called upon to speak today, I implore you: do not stain the beauty of Sitio Kapihan and Socorro with lies and deceit. Walang mabuti at magandang naidudulot ang kasinungalingan. Katotohanan at hustisya lamang ang bibigyan natin ng lugar sa pagdinig na ito.

Hindi lamang ang kagandahan ng lugar at mayamang kalikasan ng Socorro ang nangangailangan ng proteksyon. Maging ang ilang residente ng mala-paraisong isla ng Socorro ay humihingi ng proteksyon, kabilang ang mga menor de edad na 'di umano'y nakaranas ng karahasan at hindi makataong pagtrato sa kanilang tinatawag na Senyor Agila at mga opisyales ng SBSI.

As we continue this investigation, in aid of legislation, let us keep in mind that "mankind owes to the child the best it has to give". And as mentioned in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the child shall enjoy special protection and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.

Mula sa ating naunang hearing at sa diskusyon noong ocular inspection, mayroong mga isyu na nais pa nating bigyang linaw. These questions [are what] we shall focus on in today's hearing. Aside from, of course, the statements that we're going to hear from the new set of resource persons ay ito 'yung ating gustong [i-focus] ngayong araw na ito:

  1. The suspension and possible revocation due to gross violation of the PACBRMA with SBSI for Sitio Kapihan;

  2. The need to provide for the relocation and reintegration of the community members should the PACBRMA indeed be revoked;

  3. The need to provide proper and formal education to children at Sitio Kapihan should the PACBRMA not be revoked and the SBSI members be allowed to continue their stay;

  4. The allegations regarding the questionable gravesite of the community including the allegation of one father that the remains of his child are no longer in the gravesite with a false date of death placed at the marking.

Maraming Salamat po.

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