Press Release
April 4, 2017


President Rodrigo Duterte should spare our children his language of death and violence. It is one thing to claim to protect them, and quite another to ask them to embrace a culture of violence and conceal it as protection.

The rhetoric of death and violence is an education our children don't need. President Duterte's love of violence contradicts the very principles espoused by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP). One of its core programs is the Messengers of peace initiative. It is anchored on training and dialogue, capacity building and peace projects. The President cannot teach our children peace and progress through a parade of dead bodies. Mister President, do not brainwash our children. Leave our kids alone.

The President should stop using the "protection of children" to legitimize his bloody war on drugs. The awful truth is, Filipino children themselves have become victims of this drug war. Some children, branded as "hardened criminals", have died at the hands of extrajudicial killers. Many have been orphaned; when the drug war killed the parents and guardians of many poor families, it also succeeded in sentencing orphaned children to a life of destitution and poverty. On top of that, all the children survivors of this abusive drug war will need mental health care, whose importance this government refuses to recognize. Without proper intervention, an entire generation of Filipinos will grow up scarred and traumatized, their sense of justice perverted by the President's obsession with killings.

President Duterte's appalling remarks before an audience of children are an insult to the victim's families and to the memory of those they lost to violence. Violence will not protect our children. Violence will consign them to a dark and bleak future where the silence of the dead and terrified is mistaken for peace. The real protection of children lies in a government that is able to take care of all its citizens, adheres to democracy and rule of law, and values the dignity of human life.

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