Help us in our campaign to upgrade or close Reception and Action Center Manila (RAC)
This week Bahay Tuluyan sent copies of this photo to the President of the Philippines, Mayor of Manila, Secretary of Justice, Secretary of DSWD, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and various media outlets. It was taken inside a government shelter for children, Reception and Action Center Manila, better known as ‘RAC’, on 12 October 2014.
Since 2008 Bahay Tuluyan has repeatedly called for the horrific treatment of children inside RAC to be stopped. Nothing has happened. The child in this photo is clearly severely malnourished, unwell, completely naked and lying on a cement floor, outdoors. At the date this photo was taken he had been in the care of RAC for seven months. He had not received any medical treatment. On release to Bahay Tuluyan he had a black eye and initial medico legal examinations indicated he had ‘multiple injuries secondary to mauling’.
The letter we sent accompanying the photo included the following:
‘The conditions inside RAC are abysmal. Children are detained in this center without charge yet are treated worse than criminals. They are denied the most basic rights – adequate food, clean water, bedding and even clothing. Moreover not only are children denied contact with their families but their families are often not even notified that they are being held inside RAC.
Children inside RAC are brought there by government officials, police or barangay tanod, often after having been beaten or mistreated. Most of the time the children do not even know why they are being taken to RAC, with workers there citing various reasons for admission; ‘rescue’, curfew or commission of an offence. Accordingly, children accused of committing offences are detained in the same quarters as those who have supposedly been ‘rescued’ for protective purposes. The beating and abuse continues inside RAC with children being both physically and sexually abused by both staff and fellow children.
Bahay Tuluyan, along with its many partners, has been advocating for better conditions in RAC since 2008 (refer especially to Sagip or Huli: Rescue of Street Children in Caloocan, Manila, Pasay and Quezon Cities, 2009) and has involved the Manila City government, DSWD and CHR in various discussions about the above mentioned concerns (please see attached letter). Despite this there has been no change in the conditions in RAC during that time.
This horrific treatment of children can not continue. Adequate policies and laws exist in the Philppines to regulate the running of child caring institutions to appropriate standards yet this institution, run by government, falls far below those standards.
We request you to IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND the operations of RAC until it meets DSWD standards of accreditation and can assure that children will be treated with the dignity they deserve.’
We call on all supporters of children everywhere to stand with us as we battle to ensure that all children are given the care, dignity and love they deserve. You can show your support through letters/emails/messages to Bahay Tuluyan – 2218 Leveriza St, Malate, Manila / firstname.lastname@example.org or here at our facebook page.
We will gather these messages and pass them on to the people responsible. HELP US ENSURE THAT EVERY CHILD IS GIVEN THE DIGNITY THEY DESERVE.
PS. We are pleased to say that through our intervention the child in the photo is now in the care of a excellent institution working with sick children and we are hopeful he will be on the way to recovery very soon.
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