CHR: Forced child marriages, human rights violations committed by Socorro cult
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the cult Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) in Socorro, Surigao del Norte are being subjected to forced marriages and other human rights violations, according to an initial investigation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
CHR Director Jasmin Navarro Regino revealed the finding in Thursday’s Senate hearing on SBSI’s suspected cult activities.
According to Regino, CHR deployed a five-member team in Sitio Kapihan in Socorro town.
“We found out initially, based on interviews with children, [that] there was forced marriage [in Sitio Kapihan],” reported Regino.
“There was a violation of the right to access education, and likewise, there’s a violation of the freedom of movement of these people,” she said.
Regino’s revelation contradicts the claim of alleged cult leader Jey Rence “Senior Agila” Quilario’s stand that no children are being forced into an unwanted marriage in the area.
“We will submit our initial investigation report because it is based on many violations,” Regino added.
Before the commission’s conclusion, several witnesses, who are minors, testified that members of SBSI were forced to marry and have sex with men that Quilario assigned to them.