LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines- Fed up with being served with “expired foods”, unsavory viands, verbal and physical abuse, among others, prompted the female minors at the Homecare Center for Children (HCC) in Lapulapu City to go on protest.
City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan immediately acted as the protest was an “extreme act” as five of the minors volunteered to slash their wrists. Chan relieved the center chief Leticia Patalinghug and her assistant Virginia Dihayco as demanded by the children who volunteered to slash their wrist led by an 11-year-old girl.
“Why is it this very alarming to me.Ang mga bata naglaslas na (the children slashed their wrists). As a sigh of their protest to change the one who manages the homecare and not only one, lima sila kabuok (five of them),” Chan told reporters in a press conference earlier today, September 25, 2019.
Chan personally talked to the minors last Tuesday night and heard their ordeal which they also put in handwriting that they submitted to him. Among the alleged maltreatment was serving them with expired chocolate and malt drink that can be mixed with hot or cold water during mornings, sardines as viand repeatedly, including having a birthday with only “mung beans” was served.
There was an instance that the foods that were leftovers from a wake were served to them. Chan said this happened despite a relatively bigger budget of more than P100,000.00 a month as subsidy for the 72 minor occupants (43 males/29 females) of the HCC.
The Mayor said he wanted to find out what happened to the annual budget of P1, 500, 000.00 (One Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos) for the center occupants as even their bath soap was so budgeted that two girls would divide a small bar for one month while only two sachets of shampoo were given also for a month of use. “Ang ilang sabon tungaon, duha lang ka sachet shampoo for one month. Ang ilang sud-an gabalik balik na sardinas, misua, mongos,” Mayor Chan revealed.
The girls also alleged that even during their free time they were not allowed to play in their gym, at times being scolded or shouted by both Patalinjug and Dihayco who are supposedly the resident social workers of the center. “They feel bored inside the dormitory kay wala silay time to play supposedly naa silay schedule nga makaduwa sila ba mura silag gipreso ba anha lang mo, you can not go out,” the Mayor also alleged, adding, in one instance, in anger, “the heads of two of the girls were banged by one of the social workers.”
Patalinghug refused a request for an interview to get her side when iNews.Ph went to HCC but City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) chief Ermilita Degamo said she was surprised by the allegations. Degamo said there are other social workers who are also working in the center.
“This is the only time that I heard of it,” Degamo said as Mayor Chan called her when the reporters were still around. According to Mayor Chan, the girls began to squeal about their ordeal when he replaced all the so-called “house parents” of the center in August until all of them decided to go out in the open where the five volunteered to slash their wrists.
The 11-year-old girl was joined by girls that are younger to her which alarmed Chan. Mayor Chan said if warranted, charges will be filed against Patalinghug and Dihayco./AAJ