Senator Risa Hontiveros revealed on Tuesday that over 200 children, aged 0-4, have tragically lost their lives at Sitio Kapihan in Socorro, Surigao del Norte. This community is inhabited by members of Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI).
During the ongoing Senate investigation into the alleged instances of rape, sexual abuse, trafficking, forced labor, and child marriage within the Socorro “cult,” Hontiveros presented a list of infants who, she claims, perished after being denied access to hospital care by SBSI leaders.
“Ako po ay nagsaliksik pa ng mas malalim at pinagtanong-tanong ko kung sino-sino ba ang namatayan ng anak na sanggol sa Kapihan. I was shown this sheet of paper. Mr. Chair, napakadami nito. In fact, if our informants are to be believed, higit 200 ang namamatay na mga bata from the ages of newborn to 4 years old,” she said.
“If this is true, why so many dead babies? Why are we allowing children to die? ‘Di ba natin inaalagaan ang mga sanggol sa Kapihan? ‘Di ba Padron po ninyo si Santo Niño, bakit nangangamatay ang mga Niño at Niña?”
Hontiveros says over 200 children died in Sitio Kapihan, Socorro
In October, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa inspected Sitio Kapihan, where several infant graves were discovered. Among the buried infants was one born on December 14, 2021, who tragically passed away three days later without receiving medical care. The child was initially interred near a basketball court but was later relocated to the cemetery this year.
In collaboration with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Dela Rosa authorized the exhumation of the child’s remains for further investigation.
Senator Hontiveros mentioned that she intends to inquire with the NBI about their findings from the exhumation.
Randolf Balbarino, the father of one of the babies who died, narrated how he lost his child two days after his wife gave birth in December 2020 allegedly because SBSI leader Jey Rence Quilario or “Senior Agila” forbade bringing the infant to a hospital outside of Sitio Kapihan.
“‘Yung mga kumadrona doon, sinabihan ko na ilabas ko ang anak ko kasi parang agaw-buhay na ang bata. Sabi ng kumadrona na pinagbabawal kasi ni Senior Agila, wala tayong magawa,” he said.