Socorro Mayor’s Plea for Security
Mayor Riza Rafonselle Timcang of Socorro town in Surigao del Norte has raised alarm over what she perceives as a “real threat and imminent danger” posed by the Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc. (SBSI), a group facing accusations of child abuse and cult-like activities. These concerns come in the wake of a tumultuous rally that took place over the weekend.
Appeal for Armed Forces and Police Support
In a statement issued on Monday, Mayor Timcang called upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to bolster their presence in the town. She voiced her concerns, saying,
“Based on the events that transpired on Sept. 24 in front of national television cameras and beamed around the world, there is a real threat and imminent danger of violence escalation from the agitated members of the SBSI.”
Video Evidence of SBSI’s Agitated Members
Mayor Timcang’s apprehensions stem from a video that has been circulating on social media. The video prominently features hundreds of SBSI members clad in uniforms, passionately demanding justice in connection with ongoing investigations into their group.
Emotions Run High Among SBSI Members
The video also captures an emotional moment with SBSI leader, Jay Rence Quilario, visibly upset as his followers express anger over what they perceive as harsh treatment of a man they refer to as “Senior Agila” and believe to be the next messiah.
SBSI Under Scrutiny for Alleged Abuses
SBSI, with over 3,000 members, has its headquarters in a remote, mountainous village. It has recently attracted significant public attention due to former members’ allegations of rape, forced marriage, forced labor, and various other human rights abuses by its leadership.
Senate Inquiry Looms Large
Mayor Timcang stressed the necessity to enhance security in Socorro as a Senate inquiry is set to commence on September 28. This development has further exacerbated the distress among SBSI members.
Senate Committees to Conduct Probe
The Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, as well as the Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, will conduct the Senate inquiry. These investigations are expected to illuminate the allegations and concerns surrounding SBSI.
Mayor’s Appeal for Order
Mayor Timcang made a heartfelt appeal to SBSI leaders, urging them to set an example by persuading their members to respect the rule of law during these trying times.
Mayor’s Call for Calm and Vigilance
She also called upon the town’s residents, particularly those not affiliated with SBSI, to remain composed and vigilant as the situation unfolds.