‘Real threat, danger’ from Surigao Norte town cult accused of abuses

Mayor Riza Rafonselle Timcang of Socorro town in Surigao del Norte is seeing ‘real threat and imminent danger’ from the Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc. (SBSI), a group accused of child abuse and cult-live activities, following Saturday’s raucous rally.

On Monday, Timcang issued a statement to ask the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to augment their forces to secure the town.

‘Based on the events that transpired on Sept. 24 in front of the 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,’ she said.

Timcang is referring to a video circulating on social media showing hundreds of SBSI members in uniforms, boisterously shouting for justice in relation to pending investigations on the group.

The video also showed SBSI leader, Jay Rence Quilario, crying as his members angrily complained about the alleged harsh treatment against the man they also call ‘Senior Agila’ and whom they believe is the next messiah.

The SBSI, with over 3,000 members, is based in a mountainous village. It has recently attracted public attention after former members accused its leadership of rape, forced marriage, forced labor and other human rights abuses.

Timcang said additional security must be in place in the town as the Senate inquiry starts on Sept. 28, another cause of the members’ distress.

The Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and the Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality will conduct the probe.

‘I call on the leaders of SBSI to persuade your members to respect, by example, the rule of law,’ Timcang said.

She also urged the residents of the town, especially those living outside the SBSI, to remain calm and vigilant

Source: Philippines News Agency