Nude boys aged 11 to 13 running around in San Mateo festival raises issues of child abuse
(SPOT.ph) Several boys aged 11 to 13 stripped down to their birthday suits to participate in a series of games at a Rizal fiesta that required the contestants to be naked, reports ABS-CBN News. The festival, held on June 13 at Barangay Guitnang Bayan 2, San Mateo, is now being questioned for child abuse.
Some of the festivities included racing through the streets stark-naked; filling soda bottles with pee in front of an audience; and a palosebo game, where the boys were tasked to climb a tall pole in only their underwear. Barangay officials facilitated the event while Barangay Captain Leo Buenviaje looked on. Photos were even uploaded on Facebook but were soon taken down when a concerned citizen made comments about child abuse.
However, the report said that residents of Guitnang Bayan 2 found nothing wrong with their festival. Ato, 12, who joined the contests, said "Okay lang din kasi natural lang naman sa piyesta iyan eh (It's okay since it's natural to do that during fiestas)." Benjamin Buenviaje, father of the incumbent barangay chair, as well as former barangay captain, also said, "Mga bata naman iyan kaya walang malisya sa amin (They're kids so there's no malice)."
According to the report, the festival has been going on for some time. Barangay staff member Edgar Becson revealed that he joined the festivities as a kid. However, San Mateo Mayor Jose Rafael Diaz was unaware of its occurence. "I had no idea that this thing could happen," he said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development San Mateo said that the baragangay officials responsible for holding the event are guilty of child abuse, and The Commission on Human Rights is also conducting an investigation. Meanwhile, Barangay Captain Buenviaje was issued preventive suspension by the San Mateo Police.
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