Caraga regional police secures compound of Socorro ‘cult’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 3) — The Caraga regional police on Tuesday said it has secured a compound occupied by Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc. (SBSI) members in Surigao del Norte amid allegations of abuse by the group.

Yung peace and order sa area ay ating mine-maintain,” Caraga Regional Director PBGen Kirby John Kraft told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

[Translation: We are maintaining peace and order in the area.]

Kraft said personnel from the Socorro police station and the Provincial Mobile Force Battalion have set up a monitoring station and an assistance desk to maintain peace and order in the area.

He said they are making sure that residents are free to enter and leave the compound.

The police made their presence felt in Sitio Kapihan as lawmakers investigate the alleged abuses being committed by SBSI, including sexual harassment, forced labor, trafficking, and child marriage.

After conducting a hearing last week, Sen. Bato dela Rosa told CNN Philippines he was convinced the Socorro group operates as a cult, and its real leaders were hiding behind Jey Rence Quilario, also known as Senior Aguila.

Kraft said the help desk has not received any complaints or requests from residents so far.

To further ensure security, he said the local police conduct mobile patrols inside SBSI’s 353-hectare compound.