Stray bullet from anti-drug operation kills 4-year-old boy

Photo from Bladen Skyler Abatayo Facebook page.

Another innocent child has died because of the ongoing war on drugs.

Yesterday, four-year-old Skyler Abatayo died after he was hit by a stray bullet from an anti-drug operation in Sitio Bato, Barangay Ermita, Cebu City.

Police confirmed his death in an interview with The Philippine Daily Inquirer. The same report says that police went to the scene after being informed that people were having a drug session in the area.

According to a report by Rappler, two officers were about to search the place when they were met by four suspects who allegedly opened fire at them, leading to a shootout.

As the officers were about to leave the scene, they were told that a child had been hit in the crossfire. Skyler was rushed to the Cebu City Medical Center but was declared dead on arrival.

In an interview with radio station DZMM, the Cebu City Police Station said that the bullet that killed the boy allegedly came from one of the drug suspects and not the police. However, this has not been proven as investigations on the incident are still ongoing.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said that Cebu City Police Office Director Royina Garma will lead the investigation on the incident. The mayor also said that he will cover expenses for Skyler’s wake and burial.

“I have assured the family that all expenses related to the wake and burial will be taken cared of. We can even look for funding for family members who want to visit from out of town. It is the least we can do,” Osmeña said.

Authorities were not able to arrest the drug suspects but recovered illegal drugs and paraphernalia in the scene.

Data released by the Philippine National Police in May showed that more than 4,000 suspected drug offenders have died in police operations since 2016. However, Human Rights Watch reported in January that the number is closer to 12,000.

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