"I will not work for a system incapable of providing a solution to such critical situations as the welfare of our children," he said.
Two weeks ago, Panama's Parliament issued a report which reveals that children living in 14 public shelters were victims of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse. This report contains cases dating back to 2015.
"The abuses were committed by the same people in charge of the shelters. There were even girls who aborted after being raped by religious authorities," said Zulay Rodriguez, the president of Parliament's Commission for Women, Children, Youth, and Family.
In Panama, sex abuse and rape is happening “offline” in the public foster care system and no international media or journalists seem to care enough to cover. 4 years, at least 12 state-run homes. Sickening ��https://t.co/toXyMK05XI
The Prosecutor's Office stated that although there are eight investigations underway due to the report, all 54 public shelters will be investigated.
The case has shocked the country and occasioned constant protests demanding justice. Citizens accuse authorities of inaction since no one has been arrested or dismissed so far.
In Panama, children's shelters are currently managed by non-governmental organizations and private foundations. However, most of them receive public funds and must be supervised by the National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents, and Family (SENNIAF).