Vidal tells youth to avoid gangs

03/29/2010 - AS crimes perpetrated by minors continue to rise, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked the youth to remain faithful to the calling of God and to sway themselves from gang-related violence.

During last Saturday night’s celebration of the 25th Local World Youth Day, Vidal, in his message, said he is saddened that crimes perpetrated by minors continue to increase.

“As you have heard in the radio and TV, violence involving young people continues to come in. Gang-related violence remains on the rise and crimes involving minors have become common. As your archbishop, I can’t help but share the pain of the victims, as well as the perpetrators of the crimes. I can’t help but wonder what went wrong with these young people,” said Vidal.

Vidal believes peer pressure is pushing the young people to commit violence.

“Duna gyuy nagtukmod, duna gyuy nag-galgal sa pagpabuhat aning mga kabatan-onan sa paghimo og dautan. Ug kini kay tungod kay ang usa ka batan-on naay mga insecurities, ang usa ka batan-on na’ay kahadlok nga mag-inusara (The youth are clearly giving in to peer pressure in committing these acts of violence. The youth have insecurities, the fear of being alone,” said Vidal.

Meanwhile, Msgr. Arturo Navales of the Archdiocesan Commission on the Youth agreed with Vidal’s earlier statement that there is a need for the Juvenile Justice Act to be reviewed, as it is abused by some minor offenders.

Based in an earlier report, crimes committed by minors are rising, as confirmed by records of government prosecutors and regular briefings of the police.

In the first quarter of 2009, there were no cases involving minors in Cebu. But in the beginning of the last quarter of 2009, there were at least 22.

Most of the cases came from records of the Office of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor but it is not because there are more incidents in the province.

In Cebu City, the rising number of gang-related incidents has already prompted Cebu City Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador to reactivate the Anti-Street Hoodlums Team to run after gang members engaged in crimes.

But Vidal advised the youth to be true to themselves.

“Be yourself and those like you will like you for who you are,” the prelate told World Youth Day participants.

However, Vidal is also thankful that there are some youth who remain committed to serving the community, others and God.

“Bulahan kamo, nga bisag kamo naa’y suliran nga kamo ra’y nasayod, nagpabilin kamo nga naa’y paglaum (Blessed are you since even if you have problems hounding you, you continue to have hope),” added Vidal (Sunstar)

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