Parents should watch their kids: Mike sees no need to impose curfew

08/18/2010 - CEBU, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said that there is no need of a curfew for minors in Cebu City.

This view is not, however, shared by at least two of his councilors, who believe that it is a means to prevent crime.

While Rama said that he is not sold to the idea despite an existing curfew ordinance in the city, Councilors Augustus Pe, Jr. and Margarita ‘Margot’ Osmeña, say that they are in favor of the proposal.

The talk on imposing a curfew on minors stemmed after neophyte Provincial Board Member Sun Shimura proposed such as a way to deter crimes that involve the youth.

Rama said that while he agrees that keeping the children at home can help prevent crimes, he would rather that the parents be made responsible of making sure that their kids are home during the wee hours of the night.

The city has an existing curfew ordinance, but the implementation was stopped after the enactment of Republic Act 9344, the law that “criminally exempt” the minors below 15 years old from being charged in court for any offenses.

The Juvenile and Justice Act that was enacted in 2006 also provides that youth offenders ages 15 to 18 can be criminally charged in court only if they committed the crime “with discernment.”

Rama said that the curfew ordinance curtails the rights of the minors.

This is not however the view of the Commission on Human Rights.

CHR-7 chief investigator Primo Cadampog, in an interview over radio station dyLA yesterday, said the implementation of curfew for the minors is not considered a violation of human rights.

Councilor Pe, who is the chairman of the City Council’s committee on peace and order, said he supports the suggestion to revive the implementation of the curfew for the minors, although he admitted that it is very difficult to do it.

“There is a very big problem with the implementation of the curfew ordinance especially during occasions like vigils and fiesta celebrations. There are also some areas in the city nga ang mga tawo wala nay katulganay like barangays Ermita ug Pasil,” Pe said.

Councilor Margot Osmeña had earlier asked the authorities to strictly enforce the laws that protect the children from any wrongdoings, including the policy that prevents children from entering bars.

Osmeña, chairperson of the Cebu City Commission for the Welfare of Children, said she was informed of an increasing number of minors going to bars. This is why she had suggested the strict implementation of curfew for minors.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said he supports the implementation of curfew, but will ask his legal officers to study the legality of implementing such.

Lawyer Francisco Amit, one of the consultants of Cortes who was with him when he attended the 888 News Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel yesterday, said that the curfew can still be enforced on the minors although the existing ordinances need to be amended.

Amit explained that since Republic Act 9344 had already exempted the minors from criminal liability, the penalty clause provision in the ordinances shall be removed. It should be clearly stated that minors will be just taken for custody if they violate the curfew ordinance, he said.

The procedure is that when a minor will be taken into custody by the authorities for committing a crime, the concerned law enforcer should quickly turn over the minor to the social worker for further action.

The social worker is tasked to coordinate with the parents of the concerned child-offender and to release the latter to the custody of their parents.

The records showed that Cebu is among the five cities of the country with the most number of juvenile cases.

Shimura said the statistics of the social welfare department that he obtained showed that the cases of children in conflict with the law in Cebu had gone up by 71 cases from January to June this year compared to the same period of last year.

Police Regional Office-7 new Director Ager Ontog said that whatever decision of the Local Government Units (LGU) come up the PRO-7 police will fully support the curfew ordinance in the entire province.

Though he didn’t specify if he agrees with the said ordinance but he said that the implementation of the curfew ordinance was very good and he only depends with the LGU’s decision.

Director Ontog also said that the law enforcement intensify check points operation and intelligence operation which they prioritize.

“This is after all a cooperative effort,” said Ontog.

The implementation of the curfew ordinance starts at 10 p.m until 5 a.m. in the morning for the entire province which will definitely help the youth into a law abiding and productive citizens and prevent them from perpetuating crimes.

The ordinance was approved the resolution authored by Provincial Board Member Sun Shimura through the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in coordination with the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CCPO) to strictly implement and enforce the curfew ordinance.

Yesterday, different mayors and vice mayors of different municipalities had a Provincial Development Meeting about 4 p.m together with the Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia who strongly support the strict implementation of the curfew in the entire province (Freeman)

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