Minors in crime

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


POLICE rescued a 14-year-old boy in Barangay Madridejos, Alegria, Cebu after he was allegedly recruited to be an usher for an illegal numbers game.

Mike (not his real name) was driving a bike to deliver masiao tip sheets when a policeman caught him in Sitio Balhaan last Friday.

Seized from him were 36 tip sheets and a list of bet money that Mike still had to collect that day.

PO1 Mike Christin Saniel of Alegria Police Station’s Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) said they have been monitoring Mike after receiving information he was involved in the illegal activity.

Parents’ permissionv

Mike, a native of Bindoy, Negros Oriental, told police he was recruited three weeks ago and was promised a job in a farm. The sixth grader left home with his parents’ permission.

When he arrived in Barangay Malhiao, Badian, Cebu, Mike learned he would be working as a masiao general coordinator.

As an usher, his work consists of riding a passenger bus early in the morning from Barangay Malhiao to Barangay Matutinao in Badian.

From there, he would get on a bike to deliver tip sheets during the day from Badian to Alegria. At night, he would collect the bet money, or masiao proceeds.

“Ang ibayad pud sa iyaha kay magdepende sad sa iyang trabaho daw. Di pareha (He didn’t get a regular salary. It depended on the work he did),” Saniel said.

DSWD custody

The policewoman, when interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu, said gambling personalities might be using minors to avoid suspicion.

Police filed a complaint last Monday against the man who employed Mike for violating Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

Section 10 states that acts of neglect, abuse, cruelty or exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development.

The man, whose name is withheld until he is charged or arrested, is allegedly a general masiao coordinator and operates in the two municipalities.

Saniel said they also filed a complaint against Mike’s parents for violating Section 3 of RA 7610 for allowing their child in working in a hazardous condition.

The boy has been turned over to the custody of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Negros Oriental.

DSWD 7 spokesperson Leah Quintana, in a separate interview, said cases of minors being employed in illegal numbers games are seldom.

“Mostly, our rescued children were victims of human trafficking or sex abuse,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 14, 2014.

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