THE City Social Welfare and Development office (CSWD) and the Cagayan de Oro City Police Station 5 in Agora rescued 13 teenagers who were involved in online gaming operations with foreigners in an Internet shop along Osmeña street extension on Friday, January 6.

Authorities learned that the minors have been negotiating online with foreign players to play the game Defense of the Ancients (DotA) in exchange for money.

The teenagers were identified to be boys and girls with ages raging from 14 to 17 years old and students of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) and City Central School. These minors come from various barangays in the city, namely: Patag, Macanhan, Kauswagan, Carmen, and Xavier Heights.

Authorities also discovered that most of them were living together in the residence of barangay councilor Dominador Razon whose grandchild is one of the involved minors. One of the boys said he has been living in the house for almost a year now without going home because of the online gaming.

"The mother of one of the teenagers in the group reported that her daughter has not gone home from December 22 to 30. That is why the authorities decided to dig in to the matter and discovered this business by the teenagers," Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr., Officer-in-Charge of CSWD, said.

Sabuga-a said four of the teenagers are already with their parents while the nine teens were turned over to Mother Theresa Foundation Inc., for counseling. The CSWD is now working to locate and inform the parents of the other children.

"This is actually a serious matter now that we have discovered this presently in the city. Indeed it is not only drugs that is addicting but also online gaming. This is why we call on the City Council to strengthen programs and ordinances related to internet shops and online gaming in the city. Most importantly, we are tapping all parents to be more responsible in monitoring their children especially controlling their access to online games such as this," Sabuga-a added.