AN OFFICIAL of the Cagayan de Oro City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWD) said they are set to hold a dialogue with owners of internet shops this week to clarify regulations regarding minors' use of internet and online gaming.
CSWD officer-in-charge Teddy Sabuga-a said minors should not be allowed to entry to internet shops during school hours.
"This is a serious matter kay dili lang ang addiction atong gi-istoryahan atong gihisgutan diri but also the future of the child," he said.
Sabuga-a made the statements in the wake of the Agora Police Station and the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) rescue last Friday of 13 teenagers who were involved in online gaming operations where they negotiated with foreigners for money.
The minors, who were picked up at an internet shop in Osmena street, are now with their parents while some nine others were turned over to Mother Theresa Foundation Inc., for counseling.
Sabuga-a said the minors reportedly earn as much as P20,000 from the Defense of the Ancient (Dota) online games.
"Naa naman tay balaod on child's protection we just have to strengthen it. Gusto namo istoryahon ang mga owners nganu man nga iallow man nila pagpadula ang mga minors, ug gusto namo sila pasabton gayud nga addiction is serious and they should be responsible enough kay kung dili ni siya magamit ug tarong, daghay maguba nga mga bata diha," Sabuga-a said.
City Councilor Reuben Daba said the Committee on Social Services will pass an ordinance that would protect and promote children's welfare.
Daba also vowed to look into the regulations of internet shops in the city.
Daba, who chairs the City Council committee on social services called the incident "very alarming."
"Ingani na diay ka worse ang online gaming nga dili na muoli ang bata sa balay nila ug pila ka adlaw ug bulan, lahi pud siya nga addiction ug ang naka-alarm is mga minors ang involved," he said.
"Magpasa kita ug ordinansa nga magpromoto sa children's welfare and at the same time, we will also look into the existing regulation of internet shops in the city," Daba added.
Daba vowed to act on the problem before big telecommunication companies enter the country and offer faster internet connections, making internet users, particularly minors, vulnerable to internet addiction.
"Musulod na ang mga new telcos, with fast internet connection, mas dapat iregulate kay anaa ang danger uban ana. Pero we also remind the public nga dili makaya kung kita ang galihok, ang naay pinakaimportante nga role ani is our parents kay sila gayud ang dapat mag-train sa ilang mga bata, which is apil na sa atong gahimuon nga ordinance na pwede ma-sanction ang parents for being irresponsible," he added.
Authorities learned that the involved teens were boys and girls with ages ranging from 14 to 17 years old, and are reportedly students of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) and City Central School.
Most of the minors have been living together in Barangay Lapasan, according to village councilor Dominador Razon whose grandchild is one of the involved minors.
One of the boys are said to have been living in the house for almost a year now.