NEARLY 700 persons in Metro Cebu and parts of Cebu Province were told to go home, invited to police stations or penalized, as the police followed the President’s order to crack down against loitering.
Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena said he told the police to respect the rights of persons, stay polite and refrain from using excessive force as they enforce the campaign.
Six years ago, when Congress revised Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code, it removed “loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places” as one of five offenses that may be considered vagrancy. Last week, however, President Rodrigo Duterte told the police to tell loiterers to go home because they are “potential trouble for the public.”
Since then, units under CPPO have either apprehended or invited to police stations some 404 individuals in the past few nights.
Records show that 113 persons were drinking in public places; 67 were smoking; 47 were walking without shirts on; 145 minors were rescued for violating curfew ordinances; and 38 minors and adults were apprehended for troublemaking.
No one was detained, Abrugena said. Both minors and adults were advised to stay home in the evening. Social workers and Women and Children’s Protection Desk personnel counseled minors, including their parents.
“We are doing this to minimize or decrease the possibility that these persons will commit a crime,” Abrugena said.
For their part, officers in the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) asked the public to cooperate as they conduct the Oplan Tambay.
PO2 Christian Putalan of the police-community relations unit of the Waterfront Police Station said that during their roving operations, they are often greeted courteously by tambays in Barangay Tejero and the pier area.
Now that President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde have warned people against loitering on the streets, Putalan said he hoped that the tambays would cooperate.
“We hope that they would heed our call,” he said.
From Thursday night to Friday, CCPO officers warned and sent home 45 violators, whether minors or of legal age, for being shirtless in public, drinking in public places, causing trouble while drunk, and in the case of minors, violating curfew.
From June 13 to 22, 130 persons received stern warnings from the Cebu City police.
The CCPO’s Oplan Tambay (Tangtangon Ang Maabusado, Badlongon sa Katilingban ug Apil niini ang mga Yawan-ong buhat) aims to keep loiterers off the streets. Police are under orders to enforce national laws or local ordinances that ban smoking in public places and punish drunkenness in public, illegal dispatching, curfew violations, violations of anti-noise rules, and vandalism.
In Mandaue City, police have reprimanded 143 persons for loitering at night, as they enforced Oplan Tambay Sita since last Tuesday, June 19.
The Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) also rescued 40 minors and arrested 17 others for violating different ordinances. Their violations included drunkenness in public, dispatching, and unjust vexation.
“This time, our government is serious in implementing city ordinances. The reason for this is that we want to reduce the crime rate. It is crime prevention and a deterrent to petty crimes,” said Senior Supt. Roberto Alanas, MCPO chief.
“We are expecting cooperation from the barangays,” the police chief said. He also urged the public to visit the nearest police station to find out what the ordinances in their city or town prohibit and what the authorized penalties are. (KAL, JOB, JPP of Superbalita)