CICLs complain of maltreatment

PHYSICALLY ABUSED? This was the claim of two of the 11 children in conflict with the law (CICL) who escaped from the Cebu City Government’s facility for minor offenders in Barangay Kalunasan on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Since then, six have surrendered to authorities. (SunStar Photo/Benjie Talisic)

THREE more teens who escaped from the Operation Second Chance in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City over the weekend turned themselves in on Monday afternoon, Oct. 7, 2019.

Only five children in conflict with the law (CICL) who escaped from the facility on Friday night, Oct. 4, remained at large as of Monday night.

Marlon and Jerome (not their real names) claimed that they and their fellow CICLs decided to make a daring escape after they were allegedly abused by their house parents and police officers who work as security detail there.

Marlon, 17, told Superbalita Cebu that they hatched an escape plan after their house parents physically abused them whenever one of them made a mistake.

“They used to treat us like their children. Now, we are more like prisoners to them,” Marlon said in Cebuano.

Police officers who were assigned to secure them also allegedly hurt them physically.

He claimed that the house parents and police officers took turns using an arnis stick or a wet blanket tied into a knot and beat their legs as a way to discipline them.

Jerome, for his part, said he had no plans of escaping the Operation Second Chance. But changed his mind out of fear that he would be punished for a mistake he didn’t commit.

“Even if one person commits the mistake, all of us suffer his or her punishment,” Jerome added.

Both teenagers were hiding in their parents’ house since Saturday night but decided to turn themselves in for fear that their relatives would be harassed by authorities.

Marlon said his mother convinced him to surrender.

Now that they are back at the facility for minor offenders, Marlon and Jerome are hoping that their house parents would treat them better.

In an interview, Cebu City Police Office Director Gemma Vinluan said she will assign two more police officers to the facility as precautionary measure following the escape.

After personally talking to the CICLs, Vinluan said she also plans to provide them with chessboards to boost their morale.

Vinluan is also negotiating with a fast food chain to provide the CICLs with food and drinks as a way to alleviate their stress while detained in the facility. (from BBT & AYB of Superbalita Cebu/JKV)


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