CEBU CITY – Worried about minors being used in criminal activities while some fall prey to criminals, Provincial Board Member Sun Shimura wants all local governments in the province and the police to enforce curfews.
Shimura has drafted a resolution urging all towns and cities in Cebu, through the Association of Barangay Councils, to keep minors indoors during specified hours.
Local governments with no curfews yet should adopt one.
In his proposed resolution, Shimura said enforcing a curfew would curb the instances where minors become victims of adult-instigated crimes.
He pointed out in a phone interview that minors nowadays are being used to commit crimes because they are protected from penalties by a law on juvenile justice.
Cebu ranks among the top five areas with the most number of juvenile crime cases in the country, second only to Metro Manila, said Shimura, a former mayor of Daanbantayan town.
He cited a report from the social welfare department that cases of “children in conflict with the law” in Cebu went up by 71 cases in the first half of this year, compared to the same months last year.
Minors are mostly involved in robberies, drug trafficking and petty crimes, he added.
While he favors the implementation of curfew ordinances, Cebu Provincial Police Chief Erson Digal said some local government units are not serious about it.
He did not name which areas he was referring to, but said that in the past, many minors were brought in for violating the curfew, but the parents were not penalized.
In other cases, someone always interceded for them and took pity on the parents, who are busy and cannot always keep track of their children.
Another problem he cited was the granting of permits to hold dances in the towns, which always stretch past the minors’ curfews. He said they could not bring in all the minors who attend these dances because they make up majority of the crowd.
Aside from attending these dances, minors also troop to these activities to sell their wares and earn a living.
Digal said there was no problem on the police force’s part because they are in favor of implementing a curfew on minors, to keep them away from trouble.
The problem, he said, is the lack of commitment of local governments to implement their existing ordinances.
Student Richman Baquiran, 17, said he agrees with enforcing a curfew at 10 p.m. because its main concern is the safety of minors.
But Keena Avellanosa, also 17, said she doesn’t think having a curfew for minors will stop crime or prostitution, and it would be “completely unfair” on teenagers who aren’t doing anything bad.
Government should strengthen security to stop these crimes instead of just adopting curfews, she added.
In his resolution, Shimura said: “It is the declared policy of the state, among others, to provide special protection to children from neglect and other conditions prejudicial to their development and to protect the same from violence and threats to their wellbeing and safety.”
He added a curfew ordinance will be “in accord with the state policies governing the promotion and protection of the rights and interest of minors.”
He asked the Department of Interior and Local Government to orient city, town and barangay officials on the proper procedure in implementing a curfew ordinance, in relation to Republic Acts 7610, 9262 and 9344.
RA 7610 provides special protection against child abuse; 9262 defines and penalizes violence against women and children; and 9344 is the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006. (RRF/MEA/Sun.Star Cebu)