AUTHORITIES rounded up at least 14 minors last week around the vicinity of the Integrated Bus Terminal at Lambago, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City, for violation of the city’s curfew ordinance.
Personnel from Police Station 3 (PS3) in Agora, Lapasan "rescued" the minors aged 11-15 from the streets and internet shops during wee hours.
Police said the minors violated the city's Discipline Hour Ordinance, which imposes a curfew for unaccompanied children from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two of the minors were immediately turned over to their parents who were just right in the area.
Police Officer 3 (PO3) Cherry Reyes of the Women and Children Protection Desk (CWPD) of PS3 said other minors rescued were said to be running errands.
"So gidala sila diri sa among office ug amo silang gi booking ug among gikuha ilang mga data. Dili ni sila mga bata nga naa jud sa dalan nga ga lakaw-lakaw, kani sila naa ni sila sa mga computeran, ang uban gisugo (We brought them here for booking and we also get personal data. They are not children who are roaming on the streets. They were either staying inside the internet cafes or running errands)," Reyes said.
Reyes said these minors lived in different areas in the city and in Misamis Oriental but had been living around the bus terminal to sell plastic bags.
Police said others were helping their parents sell street food on the sidewalk.
Reyes said they are coordinating with the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) for the custody of the children.
"We are very thankful that the BCPC of Barangay Lapasan is very active in ensuring the overall welfare of children," Reyes said.
Aside from the rescue operations, the police station has been conducting interventions such as giving counseling and awareness for children and parents on the Parental Responsibility Code, the newly implemented city ordinance which was effective last November.
Police warned the parents that they will be held liable if their children are found to be a 4-time offender.
“There are reasons nganong ang bata dili makapuyo sa ilang balay like walay love sa ilang balay, walay panahon ang ginikanan sulod sa balay. Ang mga ginikanan dapat bantayan jud nila ilang mga anak kay ila jud ng responsibilidad (There are reasons why children do not like to stay at their homes. They might feel unloved and unwanted. Parents should look after their children because it’s their responsibility)," Reyes added. (Mary Ross Antoniette Odchigue and Cyrill Garcia, USTP interns)