STRICTLY enforce the curfew ordinance or risk losing your P4,000 monthly allowance from the Cebu City Government.
This is the directive of Mayor Tomas Osmeña to all barangay tanods in the city following reports of a gang recruiting elementary school students in Basak Pardo.
“In places where there are children going around violating the ordinance and we see that the tanods are not effective, we will suspend their allowances. Why spend money if they are not effective?” he told reporters.
The mayor said that the City Government could just hire more barangay intelligence network personnel as an alternative.
City Ordinance 1786, or the curfew ordinance, prohibits minors from loitering outside their residences from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the following day.
For the first offense, parents will have to pick up their children at the barangay hall, where they will sign an agreement that they won’t allow their children to wander at night.
Second offenders will have to attend a seminar, while third offenders will have to do mandatory community service.
A step forward
For the fourth offense, the City Government will charge parents or guardians with violating Republic Act 7610, or the Anti-Child Abuse Law.
Osmeña said he will also ask Councilor Dave Tumulak to draft a legislation requiring consumers to secure a special permit from the City Office on Substance Abuse Prevention before buying aerosol spray paint.
“They have to get a special permit and prove that it’s part of their regular livelihood because this is a device to promote gang activity to show their presence everywhere,” he added.
Tumulak shared the sentiment of the mayor, saying the strong enforcement of the ordinance is a step towards keeping kids away from lawless elements.
Tumulak, deputy mayor for police matters, said that although the problem is not yet alarming, it still should be given immediate attention by parents and the barangay.
“Most of the kids involved are students in Grade 4 to 6. They just want company, that’s their only reason for joining these fraternities. But they are at a risk of tetanus or infection because of the cigarette burn,” he said.
As part of their initiation rites, recruits age 10 to 13 were reportedly hit with a paddle and marked with cigarette burns on their wrists.
Sought for comment, Association of Barangay Councils president Philip Zafra said resolving the issue needs a collaborative effort between the barangay and all community stakeholders.
“Some of the problems may have sprung from domestic problems. Rest assured that we will include this in our dialogue with stakeholders. We might be joining the parent-teacher meetings together with the police,” he said.
Meanwhile, Osmeña supports the revival of Oplan Tokhang. However, he said “tougher” measures that make drug peddlers afraid is a much more effective approach.
“That’s why after they were shot, drugs went down and that’s the truth. That’s fine with me. I don’t have much faith in it (new Oplan Tokhang guidelines), but it’s better than nothing. At least their presence is there,” he said.