YES, everybody’s excited about implementing laws like curfew for minors and smoking bans, and adding some more like liquor ban.

Smoking and liquor bans are okay, you simply tell people to stop and go home, anyway, if you are implementing existing laws, then children shouldn’t be drinking anyway. This is and should be an exclusively adult concern.

The curfew for minors, however, is another thing. It involves minors and law enforcers… Davao City did not become the city that it is now just like that. It went through heaves and hurls, and its people suffered some, including minors.

Remember, who would most likely be caught violating curfew for minors if not the unattended minors? And who are the unattended minors? Most likely those in gangs, defiant of laws and lawmakers, and not above putting on a brave act.

Who are the ones roaming around catching minors at night? Policemen and tanods and paramilitary men. Most of them, men. There’s testosterone and authority, and you have defiant, trying hard to be tough girls, who dress up like their peers, whom many men perceive as rape-bait. And yes, many girls were raped.

Go ask the non-government organizations who were working with these girls.

It took major actions, programs, and a long series of learnings on the side of the law enforcers, the legislators and local officials, the urban poor settlers, and the girls themselves, before finally the girls became relatively in good hands.

Relative because there will always be the scalawag who will always find a reason to lasciviously touch a girl under his control. These lessons have already been learned, there is no need for more girls to suffer for another to learn the lesson.

The lesson? Prepare the law enforcers, dispel thoughts of supreme authority and imbibe in them their role as protectors, make sure they have the do’s and don’ts of handling children, make them swear to protect the interest of every child, especially the more vulnerable girl-child, and then let them enforce the law.