MANILA- The Makati City government has imposed new curfew hours covering minors and those of legal age but are not able to fully take care of themselves.
Makati Mayor Abigail Binay has signed the city's Child Protection Ordinance, which prescribes a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily.
The ordinance declares it illegal for a parent or guardian to permit a child to remain in any public place within the city during curfew hours.
Public places include streets, highways, roads, sidewalks, parking lots, vacant lots, parks, alleys, playgrounds, curbs, gutters, driveways, walkways, and public buildings. Common areas in and around churches, apartment buildings, office buildings, hospitals, schools and shops are also prohibited.
During curfew hours, minors are also not allowed to stay in places of entertainment such as computer shops, internet cafés, movie theaters, places of amusement and eating places, whether inside or outside a motor vehicle, or other unsupervised places.
Exempt from penalties of the ordinance are children accompanied by a parent, guardian, or an adult person who has custody over the child, provided that the child is not being used for any crime or illegal activity.
Minors are also exempt when doing emergency errands for the family or going home from work, school or a religious-related activity. A certificate of attendance of the said activity, however, is required as proof.
Parents or guardians of first-time curfew violators may face the suspension of benefits provided by the city government should they fail to comply with the requirement to attend a parenting seminar.
For second-time violators, parents or guardians shall be fined P2,000 or face imprisonment of not more than 5 days. They may also face both penalties at the discretion of the court.
Parents or guardians of children rescued twice or more, after assessment by a professional social worker of the Makati Social Welfare Department, shall be presumed as committing acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation.
Authorities may then file the corresponding complaint with the Office of the City Prosecutor.
In a statement Tuesday, Binay said the ordinance takes effect immediately, and urged the city's village chiefs to ensure its strict enforcement.
"I enjoin all barangay chiefs of Makati and their councils to be at the frontlines in the enforcement of the Child Protection Ordinance of Makati," she said.
HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES BILL ON CURFEW FOR CHILDREN
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Welfare of Children approved on Monday a bill similar to the Makati city ordinance. The bill is now up for plenary debates.
The unnumbered bill titled “Safe Hours for Children Act” prohibits parents or guardians from letting children stay or sleep in any public place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. without lawful purpose or justifiable reason.
If enacted into law, the bill would penalize parents or guardians of children found violating for the third time with a fine of P500 to P1,000, community service for 5 to 10 days, or both.
Similar to the Makati City ordinance, the bill grants curfew exemption for children accompanied by either a parent or guardian, attending an official school, religious, recreational, educational, social, community, or other organized activity sponsored by the government, school, or a civic organization during curfew hours.
Also exempt are children travelling or commuting between school and home; those engaged in an authorized employment activity or going to or returning home from the same without any detour or stop; involved in an emergency; or dismissed from their classes late in the evening.
The bill requires barangay officials to refer to local social welfare and development offices children found in public places not later than 8 hours from the time they are found. Parents or guardians of those found should also be notified.
Under the bill, law enforcers are prohibited from using profanity, or to display or use any firearm, weapon, and handcuffs on children found violating the curfew unless absolutely necessary.
Authorities found violating the said requirement shall face imprisonment ranging from 1 to 6 months and be held administratively liable.
--with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News