Parents of minors violating curfew to face raps: QCPD

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2018 04:48 PM

MANILA - The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) warned Wednesday that it would file complaints against parents of minors caught repeatedly violating the curfew and other local ordinances. 

Police have rounded up 679 minors for violating the 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew over the past 2 weeks, said QCPD director Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel. 

Minors taken into custody undergo a booking process at the Department of Social Welfare and Development before police escort them back to their homes, he said. 

"Kapag gabi-gabi na namin ginagawa 'yan, sa pangatlong gabi, kayo na idedemanda naming mga magulang,” he said. 

(When we are already doing that every night, on the third offense, we will sue the parents.) 


CROWDED CELLS

Arrests under the government's anti-narcotics campaign and stricter implementation of local laws have increased the congestion rate at QCPD's detention cells by 300 percent, Esquivel admitted. 

"Some call it subhuman but that's the only facility that we have," he said.

Youth advocate group Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns said bringing children to police stations might pave the way for trauma and abuse. 

“May mga cases tayo natatanggap na mga bata nire-rescue, nasu-subject sa violation, sa pagmamalupit, pang-aabuso, perpetrated by authorities who are supposedly duty-bound to protect rights of children," said the group's general secretary, Eule Rico Bonganay.

(We have received reports of cases of children who were rescued but were instead subjected to violations, violence, abuse perpetrated by authorities who are supposedly duty-bound to protect rights of children.) 

Lawyer Michael Henry Yusingco, research fellow at the Ateneo School of Government, agreed that minors may experience stigma if their trips to police stations go awry.

“We have to be careful how we categorize our youth as tambays, loiterers, or petty criminals. This could be a stigma for them and diminish their chances of having a meaningful life,” he said.

“Ideally, they should be brought into special facilities dedicated for minors, problem is wala tayong ganoon (we don't have that). The police work with what they have,” he added. 


CHILDREN TREATED AS VICTIMS

The QCPD, for its part, said trained personnel from its Women's and Children's Desk practice extreme caution in bringing children to police stations. 

“They are not being jailed, they are not being handcuffed because we treat them as victims,” Esquivel said.

He also urged the public to refrain from giving alms to children on the streets as this might encourage them to stay out of their homes. 

Yusingco, meanwhile, encouraged local government units to create child-friendly facilities where apprehended minors may be brought instead of the police precinct. 

President Rodrigo Duterte on June 13 ordered law enforcers to be strict against late night loiterers. 

Between then and June 26, a total of 3,057 were arrested in Quezon City for violating local laws, police records showed. 

Out of the total, 448 were arrested for drinking in public areas, 686 violated the smoking ban, 479 were caught half-naked, 679 were minors who disobeyed the curfew, and 795 violated other local ordinances.
 
Police warned and immediately released 1,835 of those arrested while 35 were fined and 1,187 were charged.

Esquivel said the government has not mounted an "anti-tambay" campaign but is merely enforcing local laws against “discipline crimes.”

-- Report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News