CEBU City police will be required to raise their visibility and enforce the city’s curfew ordinance in order to crack down on teenage gangs who are reportedly recruiting members by force and intimidation along Natalio Bacalso Avenue.
Councilor and deputy mayor for police concerns Dave Tumulak said he received reports that 15 teenage groups are prowling the area to recruit minors into their ranks.
While boys as young as eight years old were initiated into the group by being ordered to steal, girls were raped by gang members before being accepted into the gang. Some of the girls get pregnant, Tumulak said.
Tumulak said the police will coordinate with school principals within the areas where the gangs were spotted to identify the gang members.
Tumulak said they have identified the leaders of these gangs through the police.
The gangs reportedly operate in Barangays Mambaling, Basak San Nicolas, Punta Princesa, Buhisan, Quiot, Inayawan, Pardo, Bulacao and Tabunoc.
Some of the residents complained that the gangs numbering 30 to 40 each will visit their areas and maul minors they encounter in the streets especially those that refuse to join them.
Tumulak said these gang members are responsible for vandalizing walls and other public structures and destroying water machines installed on the streets.
Tumulak also called the attention of barangay officials to help in regulating piso-net internet shops that are used by the gang members to communicate with each other.
He said the barangay officials will implement intervention programs to determine why they form and join these gangs.
“They know their constituents, so they can come in for counseling, find out what’s wrong at home and why they are in this situation,” Tumulak said.
While the recruitment of minors in these gangs is recent, Tumulak said the number of those joining are growing by the day.
“What is alarming is there are so many minors involved in the crimes these gangs instigate,” he said.
Tumulak said there is no problem with children or adults forming groups as long as they are law-abiding.