Keep kids away from gang leader, parents told

By: Jessa Mae O. Sotto January 29,2018 - 10:12 PM

PARENTS were reminded to strictly monitor their children’s activities outside school lest they be lured into joining gangs without their knowledge.

“Ang ginikanan kay minor man na after dismissal time ila gyod ng check on ilang mga bata (These kids are considered as minors, the parents should check their children’s whereabouts after dismissal time),” said Dr. Erlinda Melgo, chairperson of the Child Protection Committee of the regional Department of Education (DepEd-7).

Melgo said she and her team will visit the five students of Basak Elementary School in Barangay Basak, Cebu City who were recruited by a 17-year-old to join a gang.

She said the school has a security guard and she is waiting on the school’s principal to furnish her office with a report on the case.

“What we know is that the 17-year-old is an out-of-school youth,” Melgo said.

The teen recruiter supposedly befriended the children and invited them to join the gang.

The children were then subjected to torture such as cigarette burns on their wrists and paddling by the youth who warned them not to tell anyone about it.

In the meantime, Melgo said she advised the parents of the victims — one girl and four boys aged nine to 13 years old — to ensure their safety.

She also asked the police and barangay tanods to monitor the school.

“We taught them values but we don’t have control of the students outside the school ,” Melgo said.

The DepEd issued guidelines and procedures in the management of Children-at-Risk (CAR) and Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) to schools in order to better handle incidents like gang-related violence, Melgo said.

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