21 minors rescued, 3 suspects arrested in CCPO “rugby tokhang” operation
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Authorities have arrested three sellers and rescued 21 street children since the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) initiated its simultaneous operation on August 1, 2019 to crack down on the illegal sale of the solvent, commonly known as rugby, to minors.
Four days after Police Colonel Gemma Vinluan, CCPO director, announced the intent to initiate an intensive operation, police have been coordinating closely with the concerned government agencies and have turned over the 21 street children to the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The children were caught sniffing rugby, an inhalant which is known to suppress hunger and depression.
Dorico Cahulogan, 21, was caught last Friday, August 1, in Barangay Ermita for selling rugby to minors.
On Sunday, August 4, police arrested 26-year-old Sandro Mejia of Sitio Bato in Barangay Ermita, and Michael Salazar, 25, from Barangay Sawang Calero.
The two were identified by concerned citizens in their respective communities as rugby sellers.
Vinluan said the suspects are currently detained at the Carbon Police Station and Sawang Police Station.
They are facing charges under Presidential Decree 1619 or the unauthorized sale of volatile substances to minors.
Vinluan said she is more determined to capture rugby sellers as they pose a big threat to the health of the children.
“Hindi kayo puro pansariling interes, gusto mo lang. Papaano yung mga kabataan na nasisira ang kalusogan?” said Vinluan.
(You should not only be after your own interest. How about the children whose health are affected?)
Vinluan said the intensive “rugby tokhang” operation is in line with Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella’s move to curb the number of street children using the addictive solvent.
Vinluan said authorities are now roving the areas known to be the hotspots of children who are using rugby.
She said the policemen wear civilian clothes during these operations. / celr
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