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‘Rescue’ operation on for 11 minors who escaped from Operation Second Chance

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio October 05,2019 - 02:04 PM

The entrance to the dormitories of the Operation Second Chance in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City, the home of 84 children in conflict with the law. | Delta Dyrecka Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Eleven children in conflict with the law (CICL), all of whom involved in illegal drugs-related cases, escaped from the Operation Second Chance facility in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City following a mad dash to freedom among minors housed in the Cebu City-owned facility on Friday afternoon, October 4, 2019.

The rescue operations continued as of 1 p.m. of Saturday, October 5, 2019, as the Cebu City government and the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) have sent personnel to search for the escaped children.

Councilor David Tumulak, a member of the city council’s committee on public safety, told CDN Digital that at around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, a house parent bringing food into one of the dormitories was dragged out by a mob of at least 30 CICLs attempting to escape through the door.

The other house parents, seeing the commotion, tried to close the second door of the dormitory but the children managed to push the door open as they dashed out of the facility.

Of the number of children running out of the the door, 20 managed to escape the facility’s gate and into the streets. At least 10 of the children chose to remain in the facility, said Tumulak.

The house parents and social workers, along with the guards, attempted to run after the escaped children and found nine of them walking in one group along the gates of the adjoining Cebu City Jail. Tumulak said they were safely returned to Second Chance.

The eleven escaped children are aged 15 to 17 years old and all with cases involving illegal drugs. The CCPO has been tapped by the city government to visit the homes of these children and urge the parents to bring their kids back to the facility.

“Ato giawhag ang ginikanan aning mga bat-ana nga ibalik lang sa Operation Second Chance ilang mga anak. Kay ko dili man gud, mapatong ni sa ilang mga giatubang nga kaso,” said Tumulak in a phone interview on Saturday, October 5.

(We are asking the parents of these children to bring them back to Operation Second Chance. If they fail to do so, this escape will be added to the cases the children are currently facing in court.)

The councilor could not say how the children planned the escape, but said it might have been coordinated. The house parents and social workers are currently investigating the incident.

Tumulak said the lack of security personnel or guards is one of the reason why some of the children can escape the facility. With this, he asked Mayor Edgardo Labella to add ten more security personnel to the facility. This will raise the number of guards to at least 15 guards on duty.

Read: DSWS: Operation Second Chance needs more social workers, psychologists

Labella approved the request on Friday afternoon, mere hours before the escape of the CICLs, said Tumulak.

“Mo duty na unta tong mga bag-ong guards ig Monday. Wa gyud kaabot. (The new guards would take their first shifts on Monday. Their appointments were not able to reach us in time for the incident),” said Tumulak.

Labella, told reporters in a press conference on on Saturday morning that he has ordered an investigation into how the children were able to escape from the facility easily.

He said the city will find out if the facility and the management can be held liable for the escape.

However, he said the city’s top priority is to find the children and bring them back safely to Operation Second Chance. /elb


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TAGS: Children in Conflict with the Law, Operation Second Chance

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