Ibones: No maltreatment of CICLs in Operation Second Chance
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The management of Operation Second Chance denied the allegations that residents are being maltreated inside the Cebu City-owned youth correctional facility, housing at least 90 children in conflict with the law (CICL).
Ambrocio Ibones, the director of the Operation Second Chance, said the facility has to implement strict security measures to ensure both the safety of the residents, social workers, and house parents.
The director said these strict measures such as the confiscation of contraband and enforcement of the rule against smoking residents may be hard to deal for the minors who are being rehabilitated from their previous life of crime.
However, Ibones assured the public that the minors are being dealt in accordance to the standards set by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Ambot lang sad asa na gikan nga estoryaa (maltreatment). Makita man ninyo ang mga bata nga okay ra sila. Wala na. Strikto kaayo mi anang pagdapat-dapat sa mga bata,” said Ibones.
(I do not know where that information that the children are being maltreated came from. You can see for yourself that the residents are okay. That is not true. We are strict against hurting the residents.)
The director said they also cannot loosen the strict living conditions in the facility because of its proximity to the Cebu City Jail. Ibones said they have foiled various attempts of City Jail inmates to transact illegal activities with the CICLs through the wall that separate the jail from the correctional.
If they loosen the security against contraband in the facility, the children may be used for illegal drug transactions when while inside the center.
Ibones said they already coordinated with the Bureau of Management and Penology (BJMP) on these alleged transactions between the two facilities.
The director also said that the escape of the 20 children on October 4 was partially caused by the lack of house parents and security personnel in the facility, making it easy for a crowd of children to cause trouble to escape.
He said that the children broke the glass of the facility’s front door and even attempted to steal a jail guard’s firearm during the escape.
Of the 20 who managed to flee, nine were immediately caught and returned to the facility. Eleven went off the grid, all of whom have drug related cases, but three were turned over to the center by their parents within 24 hours after the escape. Three more were rescued and later brought back to Operation Second Chance.
“Undermanned gyud mi. Dapat unta one house parent is to five CICL. (We are undermanned. It should be that one house parent deals with five CICL),” said Ibones.
Currently, there are only 10 houseparents in the facility serving 90 children. Ibones said he already asked the mayor for more personnel to deal with the children.
As for the mayor’s 10-day deadline to find the remaining five CICLs who escaped from the facility, Ibones said this will be a challenge for them, but they will try to comply with the deadline.
He said the parents of some of the five CICL already sent notice that they will surrender their children.
For the rest, he said they already coordinated with the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to rescue these CICL and bring them back to the facility./elb
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