Cops to ask social workers to join roundup of minors
Fuente station police will resume rounding up street children on weekends in Cebu City but the new officer-in-charg e said social workers will be present in each operation.
Chief Inspector David Señor, who took over as OIC of Fuente Police Station last week, said he will write to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office requesting for social workers to be assigned to the Libod Suroy program on Saturday and Sunday nights.
This protocol was not followed when 11-year-old child beggar Chastity Mirabiles was picked up with another minor in the dawn hours of Easter Sunday on April 5.
Her death a few hours after her release from detation and autopsy results showing “traumatic blunt injuries” as the cause of death have placed the Fuente police station in hot water.
No policeman has been sanctioned yet. Vice Mayor Edgar Labella is asking the Visayas Ombudsman to lead an investigation.
Libod-suroy is a Cebuano term for street children or vagrants. The Libod-Suroy program, carried out in all Cebu City police stations, was initiated in 2011 in Fuente station, to round up vagrants, including children, who stay on the streets at night.
“We usually conduct operations at night because that is when they go out on the street and during weekends, when a lot of people are out especially in Mango Avenue,” Señor told Cebu Daily News.
Fuente police station chief Insp. Wildemar Tiu, is still on a month-long vacation leave.He earlier denied that his men detained Chastity or beat her.
A total of 15 street children were rounded up on Easter Sunday by Fuente police although the station insists Chastity was not among them.
Social workers brought out her case after another streetchild, a companion of Chastity described how they were picked up and physically abused in the station.
The National Bureau of Investigation has interviewed the minor and is gathering more evidence.
A group of concerned citizens plans to revive their program to provide food and support for streetkids.
Paul Hubahib, a former Cebu City consultant, said he will coordinate with Fuente police and other stations for the Kontra Gutom Movement- Operation Samaritan which was first implemented in 2013.
Señor said roundups will be conducted during the day, or whenever there are complaints against street kids.
He said police will bring the kids to the station and turn them over to the barangay hall or social worker.
Since he assumed as OIC, he said his team has responded to three alarms involving street children. Five kids have been turned over to their barangay officials, he added.
Complaints against street children usually involve petty crimes or violations of the anti-mendicancy law.
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