PB supports curfew; Margot raises doubts
The proposal of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a nationwide curfew for minors has gained the support of the Provincial Board (PB) and the Cebu Provincial Council on the Welfare of Children (PCWC), but was met with reservations by Cebu City Acting Mayor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña.
“The ordinance itself or the law itself is good. But how do you enforce it? The night high school is a good example. They go out at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. and they still have to go home. What? Are you going to catch all of them?” Osmeña told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.
Cebu City already has an ordinance imposing a curfew. City Ordinance Number 1786 prohibits minors “of any gender or sex, below 18, to wander, stray, saunter, loiter or ramble outside their residence within Cebu City between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. when they are not accompanied by any parent or guardian.”
Osmeña, who serves as acting mayor until June 30 because of the suspension of outgoing Mayor Michael Rama and other city officials, said she had no plans to implement the ordinance.
She warned against a possible selective implementation of this ordinance, saying it would be difficult for barangay tanods and police officers to check on minors still driving cars in posh subdivisions after a 10 p.m. curfew.
At the Capitol, the Provincial Board unanimously passed on Monday a resolution strongly supporting the proposed curfew.
PB Member Arleigh Sitoy, who sponsored the resolution, noted that minors “are exposed to the atrocities of the night and some even gain access to illegal substances.”
“It is understood that by such time, minors should already be sleeping so they can wake up early to be in school the next day or, instead, they can make use of the time for more important things at home such as studying their lessons to build up their future and become valuable members of society,” the resolution stated. Sitoy, however, was absent during the Monday session because he had to undergo dialysis.
His other proposed resolution, which supported Duterte’s proposal to revive the death penalty for heinous crimes, was set aside.
Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale, in an interview, said she was also inclined to support the proposed curfew because it would deter crimes involving minors.
Heda Largo, PCWC executive officer, also welcomed the PB resolution supporting a curfew.
“Maayo ni siya (This is good) because minors now will not be able to roam around after 10 p.m.,” she said.
Aside from deterring crimes, a curfew would also minimize cases of physical and sexual abuse of minors which usually happen at night.
Should a curfew be imposed, Largo said there should be strict monitoring by the government and cooperation from the parents.
In Cebu City, Osmeña said City Hall should enlist the help of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) since barangay officials play a critical role in the enforcement of a curfew.
Among those pushing for a curfew is the city’s Commission on Substance Abuse Program (Cosap).
Cosap chief Alice Utlang told CDN that even before talks of implementing the curfew nationwide started, their office had been asking the city government to implement the existing ordinance.
“I really welcome that policy because it can deter the use of illegal drugs especially among the youth. We’ve found out that one of the reasons why minors engage in illegal drugs is because they are out there on the streets. They get encouraged by others,” Utlang said.
“It’s not difficult to implement. The problem is there are barangays that don’t want to implement it,” she added.
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