IMPOSING a curfew for minors across the country and penalizing the parents and guardians of the violators would be a very strong deterrent against crime involving minors and juvenile delinquents, Philippine National Police officials emphasized anew yesterday.
In Metro Manila alone, National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, said that since June 13, 2018 to date, they have apprehended over 45,000 minors for violating the curfew hours, thus effectively preventing the possibility that these youngsters may commit crimes or become crime victims themselves.
Since they cannot cover every street in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, PNP officials say they could not immediately respond to all incidents of juvenile delinquents creating trouble on the streets, engaging in both petty and major crimes like drugs, stick-ups or figuring in deadly rumbles particularly from 10 in the evening up to 5 the next morning.
Over the years, CCTV cameras have recorded countless cases of minors hurling stones at passing motor vehicles, smashing windows of motor vehicles parked unattended on the streets, engaging in violent gang wars or even theft and burglary to the consternation of police and barangay authorities as well as concerned citizens and their victims.
Former PNP chief-turned senatorial candidate, retired General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa himself maintained that having a nationwide curfew for teenagers to help curb down street crimes is what police have been cherishing since it was created 26 years ago.
“Colonel pa lang ako eh pangarap ko na yan (curfew for minors). Actually, the Pangilinan law (Juvenile Delinquency Act) is a source of frustration in the PNP,” the PNP chief said.
He recounted his own personal experience when he was still a young police commander in Davao City. According to dela Rosa, he knew of some drug traffickers who make it a point to go to computer shops in his jurisdiction to monitor kids who are still playing video games in the wee hours of the day since there is no curfew in their area.
“Once they spot a target particularly one who is losing money in video games, they will approach them and offer them money, say P1,000 just to deliver a cake to a friend. Once the teener accepts the offer, he becomes an unwitting courier of a cake with shabu in it,” he said.
PNP officials also cited cases of young kids being used by ‘Akyat-Bahay’ Gang members to sneak inside unattended houses due to their small size.
However, they said these crimes could be prevented if there is a curfew for minors since police will have the authority to accost them and place them under the custody of proper authorities like the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The PNP leadership headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde lamented that since the curfew hours for minors is being implemented only in selected areas of the country, all police could do is monitor the activities of teenagers in areas without said ordinance.
Eleazar, a former Quezon City Police District director cited QC as a fine example of a local government unit which has answered their calls for the imposition of curfew for minors.
Gen. Albayalde, Eleazar and other police commanders are one in saying that imposing curfew for minors across the country and penalizing the parents and guardians of the violators would be a deterrent against crime involving minors and juvenile delinquents.
Police made the call amid increasing number of minors and juvenile delinquents being accosted for various felonies including illegal drug trafficking and abuse, robbery-holdup, snatching, mugging, theft, homicide and gang wars. However, these young violators are automatically being turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development due to their young age.
Since June last year, NCRPO agents have already apprehended over 45,000 minors for violating curfew hours in Metro Manila. The Northern Police District headed by Chief Superintendent Rolando B. Anduyan apprehended over 12,000 while the Eastern Police District under Chief Supt. Bernabe M. Balba accosted nearly 5,000 during the period.
The Manila Police District headed by Chief Supt. Vicente D. Danao apprehended over 1,300 while the Southern Police District under Chief Supt. Eliseo DC Cruz made the biggest apprehension with over 21,600. The QCPD headed by Chief Supt. Joselito T. Esquivel Jr. accosted over 5,000 curfew violators during the same period.