Curfew for minors in Manila welcomed by expats

But Filipino residents say authorities should not use force in taking minors off the streets

Dubai: Filipino residents in Dubai welcomed the stricter enforcement of curfew laws where unaccompanied minors are being taken off the streets of Metro Manila but decried the way authorities are implementing it.
Authorities in some cities in Metro Manila have intensified their efforts to round up minors past the 10pm curfew in an operation dubbed ‘Oplan Rody’.
The move came after President-elect Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte said in May that curfew for minors will be made mandatory just as in Davao, where he served as long-time mayor.

Manila, Quezon City, Paranaque City, among others, have existing curfew ordinances where those under 18 years old are not allowed to loiter in the streets between 10pm and 4am or 5am unless accompanied by their parents or a guardian of legal age.

All the Dubai-based parents Gulf News interviewed agreed that there is a need for curfews for minors for their own safety. But not all agreed on how authorities back home are implementing them.

“As a mother, I am all for having curfews, especially since I am away from my daughter,” Venus Ramos, 38, a housewife based in Dubai, told Gulf News.
Ramos, whose 17-year-old daughter lives in Quezon City, said she is always worried whenever her daughter comes home late. Imposing curfews will ensure her protection, she said.

“If she’s home, I have nothing to worry about. But if she’s out late, I’m always restless. I think this curfew will not only teach the youth about the value of being home early but will also teach parents to be mindful of their children’s whereabouts.”

Majella Gatdulla, 44, a call centre agent, said her 15-year-old daughter who lives in Manila sometimes comes home late because of school projects.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry so the 10pm curfew is good in itself,” Gatdulla said. “But I am concerned about how some officials are implementing the rules. They shouldn’t use violence when rounding up minors and risk traumatising them in the process.”

Gatdula was referring to a June 10 news report in Manila showing social workers forcefully taking away a child, who appeared to be below five years old, from his mother. The child was reportedly unaccompanied when the social workers found him but the footage only showed the tug of war between the mother and the social workers. The video also showed teenagers being hauled into a van, most of them crying and unaware of what would happen next.
In order to effectively enforce the law, officials should undergo proper training on how to deal with minors and educate the community about the curfew first before they go around detaining minors, Denis Urbano, a network technician, said.

“The laws are good and I believe it should be implemented nationwide. But police and social workers should do it in a way that the children will not be treated as if they are criminals. They shouldn’t be taken by force.”




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