NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar has ordered his men to strictly enforce local government ordinances in Metro Manila banning the presence of students in internet and video shops and billiard halls during school and curfew hours, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
The member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 said he has ordered his precinct and station commanders to regularly check billiard halls, internet cafes, videoke bars and other commercial establishments in their jurisdiction and accost students, particularly those in uniforms who will be found staying in these areas when they are supposed to be in their classrooms.
“This is part of our effort not only to fully enforce the law but to see to it that our children will be there in their classrooms listening to their teachers during school hours instead of skipping their classes and playing computer games and billiards or worst, drinking liquor or smoking es,” Eleazar said.
The NCRPO drive against so-called ‘bulakbuleros’ will also help parents who toil very hard to send their kids to school but have no more time to check if their kids are really attending their classes. “Kawawa naman po ang ating mga magulang kung matutuklasan nila na ang mga pinag-aaral nilang mga anak ay nagka-cutting classes at nag-i-istambay lang at umiinom o nagsisigarilyo sa mga internet cafes, malls at mga bilyaran,” the NCRPO chief said.
Eleazar said they will be implementing the ordinances in full coordination with school and local barangay authorities. The move will also help prevent the possibility that students may fall prey to drug fiends staying in commercial establishments. Many local government units in Metro Manila have their own ordinances banning minors and students inside internet cafes and computer shops specifically during school and curfew hours. In Makati City, Mayor Abby Binay has warned owners and operators of internet cafes and computer shops to strictly follow city ordinances or face immediate closure.
Mayor Binay has ordered the closure of dozens of local internet cafes and computer shops and the filing of cases against their operators for a host of violations including allowing minors and students inside their establishments during school hours and operating without a valid Mayor’s Permit.
Makati City Ordinance No. 2002-122 prohibits grade school and high school students from entering leisure and gaming establishments during school hours. These include billiard halls, computer shops, movie houses and malls.
In the city’s Child and Youth Welfare Code, a provision that prohibits the operation of ...network gaming shops and other similar establishments within a 100-meter radius of any education or religious institution has given more teeth to the 2002 ordinance.
The said code also imposes stiffer penalties, raising the fine from P1,000 to P2,000 or four months in jail, upon discretion of the court, for the first offense. For the second offense, a P3,000-fine is meted with a six-month imprisonment. On the third offense, a P5,000-fine, closure and confiscation of gaming and other equipment, as well imprisonment of not more than 12 months, will be imposed on violators.
The Quezon City, Marikina and Manila city governments also have similar ordinances.
The Philippine National Police headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said last week’s nationwide opening of school classes was generally peaceful as the latter ordered his men to keep in close touch with school authorities to address all threats posed by criminals and even bomb threats.