THE City Council of Manila, under the stewardship of Vice Mayor and Council Presiding Officer Honey Lacuna, is currently drafting amendments to the existing Ordinance No. 8243 in view of the staggering number of minors rounded up by the Manila Social Welfare Department headed by former Councilor Asuncion ‘Re’ Fugoso.
Lacuna says the existing ordinance was passed by the city council as far back as 2011 during the time of Mayor Alfredo Lim and former vice president and council presiding officer, now Manila Mayor, Isko Moreno.
The said ordinance penalizes ‘any person who abandons or exposes a minor or allows said minor to be abandoned or exposed to a perilous situation that endangers human life, health or well-being.’
Known as the ‘anti-child endangerment ordinance of the city of Manila,’ Lacuna explains that the said local law is pursuant to the declared policy of the city to protect the interests of minors from reckless, careless and negligent persons and to shield them from dangerous or predatory situations, arising out from such irresponsibility.
Pursuant to Section 1, hereof, any person who abandons or exposes a minor or allows said minor to be abandoned or exposed to a perilous situation that endangers his life, health, or well-being shall be penalized.
The ‘graduated penalties are as follows: a fine of P 2,000 or imprisonment of one month if the minor is 15 years to 17 years of age; a fine of P3,000 or imprisonment of three months if the minor is 13 years to around 14 years of age and a fine of P 5,000 or imprisonment of six months or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court if the minor is around 12 years and below.
In just 30 days since Moreno assumed office, Fugoso and his MDSWD team were able to get 365 children out from the streets. These children were either abandoned, sniffing solvents or merely loitering or wandering aimlessly.
According to Fugoso, their sorry state is aggravated by the fact that their parents are not even looking for them, as majority were unclaimed and in fact unclaimed these days.
It is because of this attitude by concerned parents that Moreno, Lacuna and Fugoso agree that the laws punishing parents who renege on their duties must be stiffer, in keeping with the times.
The parents of these kids are apparently unaware that their negligence is punishable by law. It’s either that or they scoff at the law for being ‘light’ or think that no one is out there to actually implement it.
The responsibility primarily rests on the shoulders of barangay authorities who should be aiding the government in the implementation of local laws or at least monitoring who violates them and then reporting the matter to the police, which is tasked with enforcement.
The problem with most barangay authorities these days is that they are more preoccupied with money-making schemes in their respective areas of jurisdiction or getting too involved in local politics.
If this thing involving the welfare of children is happening in Manila, moreso with other cities.
Maybe it’s high time that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) crack its whip so that the barangays and the police will do what needs to be done to save the children from leading a life of crime once they are exposed to the ills of the streets on a daily basis.
I’m sure DILG Undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Dino, known for his being an ‘action man,’ can do something about this. ***
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Jokjok (from Bernadette Ranete of Cagayan de Oro)— PEDRO: Pare, alam mo ba kung ano-anong klase ang mga gatas ng babae?/JUAN: Hindi eh. Ano-ano ba ‘yun?/PEDRO: Pag dalagita, Fresh milk. Pag ganap nang dalaga,, pasteurized milk. Pag bagong kasal, skimmed milk tapos pag mattagal nang kasal, yogurt na./JUAN: Eh pano naman kapag lola na?/PEDRO: Ah pare, di na gatas ‘yun. Ang tawag dun, ‘Tokwa!
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