As of 3 July 2016, the Tacurong PNP and LGU CSWD Office had processed not less than 81 cases of unattended minors as a result of the conduct of surveillance operations pursuant to Tacurong curfew ordinance.
The operations started on June 11, 2016.
The safekeeping ordinance prohibits minors from entering, staying, or loitering in any public place from 10 o’clock in the evening to 4 o’clock in the morning. Minors who are accompanied by parents or guardians/immediate relatives are exempted.
Also, minors are not allowed to stay in internet cafes beyond 9:30 in the evening pursuant to the Ordinance Regulating the Operation and Services of Internet Café and Other Similar Establishments for the Protection of Children.
According to LGU social worker Kathy Mae Catalan, RSW the safekeeping of minors had drawn positive feedback from parents. “Ang mga parents mismo sang mga makuha namon nga bata sa kalye ang nagahambal nga nami ini nga programa,” said Catalan in an interview.
Parents of youth taken from the streets during operations are notified immediately and are allowed to fetch their children after an orientation with the authorities. The City Crisis Intervention Center for Women and Children was mobilized to serve as the holding area.
Catalan stated that among those caught violating the ordinance were students drinking alcoholic beverages in establishments, out-of-school youth, and other children at risk.
Social workers conduct intake interviews with the children/youth after each operation. The results of these interviews are used as basis for intervention especially for children with family problems and those with more serious concerns, said Catalan.
Out-of-school youth who were taken from the streets during the operations were enlisted to the Kalinga sa mga Batang Lansangan program. Kalinga offers free Alternative Learning System (ALS) classes, school supplies, and values enhancement activities.
“Priority sang social workers kag pulis nga mahatagan safety ang mga bata. We see to it that their rights are not violated during the whole process of safekeeping [of children],” said Catalan.
The Ordinance for the Safekeeping of Minors was authored by Councilor Psyche M. Sucaldito. (JLBF, LGU Information)