Cagayan de Oro City needs to revise 1994 curfew ordinance on minors

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/ 04 June) – A 1994 ordinance imposing curfew for minors is now being implemented by the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) and the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (COCPO) starting June 1 but the law needs to be amended, Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr., CSWD chief said.

“Actually every opening of the classes every year we’ve launched the 10 p.m.  curfew for minors on June in preparation for the start of classes. This June the ordinance and its implementation is highlighted more because of the ongoing talks about implementing such all over the country. Unfortunately since we are basing this on our 1994 ordinance, it only covers 15 years old and below,” said Sabuga-a.

He emphasized that even with the implementation of the ordinance there is so much that needs to be revised.

“The existing ordinance lacks several needed provisions, it even has penalties and imprisonment for those minors caught in violation of the curfew. This is invalid if we base it on the Republic Act No. 9344 or the Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare System which clearly states that a child 15 years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability,” he said.

The CSWD chief added that while the curfew is in effect “we are looking into a new ordinance proposing a code on parental responsibility in which the curfew would only be a part of the entire ordinance, the penalty clause will also be more into community service since most of the parents are really poor and cannot afford fines from penalties.”

Police Inspector Leo Huraño, deputy station commander for operation of Police Station 3 in Agora integrated bus terminal expressed high hopes on the implementation of the curfew.

“This is the first time that we’ve seen the street this silent (as there are no) street kids who are usually running around at this time of the evening.  But I hope the different barangays would be able to also support us in this endeavor and help us in our patrol since we cannot do this by ourselves,” said Huraño.

Police Inspector Johnny Agutaya, Deputy Station Commander of Police Station 2 in the Cogon market area revealed that during the first night of the curfew they were able to gather several children around the area.

“We got 12 children during the implementation of the curfew and we immediately had our women and children desk officer interview them to gather enough data about these children and about their parents. Our procedural protocol here would be to turn them over in the morning to their barangays those who have parents and for those who don’t have any, we will turn them over to the CSWD,” said Agutaya.

One of their children in police custody explained that he did not know there was a curfew.
“I honestly did not know that there is a curfew going on in the city. I’m used to being out in the street and I was about to go home when the police got me along the street corner,” said Rusell, a 15-year old resident of barangay Cala-anan.

Other children claimed they knew about the curfew but revealed that they did not really think there would be a strict implementation on the first day.

Among all the 80 barangays in Cagayan de Oro City, only Barangay Gusa had been strictly implementing its own curfew since 2014 based on the 1994 ordinance.

The CSWD, however, hopes that to sustain the curfew for the next few months the city would need the full cooperation of the different barangays. (Erwin Mascarinas / MindaNews)