“We went to a police station and we were told that we are welcome to have a police report made,” Tan-Evangelista told Rappler. “(They) told us they have mobile (units) stationed in the areas but when the patrol cars are gone, the perpetrators return and (it) seems like they can’t do anything about it.”
“It’s disheartening so we didn’t go back to file (the) report anymore,” she added. “But more than police mobiles patrolling the area, what’s more important is to get these kids off the streets and be able to provide for them more productive activities.”
Superintendent Annie Langcay of the Philippine National Police NCR Police Office (PNP-NCRPO) said most of these rock throwing incidents involve minors, some as young as 8-years-old. She cautions motorists to be extra careful when driving across underpasses and overpasses.
“‘Di pa namin talaga siya totally na-neutralize ganito,” she said. “Kadalasan involved dito minors.” (We haven’t really neutralized this yet. Often times, minors are involved.)
Once caught, these children are turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Langcay explained. The DSWD then places them under the care of temporary shelters. If the children’s parents are capable, they are reunited after undergoing orientation.
Langcay, however, shared that most of the children they interviewed had no intentions of hurting anyone. “Parang laro-laro lang para sa kanila.” (It seems that it’s just fun and games for them.)
In Metro Manila alone, there were over 3,000 street children as of 2010, the DSWD reported. Some of them get involved with petty to serious crimes. In the same year, there were more than 4,000 documented CICLs nationwide, according to the PNP. (READ: Busting myths on children on the streets)
“Nahuhuli naman namin pero wala kami ma-file na charges kasiminor. Unlike sa Mandaluyong, meron silang local ordinance na lahat ng bata na gagawa ng kalokohan, sina-sanctionparents,” said Langcay. “Sana ma-adopt din ng ibang city.“
(We catch them, but we can’t file charges because they’re minors. Unlinke in Mandaluyong City, they have a local ordinance sanctioning parents of child offenders.)
Not all child rights advocates, however, agree with this. During this year’s International Day of Street Children, the National Council of Social Development (NCSD) argued against penalizing parents of street children, calling it a “wrong approach which would further add to the criminalization of street families.”
Child rights advocates say parents, local authorities, and the community needs to provide better support for troubled children, particularly those on the streets.
As of 2014, the Philippines is home to over 2,465 abandoned and neglected girls and boys, the DSWD reported. Empowering and educating both parents and children would be a better solution according to the NSCD.
If motorists or commuters experience such incidents, Langcay said they may report it and seek assistance from the nearest police station. – Rappler.com
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