Youth group asks SC to stop curfews in 3 cities
MANILA, Philippines – A newly created youth organization asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, July 22, to end the curfews imposed on minors in Manila, Quezon City, and Navotas – all in the national capital region.
Calling the local curfew ordinances “vague, unjust, and repressive,” the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark) said these are also unconstitutional. The group was represented by lawyer Jesus Falcis III.
According to the 34-page petition, curfews “result in arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement” and have become an excuse for “proscribing or impairing legitimate activities” for minors.
These ordinances are curtailing a person’s right to liberty and travel, and the parents’ right to rear their children, it said.
"We are filing for and on behalf of the all young citizens who also have the right to be contributing members of society without being threatened by undue punishment and possible instances of overreaching from authorities like the police," said Spark spokesperson Joanne Lim.
In a press release, Spark cited the case of Clarissa Villegas of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. She almost got arrested by the local police because she was said to be violating the imposed curfew in Quezon City.
Villegas, a minor, was enrolled in classes that ended at 9 pm, forcing her to commute for two hours from Manila to Quezon City during late nights.
Spark also cited the case of Ronnel Baccutan of Navotas who, despite being of legal age, was made to do at least 50 squats when 10 barangay tanods (watchmen) apprehended him and his friends during a dance practice.
Baccutan recalled that the tanods threatened to frame them up by planting drugs and knives if they refused to perform the punishment. They underwent medical inspection and were taken to the barangay hall.
Early in July Spark also camped outside the Quezon City hall to protest “Oplan Rody” (Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths), which was launched by the authorities after the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte on June 30.
Children’s rights group Balay Tuluyan also condemned the implementation of the curfews as it “poses unacceptable dangers to children, and is reactive, short-sighted, and superficial.”
Not an isolated case
The implementation of curfews for minors in not an isolated case in Metro Manila. Other local government units have passed ordinance for this policy .
Shortly after winning the presidential race in May, President Duterte announced his plans to impose a nationwide curfew for the youth, and the prohibition of late-night karaoke singing.
Duterte said that the imposition of the curfew is one step toward restoring public order and security in the country. – Rappler.com
Adrian Jimenea is a Rappler intern. He studies communication and media in UP Visayas, where he writes for Pagbutlak, the official student publication of the College of Arts and Sciences.