Loitering minors to be sent to DSWD, barangay centers

MANILA -- Teenagers loitering on the streets will be sent to the barangay (village) office or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), MalacaAang said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark to clarify the order of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to apprehend tambays (loiterers), including minors, as part of the crackdown against criminality and illegal drugs under the Duterte administration.

On Monday, Duterte, in a speech in Cagayan De Oro, asked policemen to arrest the teenagers who were loitering in order to protect them from crime and illegal drugs.

You take them into custody not to arrest them, but for their own safety to protect them. We are removing the minors, take them into custody, tawagin mo 'yang DSWD diyan, pati 'yung barangay, you take care (call DSWD, even the barangay, you take care), Duterte said.

Duterte, citing the doctrine of parens patriae, emphasized that teenagers are not being arrested for any crime but for their own good.

Parens patriae, Latin for parent of his or her country is a doctrine that allows the State to serve as a guardian for children, the mentally ill, the incompetent, the elderly, or disabled persons who are unable to take care of themselves.

We can take custody of the minors to protect them under the principle of parens patriae. The father of the nation, Duterte said.

Roque pointed out that Duterte's order to arrest loitering teenagers only meant that the President did not tolerate idlers especially at night.

Tama po iyon, dahil ang sabi naman po ng Presidente, pupuwede silang damputin ng police, ibibigay sa barangay o sa DSWD hanggang sunduin ng mga magulang (That's correct, because the President said, they can be arrested by the police, and sent to the barangay or DSWD until their parents pick them up), Roque said.

Hindi po tino-tolerate ng Presidente, iyong mga palaboy-laboy na mga menor de edad sa kalsada, lalung-lalo na kapag gabi na (The President doesn't tolerate loitering minors on the streets, especially at night), he added.

Opposition senators and human rights groups have criticized Duterte's order to arrest and apprehend loiterers, noting that loitering is not a crime.

The Makabayan Bloc of the House of Representatives and opposition Senator Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino IV have both filed resolutions calling for an inquiry into the anti-loitering drive aimed at increasing police visibility and preventing crimes.

Roque earlier allayed fears that the anti-loitering drive would be a prelude to a nationwide martial law and welcomed any congressional investigation into the campaign.

Congress has the power to have that kind of investigation, especially since it will be in aid of legislation. We always welcome any congressional inquiry. We're not hiding anything, Roque said in a previous press briefing. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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