MASBATE CITY — The spate of robbery involving young offenders has prompted several members of Masbate City Peace and Order Council to press the police to dust an ageing curfew ordinance and enforce it in the city.
Most vocal was City Prosecutor Edmundo O. Legaspi who expressed optimism that limiting the movement of children during unholy hours could help stem the tide of juvenile delinquency in the city.
Legaspi lamented that hoodlums were apparently exploiting the law prohibiting the prosecution of minors by using them in burglary.
He revealed that his home had been burglarized not only once but several times by minors.
One of the culprits had figured already in more than a dozen cases of robbery or burglary but lawmen could not run after him, he added.
It was learned that Judge Rolando G. Sandigan of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities had gone through a similar sad experience.
In response, Supt. Rowade P. Tombaga, chief of city police station, said the current curfew ordinance, in which the streets would be off-limits to minors between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., would lead to naught because it carries no penalty.
Tombaga urged the revision of the ordinance to strengthen it against juvenile delinquency.
Recently, Regional Director Blandino M. Maceda of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said in a legal opinion that “full implementation of curfew ordinance may be achieved through the full cooperation of barangay officials and the parents themselves.”
Citing the Child and Youth Welfare Code, Maceda said a curfew ordinance should be “enforced against the parents or guardians and not (on) the minor himself.”
The Code decrees that “the duty to enforce curfew ordinances shall devolve upon the parents or guardians and the local authorities” and “any parent or guardian found grossly negligent in the performance of the duty…shall be admonished by the Department of Social Welfare an Development or the Council for the Protection of Children. (Ernie Delgado)