MANILA— Makati Mayor Abby Binay has sought the support of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) for the speedy passage of “The Child Protection Ordinance” endorsed by the Makati City Council for the Protection of Children (MCCPC).
The said ordinance prescribes curfew hours for children below 18 years old from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. daily.
“We are pushing for the passage of the Child Protection Ordinance primarily to lessen the exposure of children to various forms of violence and criminality and prevent them from becoming either the victims or the offenders themselves,” the lady mayor said in a statement.
The mayor, who chairs MCCPC, also called on parents and guardians to work together with the city government in promoting a safe and secure environment for their children and wards.
“We are counting on your full cooperation and support to ensure the safety and well-being of our young constituents,” she underscored.
Mayor Binay also expressed confidence that the City Council would recognize the necessity of the ordinance and give it due priority, noting its impressive record of 73 ordinances and 54 resolutions passed during the first half of the year.
“I laud the City Council for its timely passage of city ordinances and resolutions, which have expedited the implementation of reforms and innovations in the programs and policies of the city government crucial to Makati’s transformation into a digital city of the 21st century,” she said.
Under the proposed ordinance, it shall be unlawful for a parent or guardian to knowingly permit or allow a child to remain in any public place within the city during curfew hours. This includes streets, highways, roads, sidewalks, parking lots, vacant lots, parks, alleys, playgrounds, curbs, gutters, driveways, walkways, and public buildings.
Other places deemed public include common areas in and about churches, apartment buildings, office buildings, hospitals, schools; shops and places of entertainment such as computer shops, internet café, movie theaters and similar places or establishments; and places of amusement and eating places, whether inside or outside a motor vehicle, or other unsupervised places, among others.
However, the proposed ordinance also cites instances when a child is exempted from curfew hours. The child is exempted when he or she is accompanied by the child’s parent, guardian, or other adult person having care and custody over the child, provided that the child is not being used for any illegal activity or crime; when the child is doing emergency errands for his or her family; or when the child is going home from work, school or religious-related activity, provided that the child will submit a certificate of attendance of said activity.
During the first rescue, the child will be escorted by authorities to his or her residence and shall be released to the parent or guardian after the latter has presented documents as proof of their identity and relationship to the child. The parent or guardian and the child rescued shall also sign a written agreement to attend a Parent’s Effectiveness Seminar (PES) or other parenting-related seminar, and undergo immediate counselling, respectively.
The proposed ordinance further provides that in the absence of a parent or guardian, the child may be released to any barangay official, tanod or Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) member. On the other hand, if the child has no known parents or guardians, the child shall be brought to the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD) for the filing of the petition declaring the child as abandoned and neglected.
If the child is a non-Makati resident, he or she shall be temporarily placed in a holding area while necessary effort is being done to locate his or her residence, parent, guardian or relative.
On the second rescue, the child together with the parent or guardian shall be referred to MSWD for the necessary assessment, and intervention and rehabilitation program.
A parent or guardian in charge of the custody of child who is found grossly negligent in the performance of his or her duty shall be sanctioned. On the child’s first rescue, failure to attend PES or any other parenting-related seminar on the child’s first rescue, his or her benefits provided by the city government will be suspended. On the second rescue, a PHP2,000-fine or imprisonment of not more than five days, or both shall be imposed on the rescued child’s parent or guardian.
When after thorough assessment by a registered social worker of MSWD, a parent or guardian is found negligent in the performance of his or her duties towards his or her child who was rescued twice or more, he or she shall be presumed as committing acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation as provided for under RA 7610 and the Makati Child and Youth Welfare Code. The social worker or barangay official may then file the corresponding complaint with the Office of the City Prosecutor.