by Aileen Refuerzo
BAGUIO CITY – Policemen and social workers here were urged to intensify efforts to stem the growing participation of youth in criminal activities in the city.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Vice Mayor Daniel Farinas during last Monday’s department heads’ meeting urged the city police and the city social welfare and development offices to beef up their respective operations and programs to save children from being used by crime syndicates.
Farinas, who heads the Task Force Safe Schools which is overseeing the implementation of policies and activities geared at promoting the well-being of students in the various schools in the city, expressed alarm over reports of increasing number of children being used by crime syndicates, gangs and fraternities.
He said he has been receiving complaints from parents and teachers on these youth’s wanton behavior that they cannot be controlled anymore by their elders.
“Parents themselves are appealing for the city’s help as their children aged 10-12 years old cannot be disciplined anymore and cannot be dissuaded from joining these syndicates and gangs,” Farinas lamented.
Councilor Erdolfo Balajadia surmised that these groups are now using children in perpetrating their criminal activities due to their immunity from criminal offenses by virtue of the Juvenile Justice Act.
Farinas said a concerted effort involving all sectors in the city must be exerted to strengthen values education, parent effectiveness and family orientation to save these wayward children.
“If we do not act now, then these youth will become hardened and will become a problem of our society in the next generation,” Farinas said.
Domogan himself noted that many students drop out of schools due to the presence of gangs.
He said the city should have programs to entice the students to remain in schools or devise out-of-school youth programs to provide worthwhile activities for these drop-outs.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said the city should improve its Silungan Center facilities to accomodate the increasing youth offenders.
She also sought the regular conduct of parent effectiveness trainings in the brangays to continually guide parents.
City officials also brought up the need for the city police to intensify the implementation of the ordinances on curfew, liquor dispersation and computer shops which can help curb juvenile delinquency in the city.#