Basilan city imposes 6-hour curfew to stem juvenile crimes
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The rise in the number of crimes involving youth suspects has prompted the local government of Lamitan City in Basilan province to impose a 6-hour curfew.
According to Mayor Roderick Furigay, they are seeing a pattern of recent robbery suspects who are aged 16 to 18.
“It is alarming. We wanted to find out why minors are committing these crimes, why they steal. We wanted to put an end to this so we are reviving the implementation of juvenile curfew,” Furigay said.
He added that the reimposition of a curfew, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., was recommended by the city’s peace and order council and approved by local legislators.
The curfew aims to restrict the mobility of minors so they stay in their respective homes at night “to protect our children (from violence) on the streets and prevent their possible exploitation by adults,” Furigay explained.
Minors who are accompanied by parents or guardians, those performing errands under adult supervision, those in emergency situations, and those attending religious events are exempted from the curfew.
The last time a curfew was imposed in Lamitan was in August 2021 to prevent residents from getting out of their respective homes to stem the spread of the coronavirus. It was later lifted early this year as virus cases eased.
Lt. Col. Arlan Delumpines, Lamitan police chief, said five suspects in four robbery cases reported to them this month are minors.
“The sad part is that families who were victimized preferred to settle the cases because the suspects are minors. We are forced to release the suspects,” Delumpines lamented.
He added that the robbery suspects employed a 10-year-old boy to initially penetrate their target houses and open the doors for them once inside.
The boy was released to the City Social Welfare and Development Office for monitoring, Delumpines said.
The use of illegal drugs could be one of the reasons why young boys were emboldened to rob houses, Delumpines notes, adding that they take with them cellular phones, jewelry, and cash.
Delumpines said they are conducting a deeper investigation to identify the adults who masterminded these robbery cases.
“Definitely they (minors) will not dare to commit such crimes without someone telling them to do so. The juvenile curfew will somehow help the authorities to limit the movements of minors on the street at night,” Delumpines added.
Furigay has offered a cash reward to anyone who can give information that may lead to the arrest of the robbery suspects.
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