Duterte orders arrest of street children’s parents
DAVAO CITY — Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has ordered more arrest of parents whose children are seen roaming the streets of the city, after he has taken custody of three children found sleeping under the car by the roadside on the wee hours of March 5.
Duterte, who had the children’s parents arrested on Thursday, said he has ordered all barangay captains and the police to take custody of all children and minors on the streets in their areas and to arrest parents who failed to protect their children.
“So that now, no children can be seen on the streets,” Duterte told reporters Saturday night.
No arrest for children
“I will not arrest the children because children can’t be arrested but it is the inherent responsibility of government to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves,” he said, adding the city has at least seven shelters to house the children.
Early this week, Duterte was outraged to see three minors sleeping under a car parked by the roadside in a wee morning hours.
“I was passing by Barrio Obrero at around 3 a.m., when I saw people turning their flashlights under the car parked near the road,” Duterte said.
“Three children were there sleeping under the car, I was angry. I ordered the police to bring the children to a shelter and go arrest their parents,” he said.
It’s in the law
Currently facing charges of violations of Republic Act 7610 are Marilyn Tambalangon, the single mother of the eight-year-old boy and the five-year old girl found sleeping under the car; and the couple Alexander and Maricel Arbulado, the mother of the six year old boy, found with the Tambalangon children.
RA 7610 provides special protection for children against abuse, exploitation and discrimination.
The mayor said he was doing this to protect the children against the inherent dangers on the street. He also plans to take this up with the Davao city police in a scheduled command conference on Monday, and to discuss the strict imposition of curfew for minors in the city.
‘Not parent’s fault to be poor’
In a separate press briefing Saturday night, Duterte said, poverty could not be made a reason for parents to fail to protect their children after he was asked about the case of Tambalongon, the single mother working as a domestic helper who usually goes home late at night because she still has to watch school age children in the household where she works for.
“If you’re incapable of protecting your children, we will use the law to take government’s custody of your children,” he said.
The women’s group Gabriela said it was not the fault of the mothers to be poor, hence, they should not bear the brunt of the blame but should deserve all the help that the state can extend.
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