By ALEXANDRIA SAN JUAN
The Batasan Police Station (PS-6) Quezon City has been arresting daily at least 30 minors who violate curfew, but this apparently has done little to deter the rising incidents of crimes involving children in the area.
Over the weekend in Barangay Batasan Hills, a 13-year-old Grade 7 student stabbed a 15-year-old out-of-school youth to death before turning himself to barangay authorities.
The suspect, who surrendered the fan knife, said he was always bullied by the victim.
Because he’s a minor, the suspect was not placed behind bars and instead, turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) where he will undergo counseling, psychiatric examinations, and intervention programs.
He is expected to be released after six months.
Batasan Hills, along with Payatas, has the most number of apprehended minors not only for violating curfew but also for other crimes, according to PS-6 chief Superintendent Rossel Cejas.
Cejas said stabbing incidents are common in their area usually among youths, aged 11-17.
Most of the cases, the youths are under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, according to Cejas.
Gang wars are also common, he added.
The weapons of choice are fan knives and improvised shotguns or sumpak, provided by adults, according to Cejas.
Based on the data provided by SPO3 Jane Balbuena, investigator of the Women and Children Protection Desk of PS-6, there at least five cases a month involving children in conflict with the law (CICL).
CICL, as stated on the Republic Act 9344, refers to children who are alleged as, accused of, or adjudged as, having committed an offense under Philippine laws. PS-6 has noted cases of “minor to minor” fight, theft, rape, and the latest, which is homicide on their list.
Balbuena said young offenders, most of whom out of school youths, admit to having family problems.
Most of the 20 minors arrested nightly in Batasan Hills were caught under the influence of liquor, according to barangay chairman Jojo Abad.
The youngest that has been arrested is nine years old.
Abad added that aside from violating curfew and fist fights among minors, there are also cases of theft and rape, wherein offenders are mostly out of school youths.
Of the more than 200,000 residents of Batasan Hills, Abad said that at least 60 percent are informal settlers who surround 20 subdivisions in the same barangay.
He also added that of the 700 arrested during the drug war last year, there are at least five minors, aged 14-17, who were caught using marijuana.
Police and barangay authorities admit that intervention programs of the government have not stopped those released from going back to their old ways.
This is the reason why, Abad said, that they are increasing patrols and police visibility and at the same time, support youth organizations in their locality.