By MARTIN A. SADONGDONG
Amid criticisms against the “anti-tambay” drive, the Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed yesterday that there is no stopping them from targeting minors or those who are below 18 years old who would be caught violating the curfew.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde emphasized that the apprehension of youths who defy the curfew hour is already included in their intensified campaign against local ordinance violators so the public should not be surprised with this.
He even recalled that the apprehension of curfew violators have already been implemented since 2016, citing Oplan Rody (Rid the streets Of Drunks and Youth), the pioneer campaign of former Parañaque City Police commander Chief Superintendent Jemar Modequillo.
“Remember when I was still the RD [regional director] of the NCRPO [National Capital Region Police Office], nandyan na ‘yan. It was started by Chief Superintendent Modequillo so there’s nothing new to it,” Albayalde said.
Oplan RODY, taken from the nickname of President Duterte, was implemented by Modequillo in Las Piñas City when he served as its chief of police in May 2016. The operational plan then made headlines when Modequillo was transferred to Parañaque City Police where hundreds of ordinance violators every night are being made to do push-ups as a punishment.
Albayalde clarified that minor offenders are being released on the first offense after giving lecture to their parents or guardians so as to remind them of their responsibilities to take care of their children.
If the offenders are again caught on second and third times, varying penalties ranging from P50 to P100 or P200 are being imposed by local police.
There are varying curfew ordinances in Metro Manila, but the PNP have long backed the imposition of curfew for minors nationwide and penalize their parents or guardians since they said it is a strong deterrent against crime involving the youth.
The PNP’s intensified campaign on curfew violators came with the directive of President Duterte to round up minors who are idling the streets at night.
“Below 18, you arrest the teenagers there around loitering because we have to protect our children, nagkalat na ang droga,” he said in a speech in Cagayan de Oro Monday night.
“You take them into custody, not to arrest them but for their own safety, to protect them. They are not arrested for any crime, arrest them for their good,” he added.
The apprehension of minors who violate curfew ordinance was included in the guidelines disseminated by Albayalde to all police commanders in the country signed on June 20.
“All unit commanders, especially the chiefs of police, are directed to personally lead the (a) strict implementations of laws and local ordinances through arrest of violators such as those drinking and smoking in public places, roaming the streets without shirts, using karaoke beyond the allowed time, minors violating the curfew hours, etc.,” said in a part of Section 3, Article (a) of the memorandum, a copy of which was given to the media yesterday.
The memorandum or guideline was circulated to all police regional offices and national support units, Albayalde said.
He also assured that the intensified campaign against local ordinance violators are being done “to prevent the occurrence of common crimes” and “attuned to the existing Police Operational Procedures with due regard to human rights and dignity of apprehended individuals.”