Cebu City police to slap parents with complaint if their children violate ‘stay-at-home’ curfew

THE police will file charges against the parents of minors who violate the “stay-at-home” order imposed by the Cebu City Government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019.

P/Col. Hector Grijaldo, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said a parent can be held liable under Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, Mayor Edgardo Labella issued Executive Order (EO) 59 ordering all minors and persons aged 65 and above to stay at home.

Violating curfew

A lawyer, who requested anonymity, said violating a curfew is not a crime under Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Another lawyer shared a different view, saying the authorities can charge parents if there is a local ordinance penalizing curfew violations. Article 59 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code also states that parents can be liable for abandonment however temporary like neglecting care in allowing their child to loiter during curfew hours despite knowledge of the existence of the stay-at-home regulation.

Minors on the loose

Before EO 59 was issued, the CCPO had noticed some minors continuing to roam the streets during nighttime despite the strict implementation of the curfew in the city. Labella’s EO 52, issued last March 15, placed Cebu City under general community quarantine, and one of the measures was the implementation of a curfew that began at 8 p.m. March 16 and ended at 5 a.m. March 17. The curfew will continue for the duration of the quarantine, which will end at 11:59 p.m. on April 14, 2020.

After Labella issued EO 59, the personnel of the Waterfront Police Station rescued several minors in Barangay Tejero last Sunday night. They underwent Murga punishment (sitting on the air) and were told not to violate the curfew again.

On the same night, the CCPO personnel patrolled the barangays in Cebu City.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Junard Chan also imposed the 24-hour curfew for minors and persons aged 65 years old and above.

The police apprehended 108 curfew violators in the city last week. Most of the violators were either hanging out or drinking liquor with their friends.

The City imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Most of the violators were first offenders, and they paid the P1,000 fine.

Lapu-Lapu City Police Office Director P/Col. Clarito Baja said the offenders who paid the fine were already released, while those who did not were charged. The minors, he said, were returned to their mothers.

Employees who were on their way home were not arrested, and they were only asked to show their identification cards, said Baja. (AYB & GCM / MMC)