If the children truly are our future, this now-viral video is not a very pleasant preview of days ahead.
Posted by Facebook user Victor Padilla Bagatcholon III on Saturday, it shows a gang of kids and teens causing a ruckus inside a jeepney and robbing some passengers in the process.
According to Bagatcholon’s caption, he saw the incident happen while inside a taxi on Macapagal Ave. at around 5:50pm.
The group of more than 10 started to harass jeepney passengers while the stoplight was on red, when vehicles had no choice but to stay where they were.
“There was suddenly a commotion inside the jeep. The kids got a hold of [some of the passenger’s] belongings and a mother with a child was even affected,” Bagatcholon wrote in Filipino.
In the video, the group can be seen crowding around the jeepney’s entrance. After a few seconds, one of the kids jumps out of the vehicle holding what looks like a small bag of junk food. At around the 28-second mark, a girl can be seen reaching inside the jeepney and pulling a woman’s hair.
In an interview with GMA News’ Unang Balita, the jeepney’s driver said that some of the kids first got inside the vehicle to ask for alms but some started grabbing food from the passengers as well.
Bagatcholon wrote that the kids even hit a mother from outside, through the jeepney’s widow, although he was unable to capture this on video. “I was afraid to go out [of the taxi] because one of them had a knife,” he said.
In an interview with The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Bagatcholon said the group stole “junk food and a piece of clothing” from people inside the jeepney.
His video has gone viral online and had 48,000 views, 1,000 shares, and 361 reactions as of this article’s posting. Like the poster, commenters were alarmed by the incident.
“This is why you shouldn’t bring out your phone inside the jeep,” Facebook user Joaquin Justiniane wrote, tagging a friend.
“Oh now, that’s so scary. And there are many attackers too. Even if you say they’re kids, they can still hurt [people],” Anna Mea Cabrera said. “Hope this will be solved.”
Lhen Set, on the other hand, wondered where authorities were when the incident occurred. “Where were the police, they should have been arrested,” she said.
An overwhelming number of people also blamed opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan for what happened.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte criticized Pangilinan for authoring the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, a law that set the minimum age for criminal liability at 15 years old. According to Duterte, the law has produced “people who are of criminal minds.”
Netizens thought that the children in the video were aware of the law, which was why they boldly commited the crime because they know they wouldn’t be prosecuted.
According to GMA News’ Balitambayan five of the teens have been caught by authorities and are currently under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and will go under counseling.