(The Freeman) | Updated October 17, 2016 - 12:00am
CEBU, Philippines - The Municipality of Liloan has passed an ordinance setting conditions for the rescue of children in drug-related cases.
Mayor Christina Frasco has approved on September 28, 2016 the ordinance sponsored by Councilor Vidal Cañete, which aims "to protect children and spare them from life-threatening and harrowing experience amid a backdrop of continuing drug menace."
The ordinance identifies the conditions and circumstances in which government personnel and resources could be mobilized and used to rescue children in distress as a result of exploitation or of their use of or of being under the influence of illegal drugs.
According to the ordinance, a rescue operation is authorized when a child - is found to be in a house of ill-repute; is found to be actually in possession of or using dangerous or illegal drugs; is selling or pushing dangerous or illegal drugs; who is believed to be under the influence of dangerous or illegal drugs is seen loitering aimlessly; is seen in the company of a person/s who is/are suspected to be a drug peddler/s or user/s; and is living with a family or in a household whose members are suspected to be involved in the drugs trade or are drug users.
With the ordinance, a rescue team has been created composed of personnel from the local government and national government agencies stationed in the municipality, whose mandate includes the protection and promotion of the welfare of children.
It is headed by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer and the Municipal Health Officer as the vice chairperson.
The members are the head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children's Desk, punong barangay concerned and a representative of a non-government organization (NGO) dealing with children's rights and welfare.
The rescue team created is empowered to promulgate its own rules of engagement in carrying out the rescue operation, taking into full consideration the rights and welfare of the child and of the opportunities in store for him as an important member of the community.
Also approved was a separate ordinance creating an Anti-Delinquency and Substance Abuse Program in response to the rise of drug-related violence among youth and gangs and pseudo fraternities.
The ordinance aims to look into the rise of drug-related violence among youth and gangs and pseudo-fraternities by introducing intervention programs to redirect the youth who are considered at-risk for delinquency or who have committed a delinquent offense from deeper involvement in the juvenile justice system.
The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) is tasked to introduce or continue implementing programs that seek to wean or veer the youth away from committing delinquent offense.
The program may come in any of the following form or a combination of holistic program, academic, home visitation and head start program.
The MSWDO is also tasked to adopt the best possible mode of intervention program as enumerated, which shall take into consideration the fact that juvenile crimes affect not just a few in a particular place but the entire community itself. (FREEMAN)