Village chiefs on rescue of minors: Why blame us?

THREE barangay captains are not pleased with the inclusion of their barangays in the list submitted by the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The list contains the top 10 barangays where the police caught most of the minors who violated the curfew, one of the measures aimed to curbing transmission of the highly infectious coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Calamba Barangay Captain Victor Quijano Jr. said that instead of blaming the barangay officials, the parents should also be held liable.

“Why blame us when we are only implementing the EO (executive order) issued by the acting mayor? The parents should be penalized, not us,” Quijano said, referring to the EO mandating an Oplan Puyo policy that requires residents to stay at home.

Sawang Calero Barangay Captain Sergio Ocaña described the move of the CCPO as “unfair.”

He said the rescue of minors who are still out during curfew hours means the barangay officials and the tanods are doing their job.

“If that would be the case, might as well we will not do our job in rescuing the minors so the number of apprehensions will remain low,” Ocaña said.

He said they even have to feed the children while they wait for the parents to show up.

San Nicolas Proper Barangay Captain Clifford Jude Niñal, for his part, said some of the rescued minors who violated the curfew are homeless and are held in the barangay gym.

Niñal said the lack of police visibility, especially in the Taboan Public Market, can be blamed for the complacency among the minors.

He also said some parents send out their children on errands even during curfew hours. Calamba, Sawang Calero and San Nicolas are among the 10 barangays listed by the CCPO. The others are Guadalupe, Talamban, Tejero, Kalunasan, Mabini, Lahug and Ermita.

CCPO Director Josefino Ligan earlier said it is up to the DILG to act on the report.

While the move of the CCPO did not sit well with some village chiefs, Tejero Barangay Captain Hermogenes Galang Jr. welcomed the development.

He said the number of rescued minors who violated the curfew policy only means the barangay has indeed implemented the executive order of the acting mayor.

Galang said he will be able to justify the rescue of minors in his barangay.

In Kalunasan, the officials were also not happy with their inclusion in the list, but said they will strive to improve implementation of Oplan Puyo.

In an official statement sent to SunStar Cebu, the Barangay Kalunasan stated they will be more strict in implementing the Oplan Puyo policy by deploying more personnel in every sitio, and continue their roving patrol and “rekorida.”

SunStar Cebu could not reach DILG Cebu City Director Ian Kenneth Lucero. (JJL)