DAGUPAN CITY – In response to President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte’s call on curbing criminal activities in the country, Mayor Belen T. Fernandez created Task Force Discipline with her as chairperson to undertake massive information drive and campaign on instilling discipline in the city through the enforcement of the city’s standing ordinances especially on curfew hours.
Mayor Fernandez clarified that while she remains loyal to her political party, the Liberal Party, she along with 4th District Congressman-elect Christopher de Venecia is bent on supporting the programs of the Duterte administration.
In a meeting with Punong Barangays in the city, Mayor Fernandez and City Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo called on everyone to watch out and prepare for the full implementation of city ordinances especially City Ordinance No. 1771which enjoined parents, guardians, overseers of students and minors under their ward to require these minors to stay home from 10:00 o’clock in the evening till 4:00 o’clock in the morning with prescribed penalties for violators.
The ordinance mandates that the city, as a prime educational center of Northern Luzon, seeks to underscore the necessity to support the natural hope, dream and aspirations of every parent to see their children obtain quality education free from any peril, in keeping with the policy of the State to protect the family as a basic social institution.
Tamayo, author of the ordinance, said that a one-time, big time operation will be implemented in the city once a massive information campaign is over.
He said that while other cities in Metro Manila started re-implementing their ordinances on curfew hours after President-elect Duterte expressed his willingness to impose curfew hours in the entire country once he takes over as new President of the Philippines, it is but timely that the city re-visits this city ordinance and have it implemented.
On the other hand, City Administrator Farah Marie G. Decano, a lawyer and former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) chapter has been tasked by the task force to review the provisions of the existing ordinance and prepare the necessary amendments to include or exclude whatever it is that needs to be included or excluded in the ordinance in tune with the needs of the times.
Mayor Fernandez believes the implementation of the curfew hours will protect the children from the perils of illegal drugs.
She pointed out, though, that as much as possible the Task Force will refrain from arresting or detaining violators and will just focus on reminding people on the existing ordinance.
“The task force’s mandate is to instill discipline in our people by persuading them as much as possible to observe the provisions of the ordinance. But when the need arises, as in the case of people who have constantly defied the law or those who have adamantly observed the law, then we have no choice but to enforce the true intent of the law,” said Fernandez.
Under the ordinance, the Punong Barangay, Barangay Kagawads and the appointed Barangay Tanods are charged with keeping the minors away from the streets during the curfew hours. Minors caught loitering during the curfew hours will be accompanied by the tanods to their homes and to the safe company of their parents.
But if the minor was caught committing a felony, the tanods will bring the minor to the nearest police station to be held, under the law, for investigation by the Philippine National Police.
Personal data of minors violating the ordinance shall be recorded in a Confidential Barangay Record, including the circumstances of the person in charge of the minor.
However, the City Mayor may, through administrative issuances, suspend the implementation of the ordinance in any particular barangay, or other combination of barangays, for such number of days, whenever public interest so requires.
The Punong Barangay, may, during barangay fiestas or other public functions within his area of responsibility, issue an executive order suspending the implementation of the ordinance, for a period not exceeding seven days.
The ordinance also requires that a copy of the same be posted in all barangay halls and in three conspicuous places in the barangays.
The City Information Office is tasked in the ordinance to prepare a brief multi-media presentation for showing in the community channels of all cable networks operating in the city and in all cinemas.
The City Social Welfare and Development Office shall be the primary agency in monitoring the implementation of the ordinance with the assistance of the Liga ng mga Barangay.
In line with this, the office of the City Administrator will sound-off the siren one hour before the curfew hour to warn the minors and the parents.
In lieu of criminal prosecution, parents who do not require their minor children to observe the ordinance will either be submitted to administrative fines or community service.
Administrative fines would mean a warning for the first offense. For the second offense, the parent will pay P300.00 and P500.00 for the third offense. The penalties will be paid to the barangay treasurer.
The parent under the supervision of the Punong Barangay will undergo community service for eight hours per day, for such number of days will be submitted to the following penalties: warning for first offense, community service for three days for the second offense, and community service for five days for the third offense. The parent may escape serving the penalties on the second and third offense if he executes an affidavit that he has required his sibling to observe the curfew hours, in which case, the subject minor shall be required to suffer the penalties under the ordinance.
Lodging houses or dormitories are required to post a notice of this ordinance in their premises in order to be exempt from the penalties and transients or boarders found in violation of the ordinance shall suffer the penalties imposed.
Person in charge of the minor who neglects or fails to comply with the mandate of the ordinance, incorrigibly for the third time, shall be meted with imprisonment for seven (7) days and a fine in the amount of P5,000.
On the other hand, Dagupan City Police Station chief Police Superintendent Christopher N. Abrahano said that the police will also keep watch on people drinking in the streets after 10:00 o’clock in the evening and those not wearing any shirts.
Initially, the task force will be composed of the Philippine National Police, the City Administrator’s Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Councilor Tamayo, and the Liga ng mga Barangay with Mayor Belen as chairperson. (Joseph Bacani/CIO)