The municipality of Aborlan is deliberating on a Children’s Welfare Code, a comprehensive ordinance aimed at protecting and promoting the welfare of children.
Councilor Marissa Zumarraga, the main proponent of the ordinance, describes the measure as giving emphasis on the protection of children from criminal acts and abuses.
“Para maproteksyunan natin ang ating mga anak sakop na nito ang lahat, nandito na ang curfew, basta lahat ng mga hindi dapat na ginagawa na mga kabataan below 18 years old,” she said.
She said the measure will mandate the formulation of a comprehensive program to be undertaken by Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSDWO) and the Municipal Council for Protection of the Children.
She added it aims to protect children from prostitution, sexual abuse, child trafficking, obscene publication, indecent shows, and similar factors that disrupt their normal development.
Under the proposal, all establishments or enterprises which promote or facilitate child prostitution and other forms of child abuse shall immediately be closed and their authority or license to operate will be cancelled.
The measure includes a penalty the marking of erring establishments as “Child Rights Violator”.
Zumarraga said that any commercial establishment that operate electronic video games catering to young students during school days from 7:00 o’clock in the morning to 5:00 o’clock shall be penalized with the suspension of their business permit for 15 days during the first offense with P1,500.00 fine and one month suspension for second offense including a fine of P2,500.00.
The proposed ordinance also strictly prohibits children below 18 years old to be involved in any fundraising activity within the municipality.
Minors are also prohibited from loitering around or sleeping in public places after 10:00 o’clock in the evening until 4:00 o’clock in the morning.
“Sa ngayon madami tayong nakikita na mga kabataan na pagala-gala kahit gabi na pati ‘yong mga nasa computer shops kaya naisip natin na gumawa ng ordinansa,” Zumarraga said.
Parents and guardians who are found to be responsible for violating the ordinance will be compelled to undergo a seminar on parenting responsibilities and to undertake community service.
Zumarraga added that the measure also provides for the creation of an Out of School Youth (OSY) and indigenous community council to facilitate planning, decision making, implementation and evaluation of all government programs affecting children.
The town council will hold its 3rd public hearing on the ordinance on November 21.