(File photo)

An ordinance which seeks to outlaw the acceptance or membership of minors into fraternities, sororities, and gangs was filed Monday at the Puerto Princesa City Council in a bid to protect them from abuse.

Ordinance author councilor Henry Gadiano said his proposal is backed by Articles 2 and 14 of Section 3 and 13 of the 1987 Constitution which is about the protection and development of the youth.

“Dito sa Puerto mas gusto nating makita na ang mga kabataan ay hindi makasama sa mga ganoon. Ang sinasabi natin dito ay mga kabataan, meaning, ‘yong mga minors, below 18 years old (In Puerto Princesa City, we don’t want to see the youth becoming members of these groups. What we’re talking about here is the youth, meaning minors who are below 18 years old),” Gadiano told Palawan News.

He said today’s young people are inclined to join fraternities, sororities, and gangs for recognition, or to be famous, only to realize later they joined the wrong organization.

Gadiano said proposing the measure is a way for the city government to intervene in taking care of the welfare of the youth.

“Ang inclination kasi ng mga kabataan sa kanilang age group ay parang recognition ang gusto nila, ‘yon bang makilala, pasikat. Hindi sila katulad ng ibang mga [groups o] fraternities ng mga indibidwal who group themselves for professional reasons, pero ang mga kabataan wala silang maganda at totoong dahilan. Wala silang vision, mission, objective (The inclination of today’s youth in joining fraternities of their age group is for pure recognition, to be recognized, to be famous. They’re not like other groups or fraternities of individuals who group themselves for professional reasons. They don’t have vision, mission, or objectives),” said Gadiano.

The proposed ordinance aims to prevent incidents relating to psychological suffering, and physical abuse that may lead to death due to the initiation practice which is a prerequisite for admission into membership.

He said a minor who will be found breaking this law will be referred to the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD).

According to the ordinance, it will be unlawful for any person to recruit a minor to fraternities, sororities, and gangs within the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Puerto Princesa.

“The City Government of Puerto Princesa recognizes its vital role to promote and protect the physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being of every minor,” Gadiano reiterated in the policy he drafted.

In this proposed ordinance, anyone who will be found in transgression of the set policy and still recruit a minor will be penalized with a maximum fine of five thousand pesos and/or up to three-month imprisonment upon court’s discretion.

Gadiano encouraged the youth to focus on sports and academics instead of joining or creating “fraternities, sororities, and gangs.”

Furthermore, he advised the parents to keep engaged in the life of their children.

“Ang parents talaga sa totoo lang kapag [ang bata] ay minor pa, you are totally responsible for your children. Kapag ang mga kabataan ay natuto ng tamang asal o gawain sa loob ng bahay, pag-lumabas ng bahay ‘yan tama din ang gagawin niya (If the child is a minor, the parents are totally responsible for their children. If they learn good values at home, when they go out of it they will carry with them good values too),” said Gadiano.

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