Child abuse raps vs. families eyed
() - August 2, 2006 - 12:00am
The city's anti-mendicancy task force is shifting its focus to another direction to combat vagrancy in the city.

Councilor Gerardo Carillo yesterday said they will no longer hesitate to take legal action on families of psychotic vagrants who refuse to take them back. This act, Carillo said, violates the Anti-child Abuse Law.

Carillo said that under the law, these psychotic vagrants are considered as children because their mental and physical conditions make it impossible for them to take care of themselves.

"We need to restore their human dignity as people," Carillo said. However, he said the task force cannot assure that the city streets would be completely free of vagrants during the ASEAN Summit in December.

Dr. Renato Obra of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center also said the families should do their part in addressing the problem and not completely rely on the government. Obra disclosed 50 percent of the 105 in- patients at the psychiatric department of VSMMC reportedly belong to well-off families. The problem is, the families of these patients would not take responsibility over the patients.

One example is when a family here in Cebu City reportedly refused to take back a patient that the hospital brought home.

Obra also admitted the financial assistance from the city government is not enough considering that the subsidy is not constant. The P22,000 budget for 2006 has not yet been released. Last year, the financial assistance was only about P1000 per month, which can only afford one vial of anti-psychotic tranquilizer. One vial is enough for only 10 patients.

From November 2005 to July 2006, the task force has rescued 283 vagrants, nine are male and 44 are female. Several non-government institutions helped in intervention like the National Commission for Indigenous People, Community Scout, shipping lines and parishes.

For the same period, the task force has sent home 10 vagrants to their families in the provinces and gave medical assistance to 12 vagrants. Meanwhile, three minor vagrants have been sent to school.

The task force has taken legal action on 46 vagrants for violating the city ordinance that prohibits the practice. Legal action was also taken against adult vagrants who used their children for mendicancy activities. - Joeberth Ocao

ABUSE LAW CARILLO CEBU CITY COMMUNITY SCOUT COUNCILOR GERARDO CARILLO DR. RENATO OBRA OF VICENTE SOTTO MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER FROM NOVEMBER INDIGENOUS PEOPLE JOEBERTH OCAO NATIONAL COMMISSION VAGRANTS
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