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Urban poor body supports anti-tambay drive

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Urban poor body supports anti-tambay drive
PCUP chairman Noel Felongco said that operations to rid the streets of tambay would benefit the poor as this will help curb criminality in their communities.
Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) has expressed support for the police campaign against tambays or loiterers.

PCUP chairman Noel Felongco said that operations to rid the streets of tambay would benefit the poor as this will help curb criminality in their communities.

“I think the target is not the poor but rich or poor citizens who break the law should be held liable,” he said in Filipino.

Some 18,763 individuals have been apprehended in Metro Manila in the past 15 days since the Philippine National Police (PNP) started its crackdown against tambays. 

He said the PNP is just doing its job in enforcing local ordinances in its anti-tambay drive. 

President Duterte ordered police to round up minors and tambays, a local term for those who “stand-by” in the streets, otherwise they face apprehension for being “potential trouble for the public.”

Felongco said this directive shows the political will of the President to ensure the peace and security situation in the streets. 

The head of the PCUP brushed aside the death of 25-year-old Genesis Argoncillo, who was killed while he was in police custody several days after he was arrested for not wearing a shirt while buying cellphone load at a store near the victim’s house in Barangay Sauyo, Quezon City.

Felongco said Argoncillo’s arrest was valid as he was violating an ordinance and that his death was thoroughly investigated by police, which led to the arrest of the two inmates who beat him up inside the Novaliches police station 4 detention cell. 

He also defended the administration’s policies, including the war on drugs, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law and the anti-tambay initiative, which the opposition has tagged as anti-poor. 

The PCUP yesterday conducted its first State of the Urban Poor Address in Barangay Payatas.

Felongco said addressing the plight of the poor is one of the main agendas of the Duterte administration, including reducing poverty incidence to 15 percent from the current 21.6 percent. 

The Department of Education (DepEd) urged parents and teachers to keep their children at home to ensure the safety of children amid efforts of the government to strengthen its campaign against tambays.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones reminded parents and teachers to ensure the safety of students amid strengthened efforts against violators of local ordinances. 

“What we can do is to warn, to ask the teachers to tell students not to linger in the streets after particular hours,” she said.

“It is a major responsibility of parents to keep the children at home after particular hours,” she added.

Briones said that minors apprehended for violating certain ordinances should not be detained since it is prohibited under the juvenile justice and welfare law.

“We have a law. We do not put children in prison,” she said, noting that proposals to lower the age of criminal liability have not been approved.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has called for an inquiry into the campaign of the administration against loiterers, which he said could be violating human rights, as well as the existing laws of the country.

Trillanes filed Senate Resolution 775 last Thursday, calling on the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson to conduct the inquiry, in order to ensure that the PNP is acting within its mandate and the bounds of the law in rounding up the tambays.

“The seeming arbitrary arrest of tambays is rife with possible human rights violations as it constitutes warrantless arrest similar to that during martial law,” Trillanes said.

In the resolution, Trillanes cited a case in Makati where two call center agents were brought to a police station while they were waiting outside a friend’s house.

Based on a report, they were allegedly detained for an hour and were told that President Duterte’s recent pronouncement against tambays was the reason for their detention and that the President’s word is law.

Trillanes noted how the campaign has already led to the death of Argoncillo who was accosted for loitering and died while inside the jail of the Quezon City Police District.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Diño yesterday said barangay officials should prioritize the construction of temporary shelters for minors accosted in the government’s crackdown on vagrant youths.?

Minors who are caught are going to be protected inside halfway houses, said Diño. It is a venue where they will be served food and undergo counseling.?

“Their parents will also undergo counseling,” said Diño.?

Diño said parents are liable under the Family Code of the Philippines if they do not take care of their children.?

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos said ladies like her feel safer with the implementation of Oplan RODY (Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youth) otherwise known anti-tambay drive.

Marcos told local reporters in Dagupan City that she comes from a local government, like President Duterte who was a mayor, and it is difficult when there are loiterers in their area.

She understands the feeling of young ladies, like students or salesladies, who go home in the evening and have to walk through dark places.

“They’re frightened when they see drunkards in the streets or noisy men without t-shirts,” she said. – With Janvic Mateo, Marvin Sy, Emmanuel Tupas, Eva Visperas

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