In her State of the Children Report yesterday, Mayor Paz Radaza said the number of minors who surrender in Oplan Tokhang in Lapu-Lapu City is already alarming.
Joy Torrejos
54 minors yield in ‘Tokhang’
Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman) - October 18, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least 54 minors in Lapu-Lapu City have surrendered since the Philippine National Police started implementing the Oplan Tokhang last July and the city government admits the figure is already alarming.

"I am saddened that there are minors who have been apprehended and who have surrendered through the Oplan Tokhang... This is already an alarming one," Radaza told thousands of students who listened to her State of the Children's Report in the Hoops Dome yesterday.

"Tokhang" is derived from the Cebuano words "toktok" and "hangyo" which mean "to knock" and "to invite." The initiative involves the police going around villages to invite suspected drug users and pushers to turn themselves in and to ask them to turn from their old ways.

Latest data from the City Social Welfare Services revealed that about 1,700 self-confessed drug personalities have so far turned themselves in to Lapu-Lapu City authorities.

While the city government has created an intervention program so that drug surrenderers, including minors, get the chance to be rehabilitated, Radaza passed the buck to the parents.

"Akong awhag sa mga ginikanan, ang mga maestra nga pahimangno-i ninyo kanunay ang inyong mga anak sa dili pagsulod sa bisyo o uban pang dautan nga binuhatan," she said.

She said parents should strive to build stronger families where each member can openly share their problems and worries without fear of being dismissed or misunderstood.

Radaza has also directed the barangay captains to intensify their enforcement of the city's 10 p.m. curfew ordinance for the protection of children.

"Kinahanglan nga wala na'y maglaroy-laroy nga mga kabataan sa kadalanan lapas sa oras nga gikatakda sa atong balaod sa curfew," Radaza said as she urged students to go home immediately after class dismissal.

The mayor suggested that as a safety measure, students may apply the "buddy system" in which a student would serve as a "police" to his or her friend.

"Gusto usab nako nga i-deputize ang tagsa-tagsa kaninyo sa pagpulis o pagbantay sa inyong mga classmate o mga higala. Gusto nako ipaabotninyong mga estudyane nga i-praktis ang 'buddy system,' diin kung mogawas mo sa inyong classrooms o sa inyong eskwelahan, o kun asa man kamo, kinahanglan duha kamo nga magkuyog," she said.

Since most students have social media accounts, particularly on Facebook, Radaza invited them to take part in finding solutions to the city's problems by reporting such issues to the Lapu-Lapu City government page or to her official page.

These pages, she said, are manned by personnel who interact with Facebook users who may want to raise issues concerning the city.

On education, Radaza said the city government has been hiring more teachers, as well as building more classrooms and acquiring more equipment. (FREEMAN)

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