‘Where is local council tasked to protect kids?’

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman) - December 14, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Are barangay councils tasked to protect the welfare of children actually doing their job?

This is what Mayor Paz Radaza would like to know following Friday’s arrest of a suspected pimp and the eventual rescue of three minor girls inside a pub on Maximo Patalinjug Avenue in Barangay Pajo.

"Actually, nahibong ko when I read the newspaper kay we have a local council for the protection of children wherein part sa trabaho nila is ang pag-check sa mga bar, disco-han o mga karaoke houses kung wala ba’y minor," she said.

On Friday evening, police arrested alleged recruiter Jojo Andrino Sanchez, 22, resident of Barangay Labogon, Mandaue City for reportedly pimping out the girls.

Two of the rescued teens are aged 17 while the other one is 14. They hail from Consolacion, Compostela and Mandaue City.

Sanchez, who also goes by the name “Carla,” reportedly invited the girls for a party, but they ended up meeting a man instead who Sanchez described as one of their “guests,” not knowing that he was a police decoy.

Yesterday, Sanchez went through inquest proceedings at the City Prosecutor's Office where the minors’ parents were present.

The parents declined to grant media interviews.

During the proceedings, Prosecutor Aida Castillo gave the suspect five days to submit his affidavit, said Police Officer 2 Maria Filipina Branzuela of Gun-ob Police Station.

"The children will remain in the custody of DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for the mean time. But if the parents want to take their children, they will be the ones to settle it with the agency," Branzuela said.

Charges for violation of Republic Act 9208 (Qualified Trafficking in Persons) and Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection for Children against Child Abuse) will be formally lodged against Sanchez tomorrow.

At the moment, the suspect is detained at the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office holding cell.

Meanwhile, after the incident, Radaza said she will call the attention of bar owners, as well as barangay officials.

Herself a former member of a barangay council looking after children’s safety, she said they used to inspect bars and videoke houses to make sure there were no minors inside.

The inspections would happen twice a month, she said, along with checking of business permits of the establishments and health cards of the employees.

"Ilahang pangutan-on ang management ug istoryahon ang mga tawo if minor ba gyud if ever naa’y suspicious looking minors,” she added.

She said establishments allowing minors in may face cancellation of business permit or closure.

The mayor also assured that they will continue their efforts to fight sex trafficking and cyber-pornography in the city in coordination with the Children's Legal Bureau and International Justice Mission.

The FREEMAN tried to get the comment of Pajo Barangay Captain Junard Chan yesterday but calls were left unanswered. (FREEMAN)

ACIRC BARANGAY LABOGON BARANGAY PAJO CHILD ABUSE CHILDREN CITY PROSECUTOR COMPOSTELA AND MANDAUE CITY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT JOJO ANDRINO SANCHEZ REPUBLIC ACT SANCHEZ
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