by James “ Kojak ” Hughs

I was happy to see the Dumaguete City po lice finally, after 53 years, have heard the cry of our citizens and President Durerte and started to enforce the curfew laws. A law that is not enforced is merely a piece of paper and a mockery of justice.

My concern is not so much for the law as it is for the children. Children wandering around the city at two in the morning are a tragedy waiting to happen. If they do not get into trouble, they can easily become the victims of trouble. An old police axiom is “Preventing small crimes today reduces big crimes tomorrow”.

The ideal solution is for parents to be actual parents and supervise their children. Unfortunately, many parents either wont or can’t. For the sake of the children, we need to require parents to do their job.

An editorial in this paper pointed out several “problems”. I respectfully disagree there are no problems. There are several options to verify your age, including picture ID with a birth certificate. If you are under age and did not anticipate getting hungry, either have food delivered or have an adult get the food for you. Local businesses should not be hiring underage children, but if they do, their employment should be scheduled so they do not violate curfew. Children without parents or guardians need to be identified and protected for their own welfare. As the new president has called for the enforcement of curfews nationwide, underage visitors from other islands should be familiar with the law and its enforcement.

Like any government program the success is in how the program is implemented. As usual the solution is fairly simple and has been used by us before. Many years ago our beautiful city had a problem with public drunkenness. These drunks were not only getting into trouble, but were often getting hurt. The wise city fathers established a caged area where these drunks could be held for their own safety. In the morning they were released sober and unharmed. We can create a cage for curfew violators in the park. This will give several benefits to the community besides just keeping our curfew violating children safe. First and foremost, it will discourage future curfew violations and keep our children safe and out of trouble. It will also give worried parents a place to find their wayward children. In addition, we can check them for neglect or abuse. Civic minded organizations and individuals can provide food or medical treatment as needed. Parents can sign them out at anytime. The parents of repeat offenders can be encouraged to step up their control or suffer financially.

The heart of the Philippine culture is the family. We take care of and protect our family. It is time the Philippines became one big family and we started taking care everyone. We are our brother’s keeper. The loss on one child diminishes us all.

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