For years, minors in drug rehabilitation centers have been breaking free from the facilities but fear from getting involved with the anti-drug campaign has stopped them.
Among the surrenderees in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war are minors, ten thousands of them.
From July 1 to August 28, or roughly the first two months of President Duterte’s term in office, 20,584 minors have surrendered to local police offices, according to the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC).
Thirty percent of them did not even have files with the police.
13,000 have previos records as "first-time offenders" while 1,595 were repeat offenders.
Ninety-eight percent of these minor surrenderees admitted to being drug users, while only 273 or 1.33 percent surrendered as drug pushers or sellers, and 66 (0.32 percent) as drug couriers or runners.
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Of this total, 3,971 were children from Central Visayas. Northern Mindanao, meanwhile, has the second highest number of children drug surrenderees at 3,783. Zamboanga region came in far third with 2,196.
PNP arranged the data by regions in the country:
-Davao Region, 1,988 minors;
- Caraga, 1,821;
- Soccsksargen, 953;
- Negros Island, 729;
- Bicol Region, 719;
-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 696;
- Eastern Visayas, 642;
-Cagayan Valley, 511;
- Central Luzon, 479;
- Western Visayas, 408;
- Ilocos Region, 387;
- Metro Manila, 276; and
-Cordillera Administrative Region, 228.
This tally was from data gathered in two months and is a big leap from the PNP records from 2010 until 2016.
Minors involved in illegal drugs during the 78-month period covering 2010 until June 2016 included 5,110 illegal drugs users and 371 “traders/sellers.”
PDEA recorded a total of 889 rescued minors from anti-drug operations across the country during the 66 months running from 2011 to June 2016. Of this number, 383 were noted as drug possessors; 343 as drug pushers; and 92 as drug users; 40 as “visitors of a Drug Den”; eight as drug runners; seven as illegal drug cultivators; four as drug trade “cohort”; four as drug- den “maintainer”; three as drug trafficker; three as drug-den employees; and two as drug couriers.
Under the law, minors are to be treated differently from legal aged offenders. Police are to refer to their rescue as "initial contact" and not "arrest".
Processing of drug surrenderees are also different for minors.Drug tests can be done on rescued minors only if they have a determined drug-related offense. But when a child is a surrenderee, he or she will be subjected to a drug test upon surrendering.
This is because the child volunteered and the substance he/she used has to be determined.
PNP Women and Children Protection Center chief Rosauro Acio said that children are to be handled more sensitively.
“If the child claims that he is being abused, we have to look for the abuser, we have to look for the syndicate,” he says. “(The abuser) would be the one facing a case in court, and the child should be considered as the victim.” Acio said.
Before the child can be returned to the parents, a Certificate of Live Birth from the Philippine Statistics Authority should be presented or through a dental check-up to prove their affiliation.
A child in conflict with the law or CICL should also be turned over immediately or not later than eight hours to the Local Social Welfare Development Office (LSWDO) or an accredited non-government organization (NGO). Thier families should be noted immediately.
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CICLs who are 15 years old and below will be immediately released to their parents, guardian, or nearest relative.
Locking up a child is prohibited but if detention is necessary, the PNP manual continues, the child shall be separated from adult offenders and offenders of the opposite sex. MJM
SOURCE: ABS-CBN News, PCIJ
20,584 kids 'users, pushers, runners' in drug war list Reviewed by FNPH Correspondent on Saturday, September 24, 2016 Rating: