Wednesday, January 10, 2007
36 street kids rounded up
By Marna H. Dagumboy
CAMP OLIVAS — At least 36 street children, mostly vendors, were apprehended in Angeles City to prevent them from being exploited by suspected pedophiles hounding the entertainment area, a police official said.
Angeles Police Chief Sonny Cunanan also said the move was part of the City Government’s anti-vagrancy campaign.
This developed as some 200 sidewalk stalls owned by Muslim traders were removed from the area, declogging the heavy volume of motorists passing along the commercial area of the city.
Cunanan said the sidewalk where the stalls were located can now be used by pedestrians.
He said the Muslims traders agreed in demolishing their stalls after realizing that their presence along the sidewalk has aggravated or contributed to the heavy flow of traffic in the area. The Muslim traders were transferred to another street adjacent to the newly constructed public market.
"We just implemented what is good for them and for the city," said Cunanan, adding that motorists and pedestrians have heaves a sigh of relief with the "new look" of the city’s downtown area.
Angeles Police Women’s and Children’s Section Chief Myrna Latorre said the rescued children were brought to the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) for disposition. She said most of the rescued children were turned over to the Bahay Bata Center, an institution taking care of orphans and abused children.
The other children, Latorre said, were brought to a government rehabilitation center in Magalang, Pampanga that is being run the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called Haven.
She said the children, aged six to 17 years old, were roaming the Fields Avenue area as flower vendors, beggars, and scavengers. She said they called the attention of the children’s parents and educated them of the law about exploitation on children.
"Once we see these children back on the streets, we will file cases against their parents," she said.
Meanwhile, Latorre said she recommended for the closure of the Citylights Kabaret where they found minors working there as guest relations officers (GROs) during a recent raid in the place.
Cunanan said the police and the City Government are serious in cleansing the city of lawlessness so that peace and order and more tourists and investors would come in Angeles.