MANILA, Philippines — A Manila city councilor proposed on Tuesday penalties for parents and guardians of children who have resorted to begging, vending and prostitution.
Fourth district councilor Amalia Tolentino said it was the second time she was filing Ordinance No. 6930 to provide "special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination."
"There are many kids walking the streets, at night, selling sampaguita or begging. Some say these are just fronts for some who engage in prostitution,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.
Tolentino said that whenever she asked the kids where their parents were, they replied that they were "at home" or were "sick." She said she wondered why they even allowed their children to work when they should be studying or resting at home at night.
"For me it (poverty) shouldn’t be an excuse. You should do everything to support your children. Why are they allowing them to sell sampaguita or to wipe windshields?" said the mother of three.
Curfews, she added, were usually relegated to the village officials while an ordinance that would penalize parents would make them responsible for raising their kids properly.
In Tolentino’s proposed ordinance, she said the "city government of Manila has a duty to protect and rehabilitate children gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances which affect or will affect their survival and normal development and over which they have no control."
She suggested a P5,000 fine or imprisonment of six months, upon discretion of the court, for those who would violate the ordinance.