A YOUTH group expressed alarm after more local government units and their respective police commands have begun implementing or are planning to duplicate Oplan RODY or Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youth in an effort to curb vices and petty crime.
The Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan or SPARK has asked city officials to suspend the implementation of their ordinances and make it in tune with the recent societal changes brought about by programs of the national government such as the K-12 program of the Department of Education as well as the student employment program of the labor department which commenced only in 2009.
Oplan Rody is reportedly to be in full swing in the cities of Quezon City, Las Pinas, Manila, Pasay, Caloocan, Malabon, Mandaluyong and Makati.
Recently, the cities of Bacoor in Cavite and Lipa in Batangas have as well “activated” their long-standing ordinances to prohibit minors outside their homes from 10pm to 4am. Police officials in Mandaue City in Cebu province also intends to implement its curfew ordinance which was passed in 1999. The Mayor of Baguio City has also publicly expressed his support for Oplan Rody.
“On one side, we admit that local government units have the responsibility to curb petty crime and vice but then again it counteracts other programs that the national government has implemented only recently,” said Joanne Lim, member of the National Secretariat of SPARK.
The Diliman-based activist lamented that the city mayors and police have mindlessly and indiscriminately enforced their “Jurassic” ordinances in an effort to get into the good side of the next administration without taking into account the day-to-day struggles of commuting and working students.
“If Oplan Rody’s implementation in Metro Manila systematically and indiscriminately victimized students in the past weeks, how much more if implemented as well in the cities and municipalities around Metro Manila where they are enrolled and employed,” Lim reasoned.
“If only students do not suffer from horrendous traffic jams, flooded streets in the rainy season and inadequate public transport systems on a daily basis then it can be implemented as early as 10pm but that is not the case. The immense volume of people travelling to and from Cavite, Rizal and Laguna, many of them students will require longer travelling hours”.
“Senior High students as well as working students will need more latitude and consideration from authorities,” she said.
Lim added that, “to implement the curfew in the manner which is done as seen on television is not only traumatic but also indiscriminate. Such draconian measures and methods cannot be implemented without violation of human rights because all minors found past 10pm, are under the presumption of criminal activity not unless proven to be enrolled or came from their graveyard shift at work”.
SPARK claims that it is willing to sit down with city and police officials in order to formally present the side of the students and ensure that their rights and welfare are guaranteed at all times.