Salceda Opposes Youth Curfew Proposal

A lawmaker at the House of Representatives said a measure imposing juvenile curfew is “ineffective” in reducing crime rates and victimization.

In a statement, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda cited various studies exhibiting the “inefficiencies” of juvenile curfew–cases wherein gunfire incidents occurred more frequently compared to when the juvenile curfew was in effect; or the law being eventually discarded since it was not making a relevant difference on juvenile crimes.

“Curfew laws penalize normal juvenile behavior, introducing them early on the criminal justice system without the fully developed maturity,” Salceda said.

Salceda said in the United States, even without the juvenile curfew measure, arrest rates for 10- to 17-year-olds have declined, reaching an all-time low in 2016 with only 2,553.

As for the case in the Philippines, Salceda noted that many teenagers take the role of being the breadwinner of the family, some “juggling” part and full-time jobs during graveyard shifts.

“This measure preempts the youth in achieving the full opportunity to make ends meet,” he said.

The lawmaker said in Manila alone, 2.5 million children live below the poverty line in which around 75,000 are homeless after running away from home or being abandoned.

“This measure will discriminate these children as they scavenge for food and work meager jobs, even during the late hours of the night, just to survive,” he said.

He said the curfew proposal hinders the recognition of the youth’s rights to public space, liberty, travel, and privacy, stressing that the youth’s presence in public spaces should not be perceived as a criminal activity.

“This measure may also create future disparities as criminal records obtained as a child will prevent them from achieving their full potential on different opportunities, such as education and employment,” Salceda said.

“The juvenile curfew is not proven effective in deterring crimes, the same way that it prohibits opportunities to the working youth, and a step backward in the full recognition of their rights,” he added.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the implementation of the city’s curfew hours for minors is in “full blast”, with around 400 minors taken into custody by the Manila Police District (MPD) on the first few hours of its implementation.

The new city ordinance seeks to establish protection and discipline for minor children and wards in the area from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera filed House Bill No. 3343, which seeks to mandate and strictly implement a set of hours during night time prohibiting minors from remaining outside of the home as a means of maintaining public order and safety and preventing the further rise in criminality.

Herrera said the measure also aims to protect minors from the potential threat that may arise in the remote environment which may be harmful or detrimental to their development. (PNA)