By Jeasselle Villalobos and Frances Apple Kahulugan
With the rising statistics of any form of crimes among the minors and adults, a nationwide curfew was approved during former president Gloria Arroyo’s administration on April 28, 2006. To strengthen this law, President Rodrigo Duterte enforced the strict implementation of curfew in the country with a prime purpose of ensuring the safety of Filipino citizens, especially the minors.
Following the implementation of curfew, President Rodrigo Duterte, declared Martial law in Mindanao after Marawi City was attacked and burned by the Maute group on May 23, 2017. That accident reflected the situation in the neighboring places; with over 117 km distance from Marawi to Misamis Oriental the province strengthen the security and followed the martial law.
A strict order of curfew and checkpoints was passed in every city, town and barangay within Misamis Oriental had been observed to catch the maute group members and to prevent more accidents and killings.
According to Cagayan de Oro city’s Social Welfare officer, Teddy Sabuga-a, in his interview in a newspaper, the objective of this advocacy is to strengthen the responsibility of the parents to their children.
“Advocacy in protecting children at risk from becoming children in conflict with the law, thereby curtailing incidence of crimes committed by children in partnership with various stakeholders,” he said.
The campaign to fully implement the curfew down to barangay level is on-going up to this date. Sabuga-a also mentioned that it would take time to call all barangay officials to impose the order but for some, they took the opportunity to take charge and enforce the curfew for the security of the town’s people.
Salay, Misamis Oriental is one of the towns in Northern Mindanao that had fully implemented the curfew ordinance to address the pressing problems in the community. Since then, citizens are ought to follow the rule and the situation brought changes to their lifestyle.
Life with a time limit
College students from Bukidnon State University – Salay External Studies have some adjustments in their routine since curfew was implemented. With no building intended for the college, they make use of Salay National High School’s classrooms, thus its classes start at 5pm to 10pm.
Christine Apol, a 20-year-old fourth year Education student from BSU-Salay, said that minors are mostly affected by the curfew. In her case, she isn’t severely affected by it since she’s already an adult.
“Sa amoa diri sa nag school sa BSU- Salay, taman mi diri sa 11 pm kay 10 pm man mi manguli unya mamaklay paman mi gikan gyud sa school unya ang uban manakayan pa syempre dugay man jud ang sakyanan kay gabie naman,” she said. [Here in BSU- Salay, we will be home by 11 pm because our class will end at 10pm and we still have to walk back home and others will still have to wait for too long for vehicles since it’s already late]
Since the curfew for adults is at 12 mn, BSU students are not directly affected by the policy. However, those who’ve went past the curfew are due for a warning from the authorities and officers in charge.
“Ulaw kung maabtan kas curfew unya maistoryahan dayun ka kay labi na ang mga tanod diri sakit pud biya na sila muistorya labi na kung late na.” [It’s a shame if you will get caught by the curfew because you will be reprimanded by the (barangay) tanod, especially when it is already late] Apol added.
Although Christine Apol is not fond of going out late at night, she still observed some differences in her lifestyle since curfew was implemented.
“There is a big difference jud kay sa una sa wala pay curfew. Naa gyuy time na human eskwela mag laag sa gyud with classmates ug wala gyuy maka pugong sa imo nga ‘curfew na, muoli na’ pero karun kaylangan gyud ka muoli diritso kay maabtan naman sa curfew” [There is a big difference as to before when there was still no curfew. There would be a time, after school, when we would decide to hang out and there was no curfew to stop us, but now we have to go home directly for us not to get caught by it.],” Apol said.
Apol supports the full implementation of curfew in Salay because she believes that it is a way to discipline the people, especially the youth. She also thinks that parents should be responsible enough to look out for their children, especially in light of the implementation of the curfew.
Implementing the ordinance
The Sangguniang Bayan of Salay, Misamis Oriental instituted a curfew in the municipality and imposed penalties under ordinance no. 2002-14 on March 2, 2002. It was later amended under ordinance no. 29-09 on August 10, 2009.
In 2017, the curfew was fully implemented abiding the rules of the ordinance.
The municipality has been very active in implementing the curfew due to prevalent problems in the area such as drug addiction, teenage pregnancy and malnutrition. It believes that imposing curfew is one of the ways to lessen pressing problems in the municipality.
No person aged 17 and below are allowed roam round the municipality after 10pm due to curfew. Meanwhile, adults aged 18 years old and above are not allowed to roam the area until 12 midnight to 3am. Special cases are considered once a reasonable cause is stated.
Philippine National Police-Salay (PNP) is in charge of curfew implementation. They work in coordination with the different barangays in Salay for full implementation.
Any citizen caught loitering around beyond the curfew without valid reason will be placed under protective custody of the police for the remaining curfew hours, and shall be released immediately upon the request of parent, guardian, or any member of the family.
“Since the implementation of curfew, it is observed that petty crimes have been reduced and so with the physical injuries,” Police-Community Relation (PCR) officer, SPO 1 Peter Salona, said.
For the month of July and August 2017; there were a total of 13 recorded curfew violators in Barangay Poblacion. With the full implementation of curfew, the officials already caught five people in Salay with serious cases in the span of two months.
To ensure the safety of the citizens and to fully support the said ordinance, certain changes were made such as closing of videoke before 10pm and the prohibition of 24-hour establishments.
“Videoke are already prohibited in the reclamation area and stores that sell hard liquors must close at 10pm. The mayor even have those 24-hour bakeries closed,” Salona stated.
The most challenging part of enforcing curfew is the implementation itself. Salona said that some people still asked why there is curfew in Salay; they even mentioned their rights as citizens.
Salona believes that it is through proper information dissemination that people would get to understand the importance of curfew. It is the duty of the PNP to promote curfew awareness in every barangay to ensure that its purpose is being understood down to household level.
“It is easier for the people to follow the rule if they are well-aware of the importance and benefits of it,” he added.
Other citizens’ take on curfew
Some of the citizens express their observations and opinions regarding the curfew in town. Jay Ar Alta, a third year IT student, said that there are lesser commotions since the curfew was fully implemented. He also stated that youths already go home early to avoid being caught by the officers.
Additionally, it is observed that there are less people loitering around past curfew hours because the officers are strict in arresting the violators and detaining them in the police station.
“Since among balay daplin man sa Highway, i observed na wala na kaayo galakaw-lakaw inig gabie kay dakpon man gyud sila,” Mayelle Capistrano, a TLE teacher at Salay National High School, said.
On the other hand, even with the amendment of the ordinance and the strict implementation of curfew, some of the citizens observed that there are still few people who disregard the ordinance and continue to go against it.
“Naa pa japun uy, especially mga batan-on nga gapabadlong,” said Paul Atasan, an IT graduate from BSU-Salay.
Furthermore, there are people who think that curfew is not effective because they did not feel the changes in town.
“Walay effect ang curfew. Wala papud koy nadunggan nga nadakpan man sad,” said Emma Caplaya, a mother.
Even with various observations, citizens in Salay Have common aspiration of peaceful and harmonious community. That is why there are those who fully support the curfew and its objective.
“Oo, I support the curfew gyud kay I believe na makatabang jud ni sa Salay. Para raman gihapon ni sa mga katawhan,” said Jane Babia, a teacher.
The primary purpose of having a curfew is to make sure that a place is safe from any harm and commotions may it be externally or internally caused. It also ensures the citizens and their rights to have a community that is free from worries over dangers around the place. Even if people isn’t much accustomed to the new rule and there are many areas affected (e.g. establishments, lifestyle), imposing curfew is one of the ways to manage any situation that may pose danger to the citizens not only in Salay, but also in the Philippines.
Jeasselle and Apple are students of Development Communication at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.