According to the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) statistics collected, from July 1 to August 28, or roughly between the first two months of newly-elected President Duterte’s term in office, 20,584 minors have already surrendered to local police offices.
Many drug-addicted minors have continually escaped from drug rehabilitation centers in recent years, but fear of being swept by the anti-drug campaign has discouraged a lot of them lately. 30% of this youth are record-free with the police.
About 13,000 have previous records as "first-time offenders" while 1,595 were repeat offenders. Ninety-eight percent of these minor surrenders admitted to being drug users, while only 273 or 1.33 percent surrendered as drug pushers or sellers, and 66 (0.32 percent) as drug couriers or runners.
Of this total, 3,971 were children from Central Visayas. Northern Mindanao, meanwhile, has the second highest number of children drug surrenderees at 3,783. Zamboanga region came in far third with 2,196.
PNP arranged the data by regions in the country:
-Davao Region, 1,988 minors;
- Caraga, 1,821;
- Soccsksargen, 953;
- Negros Island, 729;
- Bicol Region, 719;
-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 696;
- Eastern Visayas, 642;
-Cagayan Valley, 511;
- Central Luzon, 479;
- Western Visayas, 408;
- Ilocos Region, 387;
- Metro Manila, 276; and
-Cordillera Administrative Region, 228.
This tally was collected during the two months and served as big leap from the PNP records from 2010 until 2016.
Reports show that minors involved in illegal drugs during the 78-month period covering 2010 until June 2016 included 5,110 illegal drugs users and 371 of them are “traders/sellers.”
Based on a record from PDEA, a total of 889 minors were rescued from anti-drug operations across the country during the 66 months running from 2011 to June 2016. With this, they concluded that 383 were noted as drug possessors; 343 as drug pushers; and 92 as drug users; 40 as “visitors of a Drug Den”; eight as drug runners; seven as illegal drug cultivators; four as drug trade “cohort”; four as drug- den “maintainer”; three as drug trafficker; three as drug-den employees; and two as drug couriers.
In contrast to how police treat regular offenders, these young offenders' rescue will be considered as "initial contact" and not "arrest".
PNP Women and Children Protection Center chief Rosauro Acio admitted that children are to be handled more sensitively by the police.
“If the child claims that he is being abused, we have to look for the abuser, we have to look for the syndicate,” he says. “(The abuser) would be the one facing a case in court, and the child should be considered as the victim.” Acio said.
The jailing of a child is strictly prohibited. However, the PNP manual states that child shall be separated from adult offenders when detention is necessary.
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