PDEA eyes raps vs. parents of kids rescued in Navotas drug den

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) plans to file cases against the parents of minors rescued in a recent anti-drug operation in Navotas City.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the parents are liable for violation of Republic Act 7610, or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”.

“Child neglect is the simplest form of child abuse. Parents or guardians are answerable if they are unable to protect their children against abuse, exploitation and discrimination, or worse, they are the ones committing such acts,” Aquino said in a statement Tuesday, citing Section 2 of the law.

According to Aquino, the children belong to their homes under their parents’ care, not in the streets where they are exposed to danger at such a young age.

“PDEA emphasizes the important role of parents in keeping these kids off the streets. The parents, as head of the basic unit of society, must provide their children the basic services needed for a good quality of life,” the PDEA chief said.

Once proven that they coerced, forced, or intimidated their children to be involved in illegal drug trafficking, or pushing, parents will also be held responsible under Section 10 (e) of RA 7610.

If found guilty, they will suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six years and one day to eight years.

Last Jan. 16, PDEA operatives rescued 12 minors, aged four to 15 years old, and arrested two notorious drug suspects in alleged drug dens at Navotas Fishport in Barangay North Bay Boulevard.

Based on actual video surveillance footage, the rescued minors were used either as runners, pushers, or drug den maintainers, and were even shown facilitating and participating in the pot sessions.

When the children were taken into custody, PDEA observed the procedures in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 9344, or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006”.

The rescued children are now safe, and are housed inside Navotas City’s Bahay Pag-asa, a residential facility for Children in Conflict with the Law.

PDEA earlier announced the launch of the “Project Sagip Batang Solvent”, which is aimed at keeping these children away from being involved in illegal drug activities and be recipients of reformative, reintegrated intervention program in order for them to grow as upright members of society. PNA – northboundasia.com