Mandaue stores under watch for sale of solvents to minors

Posted on October 11, 2012

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by Jucell Marie P. Cuyos and Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondents

Mandaue City Hall will monitor all establishments selling solvents and other volatile substances to minors.

City Legal Officer Giovanni Tianero said this amid reports that a growing number of street kids are using Vulcaseal in lieu of rugby.

He said his office will take legal action against these establishments provided there are witnesses.

“Our concern is when the adults will buy the Vulcaseal for the minors,” Tianero said.

He pointed out that they will monitor these establishments to see if they are following city ordinance prohibiting the sale of solvents to minors.

Senior Supt. Petronelli Baldebrin, Mandaue City police chief, said he directed all precinct chiefs to monitor and bring the street children caught sniffing solvent to the City Social Welfare Office (CSWS).

Baldebrin said the police will have to be careful in dealing with minors due to the Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Act of 2006 which prohibits them from arresting juvenile delinquents. A meeting will be held this Friday, he said.

Among their proposed solutions in dealing with solvent-sniffing minors is holding film showings for them.

“So they can be made aware of what they are doing,” Baldebrin said.

Tianero said a city ordinance penalizes establishments selling solvents to minors.

First time violators are fined P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense and closure and a P5,000 fine for the third and succeeding offenses.  Tianero said children are exempted from the penal provision of the ordinance and will undergo an intervention program instead.

He clarified that the ordinance covers all hardware distributors, wholesalers or retailers.

CSWS Chief Violeta Cavada said about 25 hardcore street children undergo the  Alternative Learning System (ALS) only to escape such shelters as Batang Pinangga in Carmen town and Teen Challenge in Cebu City.

“These kids want their freedom,” Cavada added.

Cebu City Health social worker Romulo Velasquez of the Pari-an Drop-in Center confirmed that several Cebu City street kids aged eight to 12 years old are also using Vulcaseal.

He said the street kids inhale Vulcaseal to dull their hunger pains.

Some of these street kids are brought to the Pari-an Drop-in Center only to escape. “We don’t have high walls,” Velasquez said.  The Pari-an Drop-in Center was established in 1991.

Velasquez said they are  partnering with the Children in Need for Special Protection task force that was founded by Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña, wife of Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district.

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