The proposed amendment to the Children’s Welfare Code banning school kids from Internet cafes on school days was passed on second reading on Tuesday.
“We suggested to the City Council that our minors will be prohibited for Internet gaming in cafes during school days. In our existing ordinance, the provisions only cover certain hours in a day. But in this amendment, we would like to have it any time of the day during school days,” Councilor Richlyn Justol-Baguilod said in an interview.
However, the councilor, also the chair of the committee on women, children, and family relations, added that kids may be allowed for research purposes on certain hours of the day.
“But we still have to follow the curfew hours for minors. There is also an exemption during holidays,” she added.
Internet cafe operators are mandated to check the ID to determine if their customers are minors or not.
She said the proposed penalties for first offense is at P2,500, second offense is P3,500, and P5,000 for third offense plus cancellation of business permit.
“We will involve the barangay officials through the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children in monitoring the Internet cafes. We would also ask the help of other barangay officials, especially those in the peace and order sector, to ensure the implementation of this proposed provisions,” she said.
“In my experience as a former barangay official, we created a task force that will go around the Internet cafes in the barangays and report it to the law enforcers,” she added.
Meanwhile, Justol also added that initially, the group of Internet cafe owners in the city resisted the new provisions in the Children’s Welfare Code but they eventually agreed with the proposal.
“During our previous committee hearing together with the ICAD or the Internet Cafe (Association of Davao), most of the Internet cafe owners were not amenable to the required provisions but we have settled it already,” the councilor said.
The proposed amendments on the Children’s Welfare Code of the City is set to be passed on third and final reading next week.
The previous provisions of the Children’s Welfare Code of the City prohibits any minor from staying in internet cafes only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and between 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. on school days unless for specific educational or study purposes.
A similar Ordinance No. 0387-12 Series of 2012 or the Internet Cafe Ordinance also regulates the number of hours allowed for minors to stay in internet cafes.