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ROUGH CUTS | The rise of crimes against children

IN a recent television news report, the Police Regional Office (PRO) XI disclosed that there were more crimes committed against children that those against adult individuals in the past one year. And even if it was not elaborated by the spokesperson of the Women and Children’s Unit of the PNP, it was clear that largely to blame for the rise in crimes against children is the still raging CoViD 19 pandemic. And according to the same official most suspects were either related to the family of victims or those that the family has trust.

     Well, the reason why the pandemic is pointed to as largely to blame is because, families and those other people who may be relatives or considered trusted friends are for so long “holed” up in their houses. With male and female household members co-mingling most of the hours of the day and even during the night, children are prone to commit mistakes or their boredom could lead to undesirable behavior which to some other persons in the house, vexations to their spirit.  And to let out their anger they may be led to vent their ire to the children whose comportment may have touched their sensitivity or awaken the criminal mind in them.

     On the other vein, while the crimes committed against children were not detailed as to what these are, it is already common knowledge that the dominant one is sexual molestation. This crime can be attributed to the closer contact among male and female adults and children members of the household while staying at home due to restriction in movement to prevent infection of the deadly virus. Hence, when the heads of families are out finding means to survive, male members left behind find opportunity to perpetuate what is in their criminal minds.

     Indeed the all too trusting characteristic of Filipinos is sometimes taken advantage by some relatives and close friends. One example, and perhaps the latest crime committed against children, is the one perpetrated by a man who was allowed by his girlfriend the Overseas Filipino Worker mother of the two young victims, to move to her house even as she was not around. In fact they haven’t met with each other yet, according to the report.

     The crime happened only late last week in Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental. The suspect who was arrested by the police claimed that he moved to the house of his OFW girlfriend and mother of the victims because he was allegedly asked by her to look after her two daughters, 15 and 5 years old, respectively.

     And during that fateful night a young girl who was about to go to the house of the victims on errand by her mother, said she heard a shout coming from the house but shortly thereafter the shout turned into a deadly silence. When she and other neighbors went to the residence to find out, what they saw were the lifeless bodies of the two children victims. The two were strangled. Later the police said the 15-years old was likely raped after doctors found laceration in her private parts as well as man’s semen.

     As a line in a song goes, “Too much love can kill.” So is “too much trust” brought about by an unworthy and blinded love can kill as well.

     Given all these possibilities it is our take that measures to protect the children from criminal elements have to be crafted and implemented first and foremost, at home. And parents must lead the way.

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     We are happy to note that the barangay captain of Talandang, Tugbok District has finally worked out  a project changing the existing round culvert used as waterway from a creek that crossed the barangay road going to Calinan. The replacement is a box culvert which can provide bigger space for larger volume of water to pass without overflowing the road.

     Kapitan Cinderella Dumagan Hiyas is already frustrated with the intermittent flooding of the central portion of her barangay every time heavy rains fall. Imagine her place is located on top of some hills yet ends up inundated by flood water! Flood did not happen in the barangay some 30 to 40 years ago and the creek mentioned herein can still easily accommodate the volume of water passing through it. But starting in early 2000 floods became visitors as often as there are strong rains falling in the area.

     Of course, the landscape in Talandang, as it is in many rural barangays, has changed a lot with the coming in of large poultry and swine farms. The influx of these agri-based businesses led to the cutting of large coconut and rubber tree plantations which in the past were best deterrents to floods.

     Today hardly any standing rubber or coconut trees enough to absorb the rainwaters can be seen. Even former coffee and cacao farms have given way to poultry and swine compounds.

     This has of course brought benefits to the barangay in terms of income and provision of jobs to the locals. But the trade-off is at times calamitous.

     We can only hope that the new project of the lady barangay captain can give even just a semblance of relief from the impact of the floods in the village that are getting more frequent these days.

                                                                                    

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