MORALS OVER PROFIT

BY CAROLYN JANE ABELLO

February 14, 2018

City’s ‘morality police’ wary of sex predators

ILOILO City – Are motels, lodging houses and similar establishments complying with Regulation Ordinance ‎2015-447 that bars minors from entering their premises?

To find out, the city government’s Task Force on Morals and Values Formation is conducting a saturation drive today, Valentine’s Day.

By prohibiting anybody from spending time with minors alone in lodging houses, pension houses, inns, hotels, motels, apartelles and other similar establishments, the ordinance hopes to shield youngsters from predatory sexual activities.

In June 2016, a 15-year-old naked girl was found dead at a lodge in Arevalo district. Autopsy results showed she was beaten up and had genital lacerations. Police investigators said she checked in with an older man who left before the body was discovered.

According to task force chief George Duron, they will be monitoring 16 similar establishments mostly in Arevalo, Molo, Mandurriao, and La Paz districts.

The task force does not want to leave anything to chance, said Duron because “sa mga negosyante gusto na nila ‘ya ginansya gid.”

Duron had a meeting with operators of these establishments on Feb. 12.

Regulation Ordinance No. 2015-447, approved in November 2015, specified suspicious circumstances that should be a cause for alarm and must be prohibited. Two of these were:

* any person who, not being a relative of a minor, is spending time alone with the said minor inside a room or cubicle of a house, an inn, hotel, motel, pension house, apartelle or other similar establishments, vessels, vehicles or any hidden or secluded area under circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the child is about to be exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse; and

* any person who keeps or have in his company a minor below 18 years old or who is 10 years or more his junior and is not a family member, in any lodging houses, hotels, motels, beer joints, discotheques, cabarets, pension houses, saunas or massage parlors, beach resorts or similar places.

Under the ordinance, motels and similar establishments are required to post the notice “No Entry/Admittance of Minors” in their entrances and/or any conspicuous places in their premises.

Establishments/operators violating the ordinance face a fine of P5,000, imprisonment of one year and possible cancellation of business permit.

Duron said security guards must check if there are minors inside vehicles entering these establishments.

If minors insist on entering, they must be brought to the City Social Welfare and Development Office for proper documentation and turnover to their parents, said Duron./PN