The city government of Makati has imposed a ban on the sale and possession of plastic knives and knuckles as well as fan knives (balisong or beinte-nuebe) in the city after minors have been caught using these deadly toys and gadgets during petty quarrels.
Members of the City Council passed Ordinance No. 2017-113 amending the previous one enacted in August 1997, which prohibits the distribution, sale or display of gun replicas and toy guns with plastic pellets as bullets.
Airsoft guns, airguns and other similar items being used in lawful activities are not covered by the ban.
Mayor Abigail Binay pushed for the passage of the ordinance following reports about minors using plastic knives and knuckles during brawls or in harassing others. residents have also reported that some sari-sari stores near schools are selling sthose items to young school children.
“It is alarming that unscrupulous store owners are giving children access to these potentially harmful, even lethal, toy items. Urgent measures must be taken to stop the endangerment of the young and vulnerable and prevent lawless elements from using these ‘toys’ to victimize Makatizens,” Binay said.
Binay assured residents that the city government will exert all efforts to eliminate such threats to the safety and security of residents. She noted that access to such toys can also promote a culture of violence among the youth.
She also discouraged parents and guardians from buying such items as gifts during the holidays, urging them to be vigilant and promptly report the presence of any of the banned items in their communities to the authorities through hotline 168 or My Makati Facebook page.
The mayor has directed the office of the Liga ng mga Barangay of Makati to lead an information drive and crack down on stores or individuals which are violating the ordinance, particularly establishments and sari-sari stores near school premises.
Under the new ordinance, mere possession of the prohibited items, as defined in both the earlier ordinance and its amendment, is punishable with a fine of P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and a P3,000 fine or imprisonment not exceeding one month, or both at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding offense.
On the other hand, the older ordinance imposed the following penalties for distribution, sale or display of the prohibited items: First offense, P1,000 and/or three months closure or both; Second offense, P3,000 and/or six months closure or both; Third offense, P5,000 and/or cancellation of business permit for the year or both.
Moreover, if a child or minor is found violating the prohibitions (possession, selling or distribution) under said local laws, he or she will be subject to the provisions of Republic Act 9344 or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.”
The law sets the minimum age of criminal responsibility of minors to above 15 years but below 18 years at the time of the commission of the offense.
Under Section 6 of R.A. 9344, a child 15 years of age or under shall be subjected to an intervention program, which refers to a series of activities designed to address issues that caused the child to commit an offense. It may take the form of an individualized treatment program which may include counselling, skills training, education, and other activities that will enhance his/her psychological, emotional and psycho-social wellbeing.
If the offender is above 15 but below 18, he or she will be subjected to an intervention program, unless he or she has acted with discernment, in which case, he or she shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with the Act.
Under Section 20, upon determining that the age of the child taken into custody is 15 years and below, the authority which will have an initial contact with the child has the duty to immediately release the child to the custody of his/her parents or guardian, or in the absence thereof, the child’s nearest relative. Said authority shall give notice to the local social welfare and development officer who will determine the appropriate programs in consultation with the child and the person having custody over the child.
Devoted to promoting a child-friendly community, Makati had earlier passed its Child Protection Ordinance which sets a curfew for minors and promotes responsible parenthood among households.
Through its annual search for Makati’s “Most Child-Friendly Barangays,” the city government has also been closely monitoring the compliance of all 33 barangays with laws promoting child protection and development as well as their exemplary programs and practices for children’s welfare.