Thursday, March 15, 2012

News Update Protesting young offenders hold Cebu jail guard hostage

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A commotion erupted in a jail facility for minors here when a guard was held hostage by a group of children in conflict with the law late Monday night.
A crisis was prevented with the prompt response of officials of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, who rushed to the Operation Second Chance in Barangay Kaulnasan here.
The guard went inside the Sto. Niño cell, which houses some 170 children, at around 11:45 p.m. Monday to do a headcount but he was later prevented from leaving.
Senior Inspector Elsie Irene Alcomendras, the jail warden, said the children refused to allow the guard to leave as they protested the alleged abuses against them by eight jail guards.
The children also sought an extension of their relatives’ visiting privileges and a stop to the transfer of several of their fellow wards, who are already no longer considered minors.
The guard, who was held hostage, was lucky to have some friends in the cell who managed to lock him in the comfort room away from harm.
The children then started a noise barrage.
The tension only subsided some three hours later when Alcomendras, who took over as warden only last Feb. 1, and some of the protesting children signed a covenant, after which the guard was allowed to leave the cell.
The jail authorities promised to look into the guards’ alleged abuses and the other demands of the children.
Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, a member of the Operation Second Chance’s management board, said she is bothered by the hostage-taking incident.
Osmeña was the one who initiated the establishment of the P16-million facility, the first of its kind in the country.
She said she is bothered by the children’s allegation that they were being maltreated.
She said though that they could not take major actions pending the results of the investigation into the incident. – With Jessica Ann Pareja/Freeman News Service - By Ryan Christopher Sorote/The Freeman