By AARON RECUENCO
Police forces in Metro Manila have arrested more than 100 minors for illegal drug cases from January to June this year, records from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) revealed.
NCRPO director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said the 116 minors arrested from January to June 17 this year is 24 percent higher compared to 88 arrested minors for the same period last year.
Interestingly, the two figures came in time when illegal drugs use or dealing should have already decreased since the war on drugs was launched in July 1, 2016. Based on the PNP data, Metro Manila is one of the regions with the most number of people killed in anti-illegal drugs campaign.
In some cases according to the records of the PNP, some of the arrested children are being used by their parents as drug couriers while some were caught for illegal drugs use.
Based on the NCRPO data, Manila Police District have the most number of mimors arrested with 35, followed by Quezon City Police District with 27.
Cities in southern part of Metro Manila had two minors arrested while 18 minors were collared in northern part of Metro Manila, or the CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) area.
A total of 5, on the other hand, were collared in the eastern part which include Marikina, Pasig, San Juan and Mandaluyong.
Minors also became some of the casualties in the drug war, following the death of some children when suspected vigilante groups would kill suspected drug personalities or in the police operation itself, such as the case of 17-year old Kian delos Santos in Caloocan City.
The involvement of minors in illegal drugs trade and even in using illegal drugs have prompted the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to recommend for the surprise and random drug test for minors starting Grade 4.
Critics and some senators, however, opposed the proposal, saying Grade 4 pupils are too young to suffer the ordeal of being subjected to drug test.
Once a minor is arrested either for using or peddling illegal drugs, they are turned over to the local Social Welfare and Development office and no charges are filed against them.