The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued an advisory dated June 23 on how to handle children who violate quarantine rules, and how to identify different levels of risks in children that may require additional forms of protection.
The DILG said these guidelines were designed to lessen the transmission of COVID-19 while also protecting the children from violence.
Upon encountering children outside their homes during community quarantine, barangay officials and law enforcers are required to, among others:
The advisory detailed how to identify a child's risk level, if applicable. These include children at risk (CAR) and children in conflict with the law (CICL) as defined by the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.
CARs include those who are abused, exploited, abandoned, out of school, from a dysfunctional family, or living in a high-risk community.
Meanwhile, CICLs are children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility of 15 who have committed an offense under Philippine laws. (READ: Children deal with abuse, fears of coronavirus in 'Houses of Hope')
The advisory also includes "children in street situations," who depend on the streets to live and/or work, whether alone, with peers, or with family.
The DILG and the Council for the Welfare of Children issued a similar Joint Memorandum Circular on April 6 on protocols on reaching out to street children, CARs, and CICLs during enhanced community quarantine.
Various reports have emerged of authorities inflicting punishments on minors who violate quarantine rules – some of which human rights groups said were "uncalled for."
On April 5, a barangay captain in Pampanga made LGBTQ+ quarantine violators do lewd acts in front of a minor as punishment.
In Laguna, minors were ordered to reenact their quarantine offenses "with feelings" on camera by a man alleged to be a police chief.
In cases of abuses committed by authorities against children, the Ateneo Human Rights Center said the minors, as represented by their legal guardians, could opt to file for criminal charges for possible child abuse.
The Commission on Human Rights could also independently investigate the matter. – Rappler.com