The rescue of 12 street-children by the social workers of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) this week who confessed their habitual purchase of contact cement, solvent and other non-controlled substances from lenient hardware stores prompted the local government of Valenzuela to immediately close down Homelife Merchandising and Monte Hardware to revoke their licenses to operate business.
Led by Mayor WIN Gatchalian, heads and representatives of the City Legal Office, Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO), CSWDO, Valenzuela Anti-Drug Abuse Council (VADAC), and Valenzuela City Police Station trooped to the establishments situated at Barangay Karuhatan to issue an immediate closure for the violation of City Ordinance No. 5, Series of 2010, otherwise known as “An Ordinance Regulating the Sale of Rugby and Other Types of Solvents in the City of Valenzuela.”
Mayor WIN reprimanded the apologetic store supervisors for selling sealants and contact cements to minors. He dismissed their claim of ignorance of the law by saying that they could just explain in courts. He refuted the lame excuses he hears, “Katakut-takot naman ang lumalabas na balita tungkol sa illegal na pagbebenta ng rugby, hindi pa ba obvious na masama ito? May moral na obligasyon ang mga may-ari na huwag nang itulak pa sa bisyong ito ang mga kabataan. (There are several news condemning the illegal sale of rugby, is it still not obvious that this act is hazardous? Hardware owners have the moral obligation not to push these children even further to this dangerous vice.)”
Solvents and contact cements contain Toulene, an addictive toxic substance listed in Table II of the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Prior the operation, clamor by parents and the community coursed through the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) urged the Mayor for immediate action on their children sniffing contact cements purchased from these hardware stores. The City Health Department further vouched that the matter requires prompt and immediate action because of the adverse effects on public health and safety.
It is an inherent power of the Mayor under the 1991 Local Government Code, General Welfare Clause, to promote the health and safety of their constituents. Under the law, “every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.”
In Mayor WIN’s dialogue with the minors who were positively identified the non-compliant business establishments, issues on parental negligence and poverty emanated as the reasons behind their misdemeanors. Mayor WIN promised to send these youth back to school and help their families with their financial difficulties. Their enrollment this school year, together with Mayor WIN’s provision of complete set of school supplies for each client elicited gratitude and the children promised that they will never return to their vice again.
The minors are presently being rehabilitated at the Bahay Kalinga ng Valenzuela in Barangay Canumay West that serves as a hub for those in need for immediate care and counseling and a host of after-care services to rescued and reached-out street children. Livelihood programs, Alternative Learning System (ALS) and other education assistance program are presently available in this haven.