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By: Mylen Manto | Published Thursday, May 07, 2020
Children in conflict with the law (CICL) due for release from rehabilitation facilities for the youth will undergo mandatory quarantine and swab tests first before going back to their homes. (Lito Tecson)

Children in conflict with the law (CICL) who are set to be released from rehabilitation centers for the youth will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine before they are sent home.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia met with the Family Court judges of the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) in Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-lapu City as well as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-7 to establish guidelines to be observed in the release of these minors.

The idea was brought up by RTC Judge Ester Veloso of Branch 6 during their last meeting to define protocols to be observed in the release of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who have served their time. These were for PDLs detained at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) and different jail facilities across Cebu run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

DSWD-7 Director Rebecca Geamala said 25 minors from the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth (RRCY) in Argao town in southern Cebu are due for release. Upon receipt of the release order from the court, they will immediately be transferred to the facility’s quarantine area to undergo 14-day quarantine as agreed during the meeting.

On their 7th day of quarantine, a swab test will be conducted to check for COVID-19. The test will be sent to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) for analysis.

Veloso said placing the CICL under 14-day quarantine is not deprivation of liberty.

Garcia issued that day, Wednesday, the Executive Order (EO) No. 15-A defining the protocols which is effective immediately. 

Pursuant to the EO, the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) will be informed immediately of the quarantine of the minors due for release, so they can be monitored. The CICL facility will shoulder the expenses of the minor while on quarantine.

If the CICL is found positive of COVID-19, he will be taken to VSMMC or any designated treatment facility. Contact-tracing will follow, Garcia said.

The IPHO will coordinate with the mayor or the city or municipal health officer of the Local Government Unit (LGU) where the CICL resides, for those allowed to go home. 

Upon completion of the 14-day quarantine of the minor, the IPHO will also issue a certification and will send copy to the court that issued the release order.

The minor, Garcia said, will be turned over to the barangay where his house is located with notice to the parents, the concerned social worker, and the GAD focal person of the barangay, subject to the protocols prescribed by the LGU that may include another 14-day quarantine.

After the compliance of the 14-day quarantine, the LGU will issue a certification that the CICL has fully complied with the protocols. Copies of the certification will also be forwarded to the IPHO and the court that issued the release order. (Mylen P. Manto)