BAGUIO CITY – The city council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance prohibiting minors below eighteen years of age from pawning or pledging or otherwise transacting with pawnshops in the city.
The ordinance by Councilor Edgar M. Avila stated that in no case shall a minor below 18 years of age shall be allowed or permitted to pawn or pledge or otherwise contract a loan through a pawnshop.
Avila pointed out the prevalence of drug and other substance abuse among today’s youth has spawned different ways and means by which they can sustain their pernicious habits and just so they can raise the money needed to purchase drugs, alcohol or other dangerous substances, or simply to maintain a care free lifestyle beyond what their ordinary school allowance can provide, many young people even pawn or pledge property of value, whether obtained from legal or illegal sources.
Presidential Decree No. 114 or the Pawnshop Regulation Act contains no prohibition of minors from transacting with pawnshops. There is marked laxity among pawnshop owners and operators when extending loans for property pawned or pledged.
According to him, one means of curbing the problem of drug addiction and child delinquency among the youth is to curtail the means by which they can sustain this expensive habit, thus, pawnshops or pawn brokers must be restricted from accepting pawns or pledges from minors below 18 years of age.
Under the proposed ordinance, any violator, whether natural or juridical person, shall be penalized by imprisonment of two months and a fine of P5,000. If the offender is a partnership or a corporation, the president and or chairman of the board shall be liable for the acts and that the license to operate shall likewise be revoked.
He called on pawnshop operators to already screen applicants pawning and pledging of properties and not wait for the approval of the ordinanceso that they could help minors from being engaged in vices that compromise their bright future.
Numerous pawnshops in the city are alleged to entertain minors who pawn or pledge properties of value just to make business, thus, the need for appropriate regulations that will prohibit minors from transacting business with pawnshops in the different parts of the city.
Avila is confident that the proposed ordinance will serve as a warning to both minors intending to pawn and pawnshop owners so that such activities will be stopped./By Dexter A. See