The perennial ‘rugby boys’ in Metro Manila

THE presence of the so-called “rugby boys,” oftentimes a group of very young boys from poor families proliferating in many parts of Metro Manila, is an indication of how helpless the national government, the barangay, local and police officials are in their campaign against illegal drugs.

Worse, many of these boys who are in the brink of being a “taong grasa,” seem to be above or does mind the law as the public sees them sniffing rugby in broad daylight, even in the middle of busy streets of the metropolis.

I have seen a lot of these groups of rugby boys in Manila, particularly in Tondo; Sta. Mesa; in Caloocan City; in Cubao, Quezon City; and other known depressed areas in the region and its seems the local police, the local chief executives, the barangay officials and the concerned national government agencies do not mind them.

I asked around why the problem seems un-solvable. The heads of the concerned agencies I mentioned above apparently could not contain or solve the problem because it has become a vicious cycle of rounding them up, bringing them to the Department of Social Welfare and Development who lets them loose after a few days.

Since most “rugby boys” are teenagers and therefore are minors, the local PNP, if they would launch a campaign against them, would just waste their time and resources and hauling them to their offices for booking later turning them over to the DSWD.

For its part, the DSWD, since it has insufficient funds to feed the “rescued” rugby boys for a long time, would later let them off the streets again and return to their vices of sniffing rugby which can be bought at a very cheap price from any of the nearest hardware or drug store.

Yesterday, Don Liscano, an old time buddy, called me up and asked me to relay to the officials of the Department of the Interior and Local Government the problem after he saw a group of at least 15 rugby boys sniffing their favorite poison in the middle of the island-fence at the vicinity of Cubao, along EDSA in Quezon City.

“Yung presence nila sa gitna ng EDSA na humihitit ng rugby na inilagay sa loob ng isang manipis na transparent plastic is an indication of lack of respect of the law, lack of plans and programs by the national and local governments to address poverty alleviation, and police inutility,” he said.

I was told that taking rugby has an effect similar to shabu and those who get highs from them will not have the appetite to eat and therefore wont be spending for food. Pantawid gutom?

My friend said that aside from being an eyesore, the rugby boys could also be seen as a big turn-off to visiting local and foreign tourists who see them in the streets taking the illegal drug at night and even in broad daylight. As they grow older, they are expected to turn to crime.

“Hindi ba nakikita ng mga Cabinet officials, local officials, barangay officials at mga pulis ang mga pinag-gaga-gawa ng mga rugby boys na mga iyan? Bakit parang walang pakialam ang gobyerno natin sa kanila? Nakakainis,” he said. I can’t say anything more.


For feedback and comments, please email me at Romie A. Evangelista

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