Mayor to arrest Pokemon players

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DIGITAL HUNTERS Students are riveted on their smartphones as they hunt digital monsters outside a school in Manila. PHOTO BY LANZ MENDOZA

DIGITAL HUNTERS Students are riveted on their smartphones as they hunt digital monsters outside a school in Manila. PHOTO BY LANZ MENDOZA

POKEMON GO may have taken the world by storm but the game failed to amuse some local officials who believe that hunting digital monsters endangers students and should not be played in schools or places of worship.

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Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino warned that students caught playing Pokémon Go on streets when classes have been suspended due to bad weather will be arrested and confined to a youth center for a week.

Paulino said school authorities cancel classes when there’s a typhoon because they want students to be safe. He said students should spend their free time studying and not hunting digital monsters.

“It is not that easy to just suspend classes and we need to study well when to issue this (suspension) because at the end of the day, you will also pay for it,” the mayor told students.

He explained that because of the frequency of the suspension of classes, students’ vacation days have to be reduced.

In Quezon City, a councilor filed a resolution appealing to Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, to exclude from lure spots and poke stops government offices, schools and churches in the city. Poke stops are places where players can get Poke balls and other items used in catching digital monsters.

Councillor Allan Butch Francisco said the augmented reality game has brought thousands of people outdoors, roaming around public and private places to capture Pokemon monsters.

“Pokémon Go should not be played at certain locations for reasons of public safety and human decency,” he said.

He noted that government offices and schools should not be made Pokemon stops because it cuts the productivity of workers and distracts students.

He lamented that some gamers have even invaded churches to catch monsters.

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