DSWD role crucial with lower age of criminal liability – solon
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should play a major role in protecting children in conflict with the law (CICL) if a lower age of criminal liability pushes through.
This was the appeal of Bagong Henerasyon partlyist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy after Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Doy Leachon, chair of the House Justice Committee, said the panel would be finalizing the measure that would lower the age of criminal liability from 15 years old to nine years old.
“I also appeal to the House committee on justice to give the DSWD a major role in protecting CICL. Given the lower age of criminal responsibility, it would be necessary for the DSWD to assign social workers who will be on duty at every police station on a 24-hour basis,” she said in a statement on Sunday.
“It would be the duty of those social workers on duty to make sure the rights of minors are protected from the time an arrest is happening and until their cases are pending,” she added.
Herrera-Dy said that “every city and town must have a DSWD protection center for minors or an accredited reception center and that the Philippine National Police (PNP) would have to beef up its women’s and children’s desks.”
She added that the DSWD and the Board of Social Work of the PRC “must include special training for social workers on juvenile justice and on criminal law and procedure so they will be better equipped to handle the challenges of managing cases of children in conflict with the law.”
Nevertheless, Herrera-Dy called on her colleagues to introduce “more safeguards” in order to “prevent abuse and injustice” against youth offenders.
The lawmaker noted that lower age of criminal responsibility of nine years old is much lower than most minimums in the laws of other countries.
“I ask the House committee on justice to include among the provisions of H[ouse] B[ill] 2009 of Rep. Romeo Acop, the creation of Juvenile Courts which will have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases involving youth offenders,” she said.
“Second, I request that they incorporate into the bill the safeguards pertaining to CICL enshrined in the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which our country is a party,” she added. /cbb
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