NAPC says jailing children not the answer
MANILA, Philippines — The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Children Basic Sector has expressed opposition to the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) from 15 to nine years old.
“Putting a measly 9-year-old child behind bars isn’t the answer,” the NAPC said in a statement on Wednesday.
The House of Representatives justice panel approved on Monday a bill lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
“With this measure passed, imagine a 9-year-old sharing cells with a normal, veteran criminal. Would you think it will actually make a child repent from their deviant actions once they are free?” NAPC said.
The council also stressed that jailing children is tantamount to “denying their four fundamental rights to survival, development, protection, and participation, in which the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child highlighted.”
The statement further said, “Passing this measure does not only violate the provisions of the UNCRC, in which the Philippines is a signatory, but it also shows our failure of protecting and nurturing the best interests of our future.”
Instead of jailing children, NAPC noted that the government should strictly implement Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 “for proper intervention, care, rehabilitation, and reintroduction to the society” of the Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL).
“What we need is to rehabilitate, nurture, and guide these children who went astray from the right path,” the NAPC said. /muf
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