CHR exec to cops: Intensify ops vs drug syndicates exploiting children
MANILA, Philippines – The government must intensify police operations against drug and crime syndicates to prevent children from being exploited by crime groups, an official of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Wednesday.
“What will stop syndicates from using children below 9 years old then?” CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said in a statement.
“The best way to address this is to intensify police operations against individuals and syndicates who continue to target the vulnerabilities of children and use them as instruments for their crimes,” said Gana.
The House of Representatives earlier this week approved a bill that will lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to nine.
Gana said the government must also improve the funding of Bahay Pag-asa which are rehabilitation hubs for children in conflict with the law.
“Rather than arbitrarily adjusting the age, we must be able to fully implement the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, as well as address the gaps in the implementation of the law, such as funding the establishment of Bahay Pag-asa (House of Hope) across the country that are meant to be rehabilitation hubs for children in conflict with the law (CICL),” she said.
Bahay Pag-asa centers must “deliver interventions that would stop a child offender from repeating offenses,” Gana said.
She added that the bill to lower the age of criminal liability is a ‘simplistic response’ to address the complex issue of juvenile delinquency.
“Lowering the age of criminal responsibility be it to 9 or 12 years old is a simplistic response that disregards the complexity of juvenile delinquency,” Gana said. / gsg