Zubiri: I’m ‘Ok’ lowering age of criminal liability to 13
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the Senate panel’s recommendation to lower age of criminal liability to 12, Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri asserted that it should be set to 13 years old.
“Kung meron man tayong adjustments, I’m leaning towards 13 to 15 so bababaan natin yung age na from 15 to 13 years old,” Zubiri told local radio station DWIZ.
Zubiri, who is a father of three kids, said this because 13-year-old children are already hitting puberty as 12-year-old children are too young to be tagged as criminals.
“I am okay to age of 13 to 15, 12 is a bit too young. Thirteen kasi nag-start na ‘yung puberty na ‘yan so may pag-iisip na po ang 13 years old,” he said.
The senator then said some local government units (LGUs) and anti-crime groups reported that there are many criminal activities done by children.
“Kaya ang problema naman, dito meron naman talagang lumalapit sa amin sa Senado na mga LGUs at ibat ibang anti-crime groups na nagpapakita ng CCTV na nagpapakita ng ebidensya na ang daming maraming criminal activities na ginagawa ng kabataan,” he said.
But Zubiri said children must not be imprisoned but should be rehabilitated in Bahay Pag-asa.
“Pero ‘di dapat sila makasama sa kulungan. ‘Yan ang napakahalaga na hindi sila masama sa mga kriminal. Mailalagay sila sa Bahay Pag-asa,” he said.
Zubiri said the funds for the Bahay Pag-asa must be transferred from the LGU to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to build more Bahay Pag-asa for the children in conflict with the law.
“At ang napakahalaga sa Bahay Pag-asa, ‘di na natin ibibigay sa LGU dahil walang tinatayo ang LGU na Bahay Pag-asa,” Zubiri said.
“We can give it to DSWD ‘yung pondo. Dagdagan yung pondo para mapatayo nila kaagad yung Bahay Pag-asa sa iba’t ibang regional centers,” Zubiri added.
Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon said over DWIZ that he wanted more budget to build more rehabilitation centers for children tagged as criminals as there is a shortage of Bahay Pag-asa in the Philippines.
“Hindi ako maghihintay kung kailangan mag-renta ang gobyerno ng building para mailagay ang bata ‘dun para merong program dun sa building. Lagyan ng budget. Bakit tayo maghihintay ng Bahay Pag-asa?” he said.
Gordon also suggested to hire more guidance counselors in public schools to enlighten the children on behavioral issues.
“Sa isang public school, iisa lang ang guidance counselor e libo yung mga nasa eskwela,” he said.
“Dapat may guidance counselor sa bawat eskwelahan. Sa grade 3 at grade 4 may isa. Grade 5 , grade 6, may isa. Para ang bata malalapitan ang guidance counselor kung may problema,” he added. /jpv
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