Gov’t data: Over half of 2,098 minors rescued were ‘pushers’ |
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REAL NUMBERS PH

Gov’t data: Over half of 2,098 minors rescued were ‘pushers’

/ 03:59 PM March 27, 2019
Gov’t data: Over half of 2,098 minors rescued were ‘pushers’

VICTIMS TWICE-OVER? A human rights lawyer has criticized PDEA for its harsh treatment of 12 children aged 4 to 15 during an antidrug operation in Navotas. The minors were reportedly being used to sell drugs in the fish port area. —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — More than half of the 2,098 children rescued in drug operations from July 2016 to February 2019 are drug pushers, the government’s latest data on the war against illegal drugs showed.

In a report of the Real Numbers presented Wednesday, it was revealed that 1,143 minors were sellers of illegal drugs while six were identified as maintainers of drug dens, nine were employees of it, and two were caught cultivating marijuana plants.

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The data also showed that 549 minors were caught in possession of dangerous drugs, 282 were users, and 107 were visitors of a drug den.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Spokesperson Director Derrick Carreon said these children are aged between 4 years old and 17 years old.

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“For the data on children involved in illegal drug activities rescued during anti-drug operations, 1,054 or 50 percent of the total minors rescued are aged 17, followed by 16 years old with 548 or 26 percent,” he added.

In the wake of crime incidents involving the youth, the House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 8858 to amend Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which set the minimum age of criminal liability to 15 years old. House members approved the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) to 12 years old after its initial proposal of nine years old met widespread opposition.

Those in favor of lowering MACR, including President Rodrigo Duterte, argue that drug syndicates prefer using children below 15 years old as drug runners because they would not be jailed under the existing law.

READ: Duterte blames Pangilinan for juvenile justice act, rise of ‘criminal minds’

READ: Duterte ‘comfortable’ with 12 as minimum age of criminal liability

However, child rights advocates counter-argue that children 12 years old and below still do not have the mental ability to fully comprehend what is right and what is wrong, thus, proposals to lower MACR from 15 years old would deprive them of the chance to correct their mistakes.

READ: Rights group urges solons to reject bill lowering MACR from 15 to 12

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READ: Child rights advocates decry move to lower age of criminal responsibility

/kga

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