CHR airs grave concern over ‘abuses’ in juvenile reform, welfare centers
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday said that the reported abuses inside youth detention centers or Bahay Pag-asa are very alarming.
“Bahay Pag-asa centers are meant to reform and rehabilitate children in conflict with the law,” CHR spokesperson Attorney Jacqueline De Guia said in a statement.
De Guia’s reaction comes after it was reported that children staying in “Bahay Pag-asa” are being abused.
“Shelters that are meant to reform children should be the last place that would further victimize them and cultivate negative behaviors in them,” De Guia added.
The CHR spokesperson also said that children who are in conflict with the law “are victims of circumstances and dark elements in society that take advantage of their vulnerability.”
Currently, there are 55 government-run Bahay Pag-asa facilities nationwide, 114 short of the planned total to house juvenile delinquents.
Data also showed that only eight of the centers have been accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Hence, De Guia said that the shortage and alleged abuses “must be addressed expediently.”
De Guia added that the proposal to lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to 12 years old will only worsen existing problems.
“We remind again the government to take to heart its duty to uphold the welfare of children through policies and actions that genuinely nurtures their value and potential, uphold their dignity and help them envision a better future for themselves,” she said. / gsg
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