Manila passes anti-child abandonment law
Manila, Philippines—Even as the Senate mulls holding children criminally liable, a recently passed Manila city ordinance serves as reminder that adults are still responsible for the youth.
Ordinance No. 8243 or the “Anti-Child Endangerment ordinance,” signed into law by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim on Sept. 2, penalizes the parents and guardians of abandoned youth.
The ordinance seeks to impose a monetary fine or jail time for “any person who abandons or exposes a minor, or allows said minor, to be abandoned and exposed to a perilous situation that endangers his life, health or well-being.”
“It shall hereby be declared the policy of the City of Manila to protect the interest of minors from reckless, careless and negligent persons and to shield them from dangerous or predatory situations arising from such irresponsibility,” read the ordinance, penned by second district councilor Rodolfo Lacsamana.
Penalties are more severe the younger the minor “caught in a perilous situation.”
A fine of P5,000 or six months’ jail time await parents or guardians of abandoned minors aged 12 and below; P3,000 or three months’ imprisonment for guardians of minors aged 13 and 14; and P2,000 or a month’s incarceration if the minor is 15 to 17 years old.
The ordinance is set to take action even as the Senate mulls lowering the age of criminal liability for minors.
Lim and the Manila Regional Trial Courts’ family judges have made their approval clear of proposals to amend juvenile justice laws and bring down the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9.
Manila social welfare and development office chief Jay de la Fuente pointed out that minors today are fully cognizant of their actions.
He said rehabilitation programs run by the social welfare deportment for children in conflict with the law have been abused since minors “can go back immediately to the streets and return to their nefarious activities moments after their apprehension.”
“Consequently, other elements in the community took advantage… and made use of these children in their illegal operations particularly in robbery and drug cases,” De la Fuente said.
Children should be made to understand the gravity of their actions, he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.