Group welcomes some Senate provisions amending JJWA

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CHILD welfare group, Akap Bata Party-List today takes side on the approved bills in both Houses of Congress amending Republic Act # 9344 or the ‘Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.’ To date, the Senate and House already conducted two bicameral sessions on the matter headed by Senator Francis Pangilinan and Pangasinan Sixth District Representative Marlyn Primicias-Agabas.

Akap Bata party-List today welcomes some of the Senate provisions on Senate Bill 3324 amending JJWA while they totally rejected the Congress version, House Bill 6052.

According to Akap Bata Party-List, they commend some of the favourable provisions of SB 3324 as it will strengthen enabling capacities of JJWA for further effective rehabilitation programs for children in conflict with the law. Some of the welcomed provisions by the group include funding youth detention home Bahay-Pag-Asa (Section 2), exempting kids below 15-years old from criminal liability (Section 3), putting-up JJW Councils in every region (Section 4) among others.

On the other hand, the group stresses that HB 6052 must be junked for this will further worsen the problem especially on its provision lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to 12 years old.

‘For the longest time, child advocates like us have been opposing the lowering of age of criminal liability for the main reason that this will not serve for the best interest of our children,’ says Arlene Brosas, National Secretary-General and First Nominee of Akap Bata Party-List.

She added, ‘What seems to be missed-out by our legislators is the deeper context why our so-called ‘young offenders’ are being pushed to commit petty-crimes and sometimes used by organized syndicate crimes. Our laws on child protection must genuinely address the root causes of poverty, hunger and injustices against our children and their families rather focusing on how is our government going to criminalize them.’

‘Lowering the age of criminal liability will not resolve criminal and civil offenses that were supposedly committed by children. Intervention alone will never be enough in resolving juvenile delinquency in the country unless the socio-economic needs of children will be provided and that this problem will be addressed in a holistic and pro-child manner,’ says Brosas.

She added, ‘Also, if only drastic changes in societal, economic and cultural conditions will be made then we will see evident changes in the condition of our children.’

Finally, Akap Bata Party-List insisted that amending the JJWA must mean achieving positive reforms and not  worsen the already dire conditions of our children. They said that the JJWA amendments must give reprieve to our children immediately and in the long term must address the key problems and everyday violations and exploitation of our children.

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