Fetalvero: A lucrative venue for crime-A A +A
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Noemi C. Fetalvero
Two empty bottles
WHAT happened since 2006 when United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) representative Nicholas K. Alipui issued this statement: “Final passage of a new law will mean that thousands of children now wasting away in jails around the country will be free to go back to school, to realize their dreams and hopefully to try and reclaim their childhoods”?
Sabine Dolan, in a report, wrote that the objective then of the Juvenile Justice System introduced by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was to prohibit the detention of children in jails. However, our lawmakers lacked the foresight.
The country’s crime syndicates must have been grinning when 70 percent of criminal cases against children were dismissed outright and the perpetuators referred to rehabilitation programs instead of jails.
They readily grabbed the opportunity. Our children, especially those identified as “street children,” are reportedly used in syndicated crimes. Conveniently drug trafficking, thievery, prostitution using these children have become a lucrative criminal operation.
We acknowledge the aim of the law to keep children out of adult jails but with everything else considered, it has not served the Philippine society in general.
The Unicef reported that over 50,000 children in the Philippines have been arrested and detained since 1995 to 2005.
Since the enactment of the law in 2006, what percentage of these children have been rehabilitated and how many of these children ended up in nefarious activities? There is no statistic that shows how many of these children caught committing crimes are eventually released.
There were several calls from different groups to amend the law but to no avail. Aware of this situation since it has always been the commitment of St. John Bosco Boys Home, some 150 street children are now given food and shelter in Cotcot, Liloan.
The home has reportedly experienced “small miracles” when donations come in when least expected and the help needed most.
Last Sunday, the parishioners celebrated the feast of St. John Bosco with a pontifical mass officiated by Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal J. Vidal. This was followed by a procession.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 07, 2013.