ONE of the most contentious issues these days is the Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) and the Juvenile Justice System of the country. The recidivists, or those who commit crimes over and over again and find themselves at the police station, have become familiar faces, driving policemen to find some ways beyond just arresting and turning over children to the social workers.

Last month, two boys -- a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old -- were arrested after they killed a 15-year-old boy along Daang Patnubay in Ecoland in Davao City.

Talomo police identified the victim as Ronan Anoba Telbangco, a resident of Barangay 76-A Bucana. He succumbed to multiple stab wounds in different parts of his body.

Initial investigation conducted by the Talomo police showed that the victim along with his friends was walking on a street when suspects approached and stabbed Telbangco.

Telbangco died while undergoing medical treatment at a hospital, while Jo and Al (not their names) were taken to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

As the problem on children in conflict with the law worsens, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte could not hold his temper and blamed it to former Senator Francis Pangilinan.

Duterte said the "Republic Act 9344 or Juvenile Justice and Welfare System" authored by Pangilinan has caused additional trouble to local government nationwide.

Pangilinan, who is the Food Security and Agricultural Modernization assistant, was hit by the mayor following the crimes incidents committed by the children nationwide.

The Philippines did not give much attention to CICL until 2006 when the 9344 passed. With the Republic Act 9344, children under ages 15 could not be charged with a crime.

For 15 to 18 year old juvenile, diversion proceedings away from court are the preferred method for responding to the crimes that carry a possible sentence of six years or less.

"It's the Pangilinan Law that messed up with this until now. What is really bugging the peace and order is the crime incidents committed by some children," Duterte said.

Before the law was amended by Pangilinan, children were locked up in jail with adults, may it be due to major or petty crimes.

Duterte have been persistent about amending the juvenile justice law again, blaming it as behind the rising of crime incidents committed by the CICL.

Last year, the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) reported about 30 percent of the crime index here is committed by the youth offenders.

DCPO Director Vicente Danao Jr. said most of the crimes committed were robbery and theft, adding that most suspects are habitual offenders.

"Until now, ganun pa rin, nasa 25-30 percent of the crime index were committed by the youth offenders," Danao said. "Ganun pa man, we are still thankful na mababa ang crime volume natin this year than 2014... mataas pa rin ang crime solution ng ating kapulisan," he added.

The police authorities observed based on the records that most CICL comes from poor families, and have stopped studying. The youngest is 10 years old.

"Poverty is the number one reason kung bakit merong youth offenders. May iba pa na ang mga matatanda ang nag-uutos sa bata para gawin ang hindi tama," Danao said.

Some of the youth offenders have families; some were only raised by relatives or some syndicates who only used them to commit crimes, Danao said.

Another problem reported is the "gangsterism," which gives children access to alcohol, solvent, and even drugs, offering temporary escape but pushes them to commit crimes.

The country is home to over 11,000 CICL since 2009, according to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council, adding that most of them are from low-income families.

Just like the other concerned citizens and government authorities, Danao believes that these children deserve a second chance to become productive members of the society. Thus, the Davao City Police Office's has its "Adopt A Child Program" for the CICL.

He said instead of punishment, the program focuses more on rehabilitation.

Just this month, the DCPO, in coordination with Human and Environmental Resource College, distributed school supplies to over 30 CICL under its office.

Talomo Police Station has also the same program, Danao said, adding that the station is now helping around 150 youth offenders. "I already encourage other police precincts here to do the same, if not to solve, at least to lessen children from committing crimes. Pero sana makatulong talaga ito," he said.

The DCPO personnel, in partnership with the various stakeholders, assured to continue its program while everybody is waiting for the amendment of the Juvenile Justice Law.