CHILD rights advocate and Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat has cheered the move of the House Sub-committee on Correction Reforms to keep the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 15 years old, instead of bringing it down to as low as nine years old.
Baguilat likewise commended the committee for proposing to strengthen the implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 so that children in conflict with the law will be given all the chances they need to go back on the straight path.
This is a departure from the original proposal pushed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old, on the pretext that the move was crucial to the success of the government’s so-called war on drugs.
Baguilat and other child rights advocates, however, vehemently and consistently opposed the proposal, saying it will ultimately do more harm than good.
Baguilat added that what children needed was rehabilitation, rather than incarceration which may cause them to become hardened criminals.
“Children who have a long life ahead of them deserve a chance to see the error of their ways and be given an opportunity to become a productive member of society,” he said earlier.
Baguilat also echoed the statement of Romeo Dongeto, executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development and convenor of the Child Rights Network, who said that rehabilitation has been proven to be a more effective and sound solution to the problem of children being involved in criminal activities. (PR)