PREPARATIONS are underway for the opening of the center for Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) in Zamboanga City.

Mayor Celso Lobregat convened the Council for the Protection and Welfare of Children to come up with mechanisms on how each concerned agency and office will assist in the operation of the center.

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Lobregat said a committee dubbed as the Juvenile Justice Welfare Committee will be organized soon to supervise operations of the CICL center.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) headed by Francisco Barredo will have the direct supervision on the committee, according to Lobregat.

The mayor said the center is fully completed except for the beddings, fixtures and the committee that will manage its operations.

The CICL center is fully fenced and has a guard house and has spaces for a counseling room, sleeping quarters, kitchen and mess hall, conference room, library room, space for recreation and ample space where the clients can engage in agricultural activities.

Lobregat said the center will be a rehabilitation facility for juvenile offenders.

“The center is purposely for the children’s rehabilitation and reintegration to their family,” he said.

He said the center’s daily operations will be financed by the City Government.

The newly-completed CICL center, costing a total of P9 million, is located in Barangay Culianan, 13 kilometers east of the city.

Of the total cost, Senator Edgardo Angara donated P5 million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Separate quarters were built for male and female offenders.

The center is built in a 7,500-square meter lot owned by the City Government.

The construction of the CICL center is in compliance with the Juvenile Justice Law whereby children offenders below 18 years of age are mandated to be separated from adult prisoners.

There are 15 child offenders -- 14 males and one female -- presently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s (BJMP) Zamboanga City Reformatory Center (ZCRC). (Bong Garcia)