Child rights advocates have gathered in front of the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Wednesday, January 2, to protest against a bill lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
Tom Villarin of the Akbayan Party-list showed his support by joining the protesters and discussing House Bill (HB) No. 2 titled the “Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act (MACR)”.
HB No. 2 was created to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 9344 or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006”.
Under RA No. 9344, the minimum age for criminal liability is 15 years old.
Under HB No. 2, the House is proposing to lower the minimum age for criminal liability to 9 years old.
The Child Rights Network (CRN) Philippines, on its official Twitter account, said Villarin urged the legislators to oppose bill.
In a similar tweet, Villarin said: “We don’t want a measure that will punish the children for the sins of the adults. #ChildrenNotCriminals.”
An online petition was created last November by the CRN and Philippine Action for Youth Offenders (PAYO) against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the Philippines.
The petition, which now have 1,087 supporters used #ChildrenNotCriminals as its official hashtag on social media.
The petition was titled: “Say NO to lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility! #ChildrenNotCriminals”
“We, child rights advocates, know that the government is trying to address the problem of crime in the country and we support efforts to bring about positive change for children,” the CRN and PAYO said.
“Our concern is that we must not ignore scientific evidence that shows that criminalizing children does not solve the problem of children committing crimes; it only encourages re-offending”.
Here are some of the tweets from netizens:
“It takes a community to raise a child!#ChildrenNotCriminals #KalingaHindiKulungan #NoToLowerMACR” -@rommelabitria
“Let us remind our lawmakers that they must always act as child advocates! #ChildrenNotCriminals” – @rahndelacruz
“Too young to vote, get married, get a driver’s license BUT not to young to be held in trial and jailed? #ChildrenNotCriminals” -@Cinosimaritz
“@speakeralvarez ‘Wag po nating parusahan ang bata dahil sa kakulangan ng nakatatanda. #KalingaHindiKulungan #ChildrenNotCriminals “- @EducoPH
“Tungkulin ng mga magulang na palakihin ng maayos ang kanilang mga anak. Ginagawa niyo ba ito ng tama? #childrennotcriminals” – @hubbypatty
A separate petition on the same issue was made last August which had 677 supporters.
The petition was titled: “No to Lowering of Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility!”
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