To protect the welfare of the innocent children involved in crimes, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman has junked calls to revise the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (RA 9344). This was in relation to the proposal of reducing age of criminal liability from 15 to nine.
The DSWD chief stressed children aged 10, 11 or 12 have the fighting chance of changing their lives for the better when sent to a rehab center instead of putting them behind bars.
But Soliman agreed of reviewing the five-year-old legislation to intensify the provisions of punishing and increasing the parents’ accountability for children with conflict with the law (CICL). She said she is determined to pursue charges to the delinquent parents.
In 2009, DSWD recorded 8,834 CICL cases nationwide. From these cases, 60% or 5,400 were handled by the agency and the 667 were put in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
From 2006 to 2009, Soliman claimed some 7,426 CICLs have been resolved by DSWD.
In many cases, drug addiction is major factor contributing to juvenile crimes making children susceptible to do heinous acts. Soliman cited the SM Pampanga shooting incident involving two minors was very rare.
The DSWD chief said poverty is also seen as a root cause of crimes. As children become members of a syndicate, they are being taught about the different modus operandi in executing crimes.
Soliman emphasized innovative methods and curricula are being prepared for the children to help them discern what is right.
Currently, DSWD maintains 13 rehabilitation centers for CICLs throughout the country.