AN INTER-agency committee continues to lobby with lawmakers to scrap the proposal of lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) which could send kids to jail.
Raji Alvarado, Regional Sub-committee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC-6) secretariat member, said an inter-agency committee comprised of the RSCWC, Regional Juvenile Justice Welfare Council (RJJWC) and Regional Committee Against Trafficking-Child Pornography-Violence Against Women and their Children (RCAT-CP-VAWC) came up with a resolution earlier this year opposing the proposal to hold Filipinos criminally liable at the age of nine.
“We forwarded this to the Regional Development Council which also passed a resolution to the Congress. We also conducted a signature campaign with our partners and we will lobby this to our congressmen and senators,” Alvarado said.
Alvarado said they are optimistic that the lawmakers would consider their appeal.
The House of Representatives earlier approved to retain the MACR at 15 years old.
But Alvarado said they were informed that a senator recently pushed to lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old.
Alvarado said jailing or punishing of kids at such a young age will affect the brain development of a child.
The inter-agency committee is pushing for the minimum age of criminal liability to 18.
“The brain of a 9-year-old, even that of a 15-year-old is not yet fully developed to make a sound decision. That is why we are strengthening our appeal to our lawmakers,” she said.
Alvarado said they also appeal that children should be separated from adult offenders.
She cited the Bahay Pag-asa which offers intervention and diversion programs for Children-in-Conflict with the Law (CICL).
The move to lower MACR is due to the trend of criminals using kids as accomplices, particularly drug trafficking, because these minors could not be held criminally liable.
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