The overcrowded Bahay Pag-asa in the city is not ready to cater more cases as the House of Representatives passed on final reading the measure lowering to 12 the minimum age of criminal liability, a City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) official said.
Gina Molon, CSSDO Preschoolers and Children’s Protection Youth Division head, said lowering the age of criminal responsibility “is not yet timely in the city and even in the whole country.”
Based on the data, the city’s Bahay Pag-asa in Barangay Bago Oshiro, Tugbok District currently caters 104 children in conflict with the law (CICL), more than its capacity of only 60 children.
“If we lower the age for criminal responsibility, I am sure more CICL will arrive in the BPA but there is really a lack of facilities,” Molon told reporters.
Apart from facilities, there is also a need to add more social workers.
“We also lack social workers in the region. Some SSDO head of offices are also field social workers in some municipalities in the region,” Molon bared.
According to Molon, modules and tools in the city is also “only fit for 15 years old children.”
“We still have to prepare for it. We advocate for the restorative law but we still have a lot to put in place,” she added.
Molon also expressed that in the Philippine setting, the environment is a great factor why children commit crime.
“They are just victims. We still have to look at the history of the child. His or her development maybe affected by the circumstances. Maybe he or she grew up in a not so nurturing environment,” Molon said.
“Lowering the age of criminal responsibility is not the answer to minimize the crime committed by minor,” she added.
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