KORONADAL CITY — The Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committee (RJJWC) discovered over 70 minors in at least seven prison facilities in the region, an alarming findings of the region’s policy making body in Central Mindanao.
Rabyn Rivera Quinones, RJJWC secretariat head in Region 12, an attached agency of Department of Social Welfare and Development, reported Friday they checked last week the present conditions of jails and found out around 75 minor prisoners, some of them over 20 years old but at the time of the commission of the offense below 15 years old.
“Our goal there should be no child in jail. It’s alarming already,” she said.
“We recommended to local officials, either they will be transfered to an institution, with their parents with court diversions, or in our centers in the DSWD,” she added.
Quinones said so far only General Santos City Jail have separate cells for minors.
“Koronadal City will open their own “Bahay Pag-Asa” or Houses of Hope next week where children in conflict with the law can be reformed,” she said.
Under Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, “a child 15 years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability.”
The child will undergo an intervention program by government agencies.
A child above 15 years but below 18 years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he or she has “acted with discernment.”
Social workers are tasked to determine whether or not a minor offender acted with discernment in allegedly committing the crime. (JBM with reports from Ardelou Dacua/DSWD)
it was created pursuant to Republic Act No. 10630 or An Act Strengthening the Juvenile Justice System in the Philippines, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9344, Otherwise Known as the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 ’’
A Council leading a society that promotes and protects the rights of children at risk and children in conflict with the law under a restorative justice and welfare system.
To institutionalize a restorative justice and welfare system for children at risk and children in conflict with the law through the effective implementation of the law and coordination among stakeholders in a protective and enabling environment.
To prevent children at risk from committing crimes and to ensure that children in conflict with the law are rehabilitated and reintegrated with their families and communities.
To strengthen institutional partnerships in pursuing collectively and effectively the Council’s mission.