CHILD welfare group Akap Bata on Saturday cried foul over the passage of a measure amending the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act (JJWA) which lowers the criminal liability of young offenders from 15 to 12 years old.
“This move by the Aquino government clearly indicates that it can only punish the smaller fishes while the bigger fishes – the biggest crooks, thieves and syndicates enjoy air conditioned rooms, hospital arrests and VIP treatments even elected or promoted in government office,” Anna Saplor, the group’s spokesman, said.
She added that the amendments will only worsen the problem of children in conflict of the law.
According to Akap Bata, the Aquino government obviously refuses to see the deeper social context.
“Big syndicates, hunger and poverty pushes young offenders to commit crimes making young offenders victims, not criminals,” Saplor said.
“There are two faces of children’s situation nowadays. First, they are being jailed and punished. Second, they are abused and violated,” she added.
Akap Bata said 66 percent of the Filipino children have yet to receive complete and holistic care.
The group added that laws and international policies on child protection must be genuinely implemented and adhered to.
“While corrupt officials continue to fatten their wallets, the burden of the Filipino children is piling up. The JJWA amendment is like rubbing salt to their wounds,” Saplor said.
Neil A. Alcober