MANILA- Lowering the age of criminal responsibility is only a "band-aid" solution to problems on criminality, Bantay Bata 163 said Thursday.
Bantay Bata 163, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation's child welfare and protection unit, issued the statement in response to lawmakers' proposal to lower the age of criminal liability from the current 15 years old.
"Lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility is a band-aid solution which places the blame on children rather than the underlying factors which drive them to criminal activities," Bantay Bata 163 said.
Parents of children used in crimes, abusers, and authorities should have a bigger responsibility in protecting children's rights, it added.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved on second reading a bill lowering the age of criminal liability to 12 years old, instead of 9, as first proposed.
The proposal has received criticism from several children's rights and human rights groups.
"Children do not belong in jails but in the homes and communities," Bantay Bata 163 said.
It also appealed for "stronger social protection programs focused on parenting education, values formation and youth development."
Bantay Bata operates Hotline 1-6-3, the first child-care hotline in the Philippines. It provides "access and immediate response to child-related concerns, such as violence against children, bullying, and online exploitation."
Launched in 1997, Bantay Bata 163 works to protect disadvantaged and at-risk children through a nationwide network of social services.
It has branches and desks in several cities and provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.