MANILA - The Philippines has already a number of laws in place intended to protect children but is falling short of its promises, Senator Richard Gordon said Friday during the second public hearing on the proposed bills lowering the age of criminal responsibility.
"We tend to focus on the criminal liability of the child. We should also focus on the reality, the state promises a lot. Ang may liability is the state not the child. The child does not belong in prison. The child has to be nurtured and the child has to be kept," Gordon said.
The Constitution, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, the Child and Youth Welfare Code are just some of the laws protecting the rights of children, Gordon said.
"There's a slew of laws...all these claim to protect the child. But in reality, I think we fall short in terms of actually making it happen," he said.
Last week, the House of Representatives approved on second reading the bill lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old, instead of 9, as first proposed.
"I think when we put something in the law, all of us must conform with the law and try to make it happen. There are many things that our government promises," he said.
Senators are divided over the issue, with some against reducing the age of criminal responsibility from the current age of 15 years old.