MANILA - Groups on opposing ends of the debate to lower the age of criminal liability staged a protest in front of the Senate complex in Pasay City on Friday.
On one side, groups led by the Child Right’s Network staged a mass action to press senators to reject proposed bills lowering the age of criminal liability to 12 years old.
They instead urged for rehabilitation as a means to reform children in conflict with the law as well as a strong campaign against syndicates using minors to commit crime.
On the other side of the road – just across from where the protest was held - was a group of residents from depressed villages in Quezon City who quietly conveyed their support for the proposed bills through their placards.
The group was joined by Quezon City Councilor Nilo Ludovica and other barangay chiefs from the city.
Ludovica placed the blame on the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) over the failure of the government to construct and maintain Bahay Pag-asa youth care centers even if the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act mandates local government units to perform such task.
The group said it’s about time that erring children be disciplined by the government. It said parents who also fail in properly rearing their children should also be punished.
The House of Representatives recently passed a bill lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old, among key reforms sought by the Duterte administration. Similar bills are also pending at the Senate.