MANILA - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) renewed its call against lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) as the world celebrates the 30th year of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In a statement, UNICEF said the Philippines, as a state party, can be proud of its commitment to the convention with its comprehensive juvenile justice policy in the form of the 2006 Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA).
The United Nations also commends the Philippine government for setting the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 15 in the JJWA.
UNICEF, however, notes that recent suggestions to lower the MACR to 12 "would undermine the gains in setting up a restorative, child-sensitive system that seeks not to detain children but to reintegrate them back to society without criminalizing them."
"Retaining the MACR at 15 years would show leadership and commitment to children and put the Philippines at par with countries leading on this issue around the world," UNICEF said.
"On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations joins the Philippines in celebrating the successes and gains in fulfilling children’s rights, in the implementation of the JJWA, and we hope in refraining from lowering the MACR," it added.