By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY — Instead of lowering the age of criminal liability, existing law covering reform programs for juveniles must be fully implemented.
The Regional Juvenile Justice Welfare Council (RJJWC-6) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-6) renewed its call after Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 13 from 15.
Katherine Joy Lamprea, RJJWC-6 secretariat, said full the implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 is the solution. But Lamprea admitted that local government units (LGUs) are not fully implementing it for lack of funding.
The RJJWC-6 is urging LGUs in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces to allot proper funding for programs that would address the risks of abused children, abandoned children, street children, or out-of-school youth.
Lamprea clarified that the existing law does not tolerate criminal acts of children, but is designed to address the problem by having interventions and reformation programs.
Lamprea noted that lowering the age of criminal liability does not necessarily mean criminal syndicates will stop using children and it won’t lower crime rate. A Philippine National Police (PNP) data shows that 98 percent of crimes are committed by adults, not children.