Aumentado favors lowering criminal liability age to 12: funding crucial in youth rehab

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Aumentado favors lowering criminal liability age to 12: funding crucial in youth rehab

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The Paglaum Center under the City Social Welfare and Development is nearing completion in Barangay Cabawan, Tagbilaran City. | File Photo: via Jeanette Busano

Representative Erico “Aris” Aumentado of the Second District expressed his support for House Bill (HB) 8858 which lowers the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old, saying that the measure, once signed into law, will get enough budget for its proper implementation.

HB 8858 will ensure that adequately-funded programs and facilities will be available for children in conflict with the law (CICL), said Aumentado.

“Karon gipangusgan gyud nga naa g’yuy pondo nga magahin para g’yud aning problemaha, kay karon pagawason raman gihapon. In short, pagawason ra gihapon sa DSWD kay wa may support,” he said.

The bill stipulates that children aged 12 to 18 who commit serious crimes would be sent to the Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support Center inside Bahay Pag-asa facilities.

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However, like most government rehabilitation and detention facilities in the country, conditions inside public youth care facilities have been found to be dismal.

Aumentado is optimistic that through HB 8858, which if enacted will supersede current juvenile justice laws, adequate funding would be available for the rehabilitation of CICL.

“Kay karon man gud mura’g way support sa national fund, nag-create na adtong gigamang balaud ni [Sen. Francis] Pangilinan pero way pondo na mohatag gyud og pagtagad sa atong mga bata nga liable sa mga petty [sic] crimes,” he said.

Bohol is ready

For his part, Tagbilaran City Councilor Augustinus Gonzaga said that the city and even the entire province would not have a problem in implementing the measure if approved since two youth care facilities are to be completed soon.

Gonzaga was pertaining to the the Paglaum Center in Barangay Cabawan, Tagbilaran City and the Bohol Youth Home in Cortes town, which are both undergoing construction.

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Earlier this year, Gov. Edgar Chatto said that the Bohol Youth Home was already 30 percent complete.

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No time

Congress however appears to lack time to pass the measure before the elections on May 13 as both the Senate and House of Representatives adjourn starting February 9 until May 19.

The counterpart of HB 8858, which was passed on third reading by the lower house last month, is still pending at the Senate where some senators are expected to interpellate and introduce amendments.

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The 17th Congress would still be able to pass the measure when it briefly resumes after the elections from May 20 to June 7. (A. Doydora)

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