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By Francis Allan L. Angelo


CASES of children in conflict with the law (CICL) in 2008 decreased compared to last with the implementation of Republic Act 9344.


Department of Social Welfare and Development regional director Teresita Rosales said they only recorded 260 CICL cases this year compared 706 cases in 2007.


“This is a significant decrease which we can attribute to the implementation of RA 9344 which stipulates a diversion program for child offenders,” Rosales said in a press conference Tuesday.


Among the salient points of RA 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006) is the creation of a welfare council under the Department of Justices administrative supervision and headed by a DSWD undersecretary.


The law also provides that children 15 years and below will be criminally exempt while youth offenders aged 15 to 18 years old can only be criminally charged if they acted out the crime with discernment. It also outlines the immediate turn over of children in conflict with the law to social workers upon apprehension.


The highest number of 128 CICL cases were involved in theft and shoplifting while robbery/attempted robbery was the second highest with 34 cases.


Rape/attempted rape accounted for 13 CICL cases while 10 CICLs were involved in murder.


Rosales said they did not record any case or incident that the CICLs, particularly those involved in theft, were employed by criminal syndicates.


“There is no trend that they were used by syndicates. They did it on their own because of extreme poverty and serious family problems. Many of these children came from broken families,” she added.


Presently, the DSWD is helping 45 CICLs go through the diversion program in a rehabilitation center in Guimaras. The diversion program helps the children prepare and reform before entering mainstream community.


There is also a community-based program for CICLs involving their parents, kin, local social worker and even the community.


CICLs in the community-based program also interact with youth organizations and are exposed to alternative learning systems, skills training and values inculcation.

May 2020

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