It's wrong to jail children in conflict with law, says expert
by Romy Sabaldan
Davao City (19 June) -- WITH the new Juvenile Delinquency Law already set in place, putting in jail problematic children even if they are immediately release is wrong.
Such practice customary of the police in treating children under 15 years old is not the spirit of the law concerning juvenile delinquents, according to re-elected Davao City councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad.
Librado-Trinidad expressed her views at the regular Monday forum Kapehan sa Dabaw of the Davao Press Club held June 18, 2007 at the SM Mall of Davao and sponsored by the Pizza Hut Restaurant, this city.
While exposing some flaws on the part of the police, Librado-Trinidad likewise see the great need for immediate intervention among concerned agencies of government like the Davao City Social Services and Development Office.
She also observed that the juvenile justice has no existing structure to implement and the need for LGUs to provide the necessary mechanism to implement such.
Librado-Trinidad cited Rehabilitation and Counselling as one major provision of the law which could find fruition in the planned P30-M facility planned by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
"We have our jails, but it is not working," she said noting that proper implementation of the law hinges on the LGUs (Local Government Units).
She cited as one mechanism that can operate down to the level of the barangay the BCPC or the Barangay Centers for the Protection of Children.
The need is for the BCPCs to put up their own budget as counterpart fund of what the city government can give, she said.
These are just some of the mechanisms that can be put in place in order for the city to embrace the spirit of the Juvenile Delinquency Law which is not to imprison children 15 years old and below and that no corporal punishment is allowed.
She also called for a stronger partnership between the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) and the police to implement the law.
One big problem though, she said, boils down to finances considering the meager resources intended for programs on children.
As chairperson of the Sangguniang Panlungsod ng Dabaw committee on women, children and family relations, the lawyer-councilor also discussed in the same forum the putting up of reproductive health clinics as differentiated from lying-in clinics which are at present the only available facilities in the barangays.
She said this should give women access to health services, proper information and education on such health issues as cervical cancer and breast cancer which are still the leading causes of death in the country among the female population. (PIA XI) [top]