DILG orders release of 114 juvenile offenders
Manila (1 October) -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the release of 114 children-in-conflict-with-the-law (CICL) in compliance with the latest directive of President Arroyo for prison authorities to free all juvenile offenders still languishing in jails.
According to a report by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to Secretary Ronaldo Puno, data gathered for the month of June show that 22 CICL were released on recognizance after finding out that they were charged with petty crimes; 31 based on provisions of Republic 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act; 23 after it was found that they have already served their sentence; 21 after their cases were dismissed; and three after posting bail.
The BJMP said that 14 other CICL were transferred to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other institutions taking care of juvenile offenders, such as the Center for Restorative Activities Development and Learning Experience (CRADLE) at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
As of June, a total of 551 CICL are still detained in various facilities nationwide pending the processing of their release papers, BJMP data show.
Of the CICL released, 30 were from jail facilities in Metro Manila; 1 from Cagayan Valley; 16 from Central Luzon; 5 from Southern Luzon; 2 from Western Visayas; 29 from Eastern Visayas; 4 from the Zamboanga region; 14 from Northern Mindanao; 7 from the Davao region; 3 from Central Mindanao; 2 from the CARAGA region; and 1 from the Cordillera Administrative Region
Puno had ordered jail wardens as early as June last year to submit inventories of cases involving CICLs to the DILG regional offices in line with fresh Malacaņang efforts to speed up the release of these minors from detention as mandated by the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.
He has also directed BJMP officials to stop accepting CICL in district, municipal and city jails nationwide.
The DILG, as a member of the Juvenile Justice Welfare Council (JJWC) created under the RA 9344, has been tasked to assist in the inventory of CICL in provincial jails and PNP detention cells."
Signed into law by President Arroyo in April last year, Republic Act 9344 mandates the immediate release of CICL from detention, but requires them to undergo diversion programs like counseling, capacity building, training and socio-civic work under DSWD supervision. (PIA-MMIO) [top]