Press Release
April 4, 2006


Senate Majority Leader and author of the Juvenile Justice Bill Kiko Pangilinan today expressed concern over the reported escape of seven minors from the Pasay City Youth Homes over the weekend and cited the need to institute a system of community intervention in handling cases of children in conflict with the law.

We are worried over the plight of those children in conflict with the law who escaped from a juvenile home. I call on our authorities to look into how youth homes are being managed and how well-equipped these facilities are in reforming young offenders. The handling of children in conflict with the law should be under the combined watch of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the Department of Justice and the local government units. Together, they should make sure that youth centers are conducive to the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders, Kiko said.

Ten minors attempted to escape the Pasay City Youth Homes last Saturday by cutting the iron grills of the facility with hacksaws sneaked in by a girlfriend of one of the escapees. Seven were able to break away while two were apprehended by security guards and another surrendered.

Intervention on the cases of children in conflict with the law should start at the community level. The Juvenile Justice Bill recommends that rehabilitation centers should not simulate detention centers where children are held. Youth homes should be a place where an offender can attend workshops and avail of counseling. The diversion program will not lock up the child as they do in jails but it will place them under a program which will benefit the community or barangay. Such arrangement will not work if there is no active involvement on the part of the community, Kiko ended.

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